Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year - 2011

Writers: Anthony Jackson/Ian Kenny/Adam Spark/Adam Weston
Artist: Birds of Toyko
Publisher: Mushroom Music Pty Ltd

“Plans” was the second single from the self-titled Birds of Tokyo - the group’s third studio album.  The single peaked at Number 11 on the ARIA singles chart, and was their first ever single to hit Top 50 in Australia.  Birds of Tokyo also performed this song at the 2010 ARIA Music Awards, where the song was nominated for Single of the Year.  The track was also voted in at Number 4 in Triple J’s Hottest 100 Countdown for 2010 and has achieved double Platinum sales status in Australia.

In an interview with Triple J, front man Ian Kenny said regarding the song:
"When you're writing records, every now and then you come across a bit of a stone in the road in the writing process, and you start questioning things. “Plans” just wasn't coming together the way we thought it should, so we put the song down for a bit, and when we returned to it — I don't remember what we did differently — it came together. We got the demo and went, 'Yep, that's got something in its guts.’”

The band’s album, Birds of Tokyo, gave them their highest ever chart debut and was certified Gold in its first month of release. The disc debuted at #1 on the Australian Independent charts and came within a whisker of toppling Eminem from the top of the national Top 100 rankings thanks to the group’s first genuine hit single, “Plans,” which was ensconced in the continent’s iTunes’ Top 10.

The album was recorded in Sydney, Gothenburg and New York City, with producer Scott Horscroft (Silverchair, The Presets, Sleepy Jackson) and mixer Michael Brauer (Coldplay, My Morning Jacket, Phoenix) along with guitarist Adam Spark, who served as one of the album’s producers.  

Birds of Tokyo’s debut album Day One reached Number 3 on the AIR charts and spent 36 weeks in the Top 10.   In 2008 they followed up with Universes, which hit Number 3 on the ARIA albums chart.  Their latest effort Birds of Tokyo topped that, peaking at Number 2.

In March 2011 the band announced bass player Anthony Jackson parted ways with the band.

Writers: Nikolas Kaloper/Samuel Lockwood/Hayley McGlone/Heather Shannon
Artist: The Jezabels
Publisher: Mushroom Music Pty Ltd

One of the most promising acts on the Australian music scene The Jezabels are: Hayley Mary (vocals) and Heather Shannon (piano/keyboard), Nik Kaloper (drums) and Sam Lockwood (rhythm guitar). The band was born when Hayley and Heather began playing together in Byron Bay before moving to Sydney to attend university, where they met their musical matches in Nik and Sam.

So far The Jezabels have released a trilogy of EP's: The Man Is Dead (2009), She's So Hard (2009), and Dark Storm (2010) and they are currently in the process of writing a full-length album, due for release mid 2011.

The band has received a substantial amount of airplay, including on Sydney's FBi Radio and Triple J and in December 2009, they were the Triple J Unearthed featured artist.  They have also received airplay in the United States, where in August 2009, they debuted at #114 on the CMJ top 200 and reached #96 for the single “Disco Biscuit Love”. Their EP She's So Hard was the #3 most added on US college radio.

"Disco Biscuit Love" was featured as the iTunes (Australia) single of the week in the first week of July, 2009, and the single "Hurt Me" was featured as the iTunes (Australia) single of the week in the third week of February 2010, and was traxxRADIO's number 1 track of 2009.

The Jezabels had two songs featured in the Triple J Hottest 100, 2010: "Easy To Love" came in at number 49, and "Mace Spray" at number 16. In addition they were nominated for Best Breakthrough Artist and Best Single / EP at the 2010 Independent Music Awards.

The band has done numerous tours including supporting the likes of Tegan & Sara, Sparkadia, Josh Pyke and Katie Noonan to name a few.

Writer: Kevin Parker
Artist: Tame Impala
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing Australia Pty Ltd

Tame Impala is the brainchild of Kevin Parker.  He was the primary writer and musician for the Tame Impala album Innerspeaker (2010), and brought in Dominic Simper (guitar), Nick Allbrook (bass) and Jay Watson (drums and backing vocals) for live shows.

In July 2008 Parker signed a worldwide deal with independent label Modular Recordings. The signing was soon followed by the release of the self-titled debut EP in September 2008. Tame Impala went to number 1 on the Australian Independent Record Labels (AIR) Chart and Number 10 on the ARIA Singles Chart, with three songs, "Desire Be, Desire Go", "Half Full Glass of Wine" and "Skeleton Tiger" which also received national radio airplay on the Triple J Network.

Tame Impala appeared on Triple J's Hottest 100 2008, their first appearance on the list, with "Half Full Glass of Wine" reaching number 75. The song is also on the Hottest 100 compilation.

