South Australian Music Awards Finalists

On November 3, the 2020 South Australian Music (SAM) Awards will be celebrating the achievements of musicians, producers, videographers and venues from what’s been a decidedly unpredictable 12 months. The SAM Awards have revealed the nominees for this year’s event, along with the all-important venue and event details for the November ceremony and Hi Fi Way takes a closer look at some of the wonderful talent that has been nominated.

Ollie English
Ollie English is an enthralling 24 year old singer-songwriter from the Adelaide, South Australia. English captivates his audiences as he moves from soulful rock anthems with gritty guitar solos, to heartfelt ballads humming with gospel-inspired backing vocals. English has played at festivals such as Womadelaide, Groovin The Moo and Handpicked, supporting the likes of Robbie Williams, Aloe Blacc, Angus and Julia Stone and The Rubens. His song ‘Holy Water’ was recently featured in an international campaign for the South Australian Tourism Commission.

Lonelyspeck is the project of Adelaide-based singer, songwriter, producer and visual artist Sione Teumohenga. Freely yet cohesively mixing eclectic styles, their distinctive sonic palette emphasises a morphing, hyperreal sense of space and texture while remaining grounded in a strong pop sensibility. What makes Lonelyspeck’s music so compelling, is that feeling of openness. It might sound cliched, but Lonelyspeck’s songs demonstrate just how much strength can be found in vulnerability. Lonelyspeck has emerged as one of the country’s most daring musicians within our electronic space, consistently proving itself to be amongst the country’s most creative, experimental and just down-right incredible with every release that has littered their past few years.

Jess Day
Having grown up in the remote mining town of Roxby Downs, Jess Day adapted to her pre-teen relocation to the city of Adelaide by putting feelings of loneliness and nostalgia to music. The DIY approach she took to making music as an isolated teenager from her bedroom has shaped the now 22-year-old singer/songwriter’s sound into moody indie pop with hints of snarling punk attitude. Her freewheeling approach to song writing, blended with her distinctive voice has led to the creation of a sound and emotional vulnerability that belies her young age.

Jessica Wishart
Jessica Wishart is a young Bidjara woman who writes and performs songs inspired by her love of music, family and culture. She is a storyteller whose songs take elements of country, folk and soul music and weave them into deeply personal tales which capture and express her unique experience. In 2017, she recorded and released her debut EP, working with acclaimed song writer and performer John Baker, recorded by The Yearlings’ Chris Parkinson and featuring additional vocals by Nancy Bates. Jessica’s music speaks from deeply held personal beliefs, drawing upon her experiences as an Aboriginal woman, daughter and mother to explore her culture and its place in community.

22- year old J-MILLA is a proud member of the Mak Mak Marranungu people, who are the traditional landowners of the Litchfield National Park in the NT. Born in Darwin J-MILLA’s life started hard from the get-go; yet he managed to find a way to stand outside the intergenerational trauma pathway that affects so many Aboriginal families. Losing himself in music and storytelling was what got him through and it was this part of his culture that he clung to. When he noticed the power of narrative and its influence on those around him; mainly his brothers and sister – J-MILLA’s passion for writing lyrics and telling his own stories began. J-MILLA used this passion like a weapon to maintain a healthy mental state for himself and his sibling. His lyrical content swings between deep societal commentary and bangin’ club vibes.

J-MILLA’s combined social media figures sit at 200k followers, a collab with M4SONIC titled Matchstick has 400k streams on Spotify but it was the track Unlock the System about the murder of Kumanjayi Walker by police that brought him attention. Soon after he was deemed ‘Spotlight Artist’ by triple j Unearthed [twice], played Darwin Festival, has been handpicked for THE BIGSOUND50 and nominated as “Best Aboriginal/TSI Artist” by MusicSA.

Adelaide five-piece Venice Queens have well and truly established themselves as a South Australian music heavyweight over the past two years. In the wake of the release of their debut, self-titled EP, the band embarked on their first tour of east coast Australia in 2018, playing multiple shows in both Sydney and Melbourne. Continuing to build their reputation as an emphatic live act in 2019, VQ played their biggest headline show to date during the opening month of Adelaide’s newest venue, Lion Arts Factory, to an audience 500 strong. With an increasing catalogue of new music in the works with Simon Kither and ARIA Award winning producer, Adrian Breakspear (Gang Of Youths, Pharrell Williams, Delta Goodrem, Boy & Bear) fans should expect a whole lot of new music very soon.

