Baker Boy ‘overwhelmed with joy’ after winning Artist of the Year at the National Indigenous Music Awards

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Northern Territory rapper and former Young Australian of the Year Baker Boy has won the coveted Artist of the Year gong at the National Indigenous Music Awards for the second year in a row.

The Yolngu rapper was up against Jess Mauboy, Thelma Plum, Emily Wurramara, Mau Power and Electric Fields in the top category.

“To my family back in Darwin across Arnhem Land, I’m so proud to represent my people and so overwhelmed by the support and success I have achieved rapping in Yolngu Matha and English,” he said, as he accepted his award via video conference from Bendigo in Victoria.

The prestigious awards were broadcast nationally from Darwin, honouring Indigenous musicians from across the entire country.

Danzal Baker, known professionally as Baker Boy, won three of the 10 awards including Song of the Year and Film Clip of the Year for his track Meditjin featuring Jess B.

Baker Boy wears a purple jumper with a black and white shirt over it. He has a serious expression and looks off-camera.
In Arnhem Land they call Baker Boy the “fresh new prince”.(National Indigenous Music Awards: Freya Esders)

“Massive respect and love to all the nominees and their seriously banging tracks.”

Baker said shooting the music video was a special day in his career.

“I had my dad, my brothers Adam and Tristan to be a part of it. They came all the way from Arnhem Land straight down to Melbourne,” the artist said.

Archie Roach is wearing a striped shirt and sitting under dim lights. He is looking down and his expression is serious.
Archie Roach won Album of the Year for Tell Me Why, the companion album to his memoir of the same name.(Supplied: National Indigenous Music Awards)

Hall of Fame for Ruby Hunter

Other major winners included Archie Roach, who won Album of the Year for Tell Me Why, and Ruby Hunter, who was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Queensland artist Miiesha, 20, who released her debut album Nyaaringu earlier this year, took the gong for New Talent of the Year winner.

The awards are not just a great platform for these artists, they are also an acknowledgment of the inspiring work done by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander musicians.

“It’s a way of bringing out community together, our mob together, but also … celebrating all of our great musicians,” said Ben Graetz, the award’s creative director.

While the awards went ahead, they could not escape the wide-ranging impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

For the first time, they were simultaneously broadcast on television, radio and online.

Miiesha is wearing big silver hoops and a black hoodie. She is looking off-camera with a serious face.
Miiesha won New Talent of the Year winner in the 2020 awards.(Supplied: National Indigenous Music Awards)

And there was a last-minute change of host after sudden Northern Territory travel restrictions left actor and writer Steven Oliver stranded interstate.

“Unfortunately, he got stuck in the border closures in Brisbane, so I’m plan B!” said Mr Graetz who joined co-host, comedian Elaine Crombie, on stage.

Organisers took advantage of the new format to broadcast live to the remote community of Yirrkala, in the NT’s Arnhem Land, and Broome in the WA’s Kimberly region.

“The great thing about virtual events is it allows people access to it, people with disabilities that probably aren’t able to get to the event, people living in remote communities that aren’t able to get to this event,” said Mr Graetz.

Several musical guests made their appearances over the course of the show, including Jessica Mauboy, Mitch Tambo, Thelma Plum and Mambali.

Midnight Oil closed the show with a worldwide live premiere of their new track Gadigal Land.

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