2011 ARIA Awards at Sydney Olympic Park

What a night it was for the 25th anniversary of Australian music’s night of nights – the ARIA Awards.

Winners Gotye, Boy & Bear, Cut Copy, Guy Sebastian; performers Delta Goodrem, Art vs Science and Kimbra, and Hall of Fame inductees Kylie Minogue and The Wiggles truly dazzled. And they were just some of the highlights.

Everyone’s favourite cowboy hat-wearing music guru Molly Meldrum couldn’t help but gush affection on the red carpet for the lady of the evening, Kylie Minogue, and Adelaide’s own Guy Sebastian.

‘Way back in 1987 I met Kylie on Neighbours in a storyline that involved me offering her character Charlene a recording contract. And that was complete fiction but it became a reality. Never in my wildest dreams did I think she would ever take off to this level, let alone become Australia’s highest selling artist. Dreams do come true!’

When asked who he was most looking forward to seeing perform, Molly said ‘Guy Sebastian, without a doubt. His growth as a songwriter, as a performer… to go from winning Australian Idol to where he is now is nothing short of extraordinary’

A surprise return to the ARIA red carpet was songstress and seven-time ARIA winner Missy Higgins. Almost unrecognizable with a short blonde crop, Higgins presented the coveted Single of the Year and Album of the Year trophies, one of which she took home in 2005 (who could forget the time she jumped on David Hasslehoff?). As well as performing with Gurrumul, Missy revealed that in her time away she undertook a university course in Aboriginal Studies, as well as working on a belated new album in Nashville which she described as ‘more fun and upbeat’ than her last two albums, ‘moving away from the acoustics’.

Reminiscing on past ARIA controversies, comedian Andy Lee (who along with Hamish Blake took home the gong for Best Comedy Release) recounted the time during the 2006 ARIAs when Axle Whitehead performed a career-killing nude stunt on stage.

‘We were backstage when that happened, and someone came up to us and said ‘Wow did you see what Axle did?!’ and I thought ‘Oh he’s gone and done something amazing which we’re going to have to follow’. We just thought he’d gone out and killed it and it was some amazing piece of television – turns out it was amazing television, for very different reasons of course [laughs]’

Art vs Science surprised me with their unexpected knowledge of Kylie Minogue songs. When asked their favourite Kylie song, the Sydney boys went on and on. And what is everyone’s worst red carpet nightmare (well, for this writer at least) came to fruition when I realized that drummer Dan Williams and I were wearing the same suit (courtesy of the wonderful Jack London). Nevertheless, the trio took home their first ARIA for Best Independent Release and delivered an exhilarating performance of single ‘Magic Fountain’.

Ten-time ARIA winner and judge of the upcoming Australian version of The Voice Delta Goodrem had nothing but love for young Adelaide designer Jaimie Sortino. As a friend of Jaimie’s, I couldn’t help but ask when she would be wearing one of his dresses down the red carpet (Delta already a fan of his, wearing a number of his dresses in 2009 and 2010)

‘He’s such a sweetheart, always making dresses! Whenever he makes the right dress for the right moment. Always strive for the right moment with the right dress!’

When asked about her much anticipated fourth studio album, Goodrem said ‘I apologize it’s been so late! I’m definitely ready to go at the start of next year, and I’m genuinely ready to share it. I had to change a few things but it will be here soon!’ Goodrem later performed a haunting version of Wendy Matthews’ ‘The Day You Went Away’, dedicated to past performers and music identities that have passed over the years.

Havana Brown, who looked stunning in head-to-toe Balmain, didn’t disappoint in sharing goss on other celebrities – namely former touring ‘buddy’ Lady Gaga. The Best Breakthrough Single nominee recounted a story on how they first met.

‘I was just waiting in my dressing room and I turned around and she was staring at me – it wasn’t a nice stare or a mean stare… more of a blank stare? I don’t know [laughs]. I just found it really strange. I was such a huge fan at that time and I was so excited to meet her. It was so anti-climatic [laughs]’

Havana Brown has her eyes firmly set on the US, with her debut single ‘We Run the Night’ remixed by (funnily enough, frequent Lady Gaga collaborator) RedOne and featuring man of the minute Pitbull. She revealed the plans for her US release are already in motion, with a new video for the song featuring the Latin rapper to be filmed in the coming weeks.

Quiet achiever and Best Male Artist Gotye (whose song ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ has become the unavoidable radio hit of the year) was shy on the red carpet, revealing he’d lost his voice just days prior and was resting it for his much-anticipated performance with Best Female Artist Kimbra.

