Finalists for the 15th annual Australian Music Prize have been announced. The award aims to honour the finest Australian releases of 2019.
Nine albums have been named in the shortlist for this year’s AMP. The shortlist was filed down from a more than 100-album long list, which was announced last year. It’s a diverse pool, with finalists representing a variety of genres, age groups, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and levels of career success.
The 2017 winner Sampa the Great makes another shortlist appearance for her debut album The Return. Sampa won the award for her breakout mixtape The Birds and the BEE9. No other previous victors are among the finalists, though Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds an Methyl Ethel have both previously been shortlisted.
Listen: Sampa the Great – Bye River
In alphabetical order, here is the full complement of this year’s shortlist: Ainslie Wills – All You Have Is All You Need; Amyl & the Sniffers – Amyl & the Sniffers; Dispossessed – Warpath Never Ended; Julia Jacklin – Crushing; Methyl Ethel – Triage; Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Ghosteen; Sampa The Great – The Return; Sleep D – Rebel Force; Thelma Plum – Better In Blak.
The judging panel is made up of a number of Australian musicians, journalists and industry insiders. It includes contemporary artists like Abbe May and Alex Cameron as well as Double J staples like The Whitlams’ Tim Freedman and Grinspoon’s Phil Jamieson.
The AMP was conceived in 2005 with the inaugural award going to The Drones’ Wait Long by the River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By. The AMP is modelled on awards like the UK’s Mercury Prize and Canada’s Polaris Music Prize and other past winners include Courtney Barnett, Gurrumul, A.B. Original and REMI.
Listen: Guruumul – Djarimirri
“The Australian Music Prize has never been more vital in our music ecosystem,” said AMP director Scott Murphy. “[It provides] a separation from the fight for commercial success and encouraging a reconnection to the very heart of what draws us to music. We are proud to lift up music that inspires lives and change our culture for the better.”
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The winning album will be announced in March. Listen to AMP’s official playlist here.