|Skinnyfish Music Scoop Five Nominations at National Indigenous Music Awards|
|Friday, 20 July 2012 05:42|
Darwin-based Skinnyfish Music have topped off a huge six months with five nominations at the National Indigenous Music Awards announced yesterday.
With directors Mark Grose and Michael Hohnen named in the top 25 most powerful music industry identities in Australia, an artist selected for a $250 million international Tourism Australia campaign, another performing at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in the UK and the launch of a significant social justice campaign imminent, Skinnyfish have again shown how quality indigenous music factors seriously in the mainstream music industry.
“When we started Skinnyfish 14 years ago, it was about developing career support and a sustainable, creative platform for Indigenous artists and their families and communities,” said director Mark Grose. “It was about supporting the positive and presenting quality, and nothing has changed - look at the success and talent of Tom E Lewis, Gurrumul, Dewayne Everettsmith, Nabarlek, B2M and more, all working here and overseas at competitive levels".
Their approach, which has involved working not just with the artists, but with their communities, has been vindicated by the success of their artists, including Gurrumul who has sold over 400,000 albums around the world and performed for the likes of Princess Mary, Barack Obama and thrice for the Queen including her Diamond Jubilee earlier this year. A perennial favourite at the National Indigenous Music Awards, he is nominated this year for three awards including Artist of the Year and Song of the Year for his haunting duet with Sarah Blasko, “Bayini”.
Displaying that their ethic works more broadly, Skinnyfish has had further success this year with Tasmanian Dewayne Everettsmith.
“Dewayne is a young soulful singer/songwriter" said Skinnyfish creative director Michael Hohnen. “We’ve been working with him for close to three years now and are very happy with how his album is forming, and in his song “It’s Like Love”, he has produced the sentiment that will carry Tourism Australia’s latest international campaign to the world.”
Dewayne (who recently performed at the NAIDOC Awards) is up for Song of the Year and Best New Talent.
As part of Skinnyfish’s work within Indigenous communities, there are festivals featuring some of Australia’s best musical talent, hosted in remote communities and attended by thousands of people. There’s support for new artists to develop at their own paces. And support linking AFL and music together through uplifting workshops, and ongoing relationships with many different interested parties.
There are great bands like B2M and Nabarlek who are constantly touring throughout the Northern Territory and Western Australia's remote communities. And there are various community-driven health and well-being initiatives including two current innovative projects that deal with social networking through remote communities and another dealing with chronic health which both look like garnering mainstream media attention in coming months.
"We always look for community - driven ideas, initiatives and culture to help sustain or nurture positive and creative cultural social function,” said Mark Grose. “Remote indigenous people including the hundreds of musicians we know, have the longest history of solving issues, in many ways more than we (as non-indigenous people) could ever know. We are always developing both-worlds ways of addressing problems."
"We realise how the music industry is changing very rapidly”, said Michael Hohnen. “We have a responsibility to continue to navigate our artists' careers through a rapidly changing industry, creating and maximising all opportunities available and present these special artists who put all their faith in us, in a proud creative and quality "space" amongst the best of the mainstream.
We are privileged to spend so much time in the cultural cathedral that is Aboriginal Australia. We are richer for it, and the stories culture and songs that come from these artists will make people who listen all the richer for it too.”