Tame Impala’s first single, "Sundown Syndrome", was recorded at Toerag Studios in London, with recording engineer Liam Watson in March 2009.    It was released in July 2009 on vinyl and electronically along with a cover of Blue Boy's "Remember Me".   "Sundown Syndrome" was included on the soundtrack of the Oscar-nominated film "The Kids Are All Right."  "Half Full Glass Of Wine" was used in HBO's hit TV series Entourage as the closing song for an episode.  "Remember Me" appeared at number 78 on Triple J's Hottest 100 for 2009.

On an interview with Triple J talking about the album's nomination for the J Award, Parker stated that they have secretly been recording a new album. "Jay and I have been recording pretty compulsively and album number two is nearing potential completion already and I'm so excited about it that I'm having trouble keeping myself from telling you all about it."  

The band was busy touring during mid 2010: they were the opening band for MGMT's 2010 American tour, played Splendour in the Grass festival, completed a European Tour in July (including an appearance at the Reading Festival) and a national Australian tour in October, as well as playing a twenty date headline tour of the United States.

The band also received four 2010 ARIA Music Awards nominations including, Album of the Year, and Best Rock Album for Innerspeaker, Best Group and also Breakthrough Artist.

In November 2010 Tame Impala's debut album Innerspeaker won the J Award for Album of the Year.

Writers: Dan Sultan/Scott Wilson
Artist: Dan Sultan
Publisher: Mushroom Music Pty Ltd

Dan Sultan

Dan Sultan and Scott Wilson’s second and highly acclaimed album Get Out While You Can is an electrifying romp through rockabilly, blues, country, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll. On the back of its release last November [2009], it instantly earned a coveted spot as triple j Album of the Week and shot to Number 1 on the Independent Australian album charts shortly thereafter. Get Out While You Can remains one of the highest selling independent releases in the country today.

A year later, Dan Sultan won 2 Deadly Awards 2010 (Best Male Artist, Best Single for “Letter”), scooped 2 AIR Awards 2010 (Best Independent Artist and Best Independent Blues & Roots Album) and has beaten off some serious competition to take out this countries most prestigious accolades: 2 ARIA Music Awards for Best Blues & Roots Album (Get Out While You Can) and Male Artist of the Year 2010. Dan Sultan is the second indigenous performer to take out this award trifecta (Deadly, AIR & ARIA), the first being the enigmatic Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu.

Dan’s initial meeting in 2000 with country and punk rock loving Scott Wilson (Sultan’s primary co-writer) led to the idea for their first album Homemade Biscuits. Performed almost entirely by Dan and Scott, they refined and recorded the debut album in 2006, and released it independently with the help of John Butler’s Seed program (an initiative to help Australian artists from any background, creating art and music across any genre, to establish themselves as self-sustained, professional artists).

Indigenous music legend, Kev Carmody described Dan Sultan as exactly how he would have performed in the 60's ...and Dan's powerful collaborations with Kev Carmody and Black Arm Band, are testament to his commitment to his people and the band's dedication to quality music and performance.

Scott Wilson

Scott Wilson is Dan Sultan’s primary co-writer.   Scott is a songwriter, producer and session musician. The sound that Dan and Scott collaboratively achieved can be best described as a mix of blues, soul, rock and country: a diversity for which they continue to receive critical acclaim as they amass a growing fan base.

Writer: Megan Washington
Artist: Washington
Publisher: J Albert & Son Pty Ltd

Washington studied jazz composition at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and released Nightlight, an EP with jazz pianist Sean Foran in 2006, and then an EP Bennett’s Lane with pianist Paul Grabowski in 2007.

Washington’s focus shifted away from jazz shortly thereafter as she began performing as keyboardist and backing vocalist in Old Man River.  She has also been a keyboardist and backing vocalist for Ben Lee. In late 2008 she launched her current band, Washington, with Lance Ferguson (The Bamboos), John Castle, Des White, Ross Irwin and Ryan Monro (The Cat Empire, Jackson Jackson) on bass.

The band released their debut EP, Clementine, in 2008 and later that year they were announced as Triple J's Unearthed winners and performed at the Melbourne Big Day Out.  This was followed by the release of a second EP, How To Tame Lions in September 2009.

In December 2009 she won the inaugural Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition for her song, "How to Tame Lions". The competition was conducted by APRA/AMCOS and was open to all songwriters across Australia, with all money raised going to the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy program. 

In early 2010 Washington sang on an acoustic cover version of Ross Wilson's "Bed of Nails" which was used as the main song of the ABC1 TV drama series Bed of Roses starring Kerry Armstrong. She has also appeared on Network Ten's program Good News Week as a guest for the Strange But True segment to sing a song as a clue several times, and once as a member of the panel.

In October 2010 Washington performed live during YouTube Play, an event produced in partnership between YouTube and the Guggenheim Museum.

Also in 2010, Washington won two ARIA Music Awards, Best Female Artist and Breakthrough Artist, and received a further three nominations: Album of the Year, Best Adult Alternative Album for I Believe You Liar and Single of the Year ("How To Tame Lions").