Budjerah has been crowned Artist of the Year at the 2023 National Indigenous Music Awards.
The 21-year-old from Bundjalung country in far north NSW, was nominated for three awards and performed for the crowd at the Darwin Amphitheatre on Larrakia country.
King Stingray’s hit single Let’s Go also picked up two awards — including song of the year — while Thelma Plum’s EP Meanjin won Album of the Year.
Scroll down to see the full list of winners below.
Yothu Yindi inducted into NIMAs Hall of Fame
The band which formed in the mid-80s at a Nhulunbuy club have officially been inducted into the NIMAs Hall of Fame for their trailblazing contribution to Indigenous music and the rights of First Nations people more broadly.
That effort continued on Saturday night, with a surprise performance of Treaty by Yothu Yindi band members to an electric atmosphere at the Darwin Amphitheatre.
The widow of the band’s late lead singer Dr M, Yalmay Yunupiŋu, was among those who accepted the Hall of Fame honour on behalf of the band.
“We honour their commitment to addressing social issues and advocating for Indigenous rights through their music,” she said.
“Yothu Yindi was more than a band, they were a force for change and a bridge between cultures.”
Wildfire Manwurrk wins Community Clip of the Year and Archie Roach Foundation Award
Filmed on their Dukala-Djarranj country in the NT, Mararradj celebrates Wildfire Manwurrk’s cultural roots and invites viewers to come along with them.
Mararradj, which means “a love that can never die, it’s like a fire burning that will never go out”, is sung in the endangered language of Kune.
The music clip won the Community Clip of the Year Award over other entrants including The Problem, shot in a remote NT community.
Wildfire Manwurrk were also awarded the Archie Roach Foundation Award, recognising their work as budding artists.
Ngulmiya wins Indigenous Language Award
The well-known ceremony leader and songman from Arnhem Land was recognised for his traditional singing style that has roots dating back thousands of years.
Ngulmiya has performed across the country and collaborated with numerous artists and organisations, including the Australian Ballet and Yothu Yindi.
“Thank you for all my family that are supporting me here,” he said in accepting the award.
Let’s Go by King Stingray wins Song of the Year and Film Clip of the Year
The rocking single that took out 35th spot in last year’s Hottest 100 countdown snapped up two awards for the Northeast Arnhem Land band.
Accepting the award for Song of the Year, band member Yirrŋa Yunupiŋu thanked the public for their support.
Other songs nominated include Bumpy’s Hide and Seek and Budjerah’s Therapy.
Tracking their travels in the back of the ute down the unsealed Central Arnhem Highway, the music video for Let’s Go also picked up the award of film clip of the year.
The clip showcases the vast and largely untouched natural landscapes of the Top End, interspersed by the adventures of the rockers as they embrace their new-found stardom.
Bumpy wins New Talent of the Year
After winning the NIMAs comp of last year’s Triple J Unearthed competition, this year Bumpy has maintained her momentum by picking up New Talent of the Year.
The Naarm-based Noongar woman won the recognition of judges with her smooth combination of soul, jazz and R&B.
Starting her speech by paying her respects to traditional owners and elders, Bumpy expressed optimism for the continuing success of Indigenous music.
“First Nations music, there’s nothing else like it. The spirit, the energy that we share together, and we always have,” she said.
“I feel really proud to be a part of all of this magic.”
Meanjin by Thelma Plum wins Album of the Year
Boasting tracks such as Backseat of My Mind and The Brown Snake, Thelma Plum’s EP Meanjin has won album of the year.
Her musical love letter to the River City took out the coveted award against other albums like Miiesha’s Smoke & Mirrors and Beddy Ray’s self-titled record.
Plum took to the stage to accept the award, holding back tears as she told the cheering crowd how the NIMAs helped launch her to fame.
“Eleven years ago, I was unearthed by Triple J to play at the National Indigenous Music Awards and it was the beginning of my whole career.
“It started that night, so it feels very special to be able to do that and come back.”
Budjerah wins Artist of the Year
The 21-year-old singer songwriter of such tracks as Therapy and Missing You has rocketed to fame in recent years, and his hard work and dedication has earnt him recognition as the National Indigenous Music Award’s Artist of the Year.
He expressed shock at beating fellow nominees King Stingray, Jessica Mauboy and The Kid Laroi.
“I am so happy to be here and be in front of all of you,” he said.
“To represent our people, it is so special.”