Having shared stages with national acts such as Kingswood, Lime Cordiale and The Creases, as well as playing multiple sell-out shows in their hometown, the Queens are no strangers to filling big shoes. The Adelaide trailblazers are aiming to restore rock and roll culture, without all the bullshit; inspired by bands such as Cage The Elephant, Jet and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Venice Queens’ unique brand of swagger-fuelled, anthemic rock ‘n’ roll is here to stay.

Slowmango blend influences from around the world into a sweet and savoury buffet of international groove – with far reaching influences ranging from Ethio Jazz to Peruvian Psych, Arabic Funk to West-African Disco, and a desire to start a band which blurs the borders between music and visual art. Over the past year the five-piece have found a sweet-spot between their global inspirations, developing a sound which invokes moments of compulsive danceability and upbeat celebration, without forgetting Sunday mornings and afternoon drives. Think a hard-hitting Khruangbin sitting on a bed of Fela Kuti rhythms and a sprinkling of jazz- tied together in songs reminiscent of the classic 60’s British prog bands, with lyrics sung in multiple languages.

Slowmango recorded their debut EP with Surahn Sidhu, of Empire of the Sun and The Swiss renown, at the analogue recording studio on his farm in Willunga in December 2019, to a backdrop of local wines and herbs. The EP provides an insight into the breadth of their sound, from the ‘intergalactic Turkish wedding song’ of title track Thairade – bursting with exotically-infused guitar, driving rhythm and forgotten synths – to the meditative final track Hold Tomorrow, which evokes the familiar feelings of being told a bedtime story or having just finished a yoga class. The EP’s middle child, Global Citizen, sits comfortably between the two, taking you on a journey of reclined surf guitar, warm vibraphone, and groove-laden rhythms.

Making the leap from bedroom artist to knockout shows at the BIGSOUND 2019 industry showcase, Stellie is a young Adelaide artist on the cusp of bigger things. Inspired by strong female voices , her tender and personal tales, over beats and shimmering guitar, are indie – pop slow – burners that cut straight to the heart.

Stellie is the country’s latest addition to the ever-expanding class of emerging local pop artists and her star is growing brighter with every upload. Whilst her Unearthed ‘sounds like’ section lists names like Lorde, Jorja Smith and Lana del Rey, the Adelaide talent isn’t in the business of carbon copying her sound. Rather, there’s something within a Stellie song that fans of each of those artists will resonate with. Elements of Lorde’s visceral and deeply personal song writing and Jorja Smith’s smooth vocals are all captured within shimmering indie slow burners that’d be the perfect follow-up to a Lana track in a smoky saloon.

Meet EAST AV3, they’re three young guns out of Adelaide that produce intoxicating bars and beats. Within the first few seconds of their debut track Running Through The Fire you’ll realise EAST AV3 have that cinematic effect. Their songs could easily soundtrack any high-intensity movie sequence – whether it’s walking away from an explosion in slow motion or a high-speed car chase – that’s the kind of intensity and adrenaline they’re able to emulate through their music.

The trio started making music while still in high school, in their home studio on East Avenue in Adelaide – hence the name. Once they graduated, they put forward their best tools to fine tune their sound and direction, while recruiting help from local mates like Tigerilla. EAST AV3 have found a middle ground between old school hip hop and that new wave energy, and give a hard nod to the likes of Denzel Curry and RL Grime. Their bombastic and effortlessly cool sound calls to mind the flow of BROCKHAMPTON, but unlike the famous hip hop boy band who formed out of members from an online Kanye forum, EAST AV3 go way back and their close dynamic is their secret weapon.

Siberian Tiger
Siberian Tiger’s Bree Tranter (The Middle East, Matt Corby) & Chris Panousakis (Timberwolf, Matt Corby) are releasing their 6 track Debut EP August 14 2020. Produced and recorded in their home studio by the seaside in South Australia. What started as a cathartic ritual soon began to take shape in the quiet moments that punctuate the life of a touring musician – in the back of the tour bus, in airports and hotel lobbies, between long-distance calls, and then eventually home.

As the band describe Call On Me their latest single, is a song dedicated to your ride or die. The one person you could call in the darker hours. When there is no one else you count on in your moment of desperation, your safe person.” A fitting song for current times, Call On Me is a song about cameraderie inspired by the late Bill Withers’ Lean On Me. A moody, slow burner that is a warm hand of gratitude placed upon the shoulder of the person that you can count on at any hour, even when you are worlds apart.

Tickets for the 2020 SAM Awards are available now via Moshtix for an incredibly affordable $40; entry and drinks inclusive. Food will be available to purchase throughout the event. Capacity is limited, so get in early.

Tickets available HERE

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