Following on from the like of The Rubens, Sarah Blasko, and San Cisco all scoring $20,000 in Arts Council funding as part of the International Pathways initiative, to help push Australian music onto the world stage with financial support for international tours, several more Australian musicians have been gifted a hefty cash bonus to help further their careers.

Licensing and royalties body, the Australian Performing Rights Association (APRA) yesterday announced the winners of the APRA/AMCOS Professional Development Awards, with eight talented Australian musicians sharing in the glory  , each receiving a boost of $30,000 worth of prizes, including $12,000 of APRA-fronted cash.

Husky Gawenda, titular frontman of Melbourne folk-rock outfit Husky, The Trouble With Templeton’s Thomas Calder, and Perth singer-songwriter Georgi Kay are among the winners, representing the ‘Popular Contemporary’ component of the competition.

Other winners include Morgan Evans (Country), Leah Flanagan (Aboriginal & Toress Strait Islander), Alexander Gardsen (Classical), Matthew Sheens (Jazz) and Joe Twist (Television), as well as pop/soul performer Amali Ward; the recipient of the University of Tasmania’s Conservatorium of Music’s UTAS Stephen Schwartz Songwriting Award. The award is valued at $10,000 and offered to advance the career of an artist in the realm of musical theatre.

“The high caliber of artists entering the PDAs (Professional Development Awards) this year has been incredible across all genres,” said APRA|AMCOS CEO Brett Cottle. “It’s great to know that through the PDAs we are able to harness and support such a high level of musicianship, creative talent and artistic creativity in this country,” he said. “I am very confident our winners this year will go on to do great things for the Australian music scene, both at home and abroad.” – Brett Cottle, APRA | AMCOS CEO

“I am very confident our winners this year will go on to do great things for the Australian music scene, both at home and abroad,” Mr Cottle said.

The final eight musicians and composers were drawn from almost 2,000 entrants, and the final pool of winners was picked by a panel of 38 judges, the panel included fellow musicians such as American singer-songerwriter Jason Mraz, Scotland’s Gary Clark, and Aussie troubadour Josh Pyke.

Husky Gawenda, of Husky, has had a successful twelve months off the back of their acclaimed debut Forever So, including becoming the first ever signees to influential American indie label Sub Pop, then embarking on a sold out national tour. Gawenda was also announced as a finalist for the Vanda and Young Songwriting Competition, while the band have been making in-roads into America with several international visits.   

The same can be said for Thomas Calder, of The Trouble With Templeton,who has had a short but already promising career and is bound to benefit greatly from the PDA.

Releasing his first mini-album Bleeders in 2011 as a solo effort, it earned him a spot as a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition that year. By the end of 2012 TTWT had developed into a fully-fledge, five-piece band and began its stride with a series of festival performances including Falls, Harvest, and most recently, SXSW – as well as releasing the first taste of their sophomore album in ‘Like A Kid’.

Perth Singer-songwriter Georgi Kay taught herself to play guitar at 10, and now at only 20 years old has already won a WAMi, for Best Song of the Year (‘Breakfast in Bedlam’) and featured on the addictive track “In My Mind” by Ivan Gough & Feenixpawl, which also won Best Dance Release at the 2012 ARIAs.

You can view the full list of winners below and visit APRA | AMCOS for full biographies of each artist.

APRA | AMCOS Professional Development Awards 2013 Winners

THOMAS CALDER (Popular Contemporary)
LEAH FLANAGAN (Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander)
HUSKY GAWENDA (Popular Contemporary)
GEORGI KAY (Popular Contemporary)
JOE TWIST (Film & Television)

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