When asked if this meant that her and Gotye were the new ‘king and queen’ of Australian pop music, New Zealand-born Kimbra said ‘If artists like Gotye can be the ‘king of pop’, well then that is very exciting for Australian pop music’. Just don’t say the word ‘pop’ to Gotye, though. Despite winning Best Pop Release, he said didn’t care for labels and found them ‘limiting’.

Adelaide’s Guy Sebastian seemed rattled in the winner’s room after realizing he forgot to thank rapper Eve, who featured on his Highest Selling Single ‘Who’s That Girl’

‘You know, it's the Highest Selling Single featuring Eve. So I say 'Thanks everyone else except Eve'. I’m such a douche!’

Of course, it was pop princess and Australia’s highest selling artist Kylie Minogue (pictured left with me) who was the name on everyone’s lips. Inducted into the Hall of Fame by none other than Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Minogue’s speech touched on everything – from the highs and lows of her career, being a ‘proud Australian’ to her ‘amazement’ that she is ‘still here’.

During the winner’s press conferenece, I asked Kylie if there was ever a time in her long and illustrious career when she felt she wouldn’t make it this far.

‘Yep! [laughs] That’s the short answer. Definitely, there’s been a period in my career, well, more than one I’d say, where it’s been low and things aren’t going how you hoped they would go. I didn’t enjoy it at the time but I’m very thankful for those experiences now. The main one in the mid 90s got me touring here again with Intimate & Live, and that was just so important for me. If I had carried on the trajectory that I was on, I would never have done that so that really kick-started the touring side of my career. And that’s where we’ve now come up to now, with shows like Aphrodite: Les Folies. It really wouldn’t have happened without that low time and deciding to get back to basics, to reconnect with the fans and do those small gigs.’

La Minogue also confirmed that a set of rumoured intimate and scaled-down shows (dubbed the ‘anti-tour’) ‘will happen’ in the not-too-distant future.

‘When that’s going to happen – I don’t know. But it’s something I’m very excited about’

Fellow Hall of Fame inductees The Wiggles proved why they are the hardest working dads in show business. ‘Red skivvy’ Murray revealed the group played two shows in Canberra the same weekend of the ARIAs before flying down for the ceremony. While predominantly a children’s act, The Wiggles are more than Hall of Fame worthy – their music and DVD sales clocking up a combined 30 million.

And lastly, Album of the Year winners Boy & Bear shrugged off any of those cocky indie stereotypes, taking home five awards for their debut album ‘Moonfire’ and single ‘Feeding Line’. When asked if they thought they were a shoo-in after nominated seven times, the Sydney folk group took the multiple wins in their stride.

Lead vocalist Dave Hosking said ‘We kind of have a running joke in the group – that no matter what happened here tonight, we’re coming home with a bagel [laughs]. If everything is headed in the right direction and everything is going well, things like this [award shows] are really just a bonus to us. Coming here and not winning is definitely not the worst thing that could have happened to us’


Album of the Year
Boy & Bear – Moonfire
(Island Australia/Universal Music Australia)

Single of the Year
Gotye – Somebody That I Used to Know (feat. Kimbra)
(Samples 'n' Seconds Records/Eleven: A Music Company)

Best Male Artist
Gotye – Somebody That I Used to Know (feat. Kimbra)
(Samples 'n' Seconds Records/Eleven: A Music Company)

Best Female Artist
Kimbra – Cameo Lover
(Warner Music Australia)

Best Group
Boy & Bear – Moonfire
(Island Australia/Universal Music Australia)

Breakthrough Artist Album
Boy & Bear – Moonfire
(Island Australia/Universal Music Australia)

Breakthrough Artist Single
Boy & Bear – Feeding Line
(Island Australia/Universal Music Australia)

Best Independent Release
Art vs Science – The Experiment
(Green/MGM Distribution)

Best Adult Alternative Album
Boy & Bear Moonfire
(Island Australia/Universal Music Australia)

Best Adult Contemporary Album
Billy Thorpe – Billy Thorpe's Tangier
(Sony Music Entertainment Australia)

Best Blues & Roots Album
The Audreys – Sometimes the Stars
(ABC Music)

Best Children's Album
The Wiggles – Ukulele Baby!
(ABC Music)

Best Comedy Release
Hamish & Andy – Celebrating 50 Glorious Years
(Roadshow Music)

Best Country Album
Kasey Chambers – Little Bird
(Liberation Music)

Best Dance Release
Cut Copy – Zonoscope
(Modular Recordings)

Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album
Front End Loader – Ritardando
(Weeping Anus Records/MGM Distribution)

Best Pop Release
Gotye – Somebody That I Used to Know (feat. Kimbra)
(Samples 'n' Seconds Records/Eleven: A Music Company)

Best Rock Album
The Living End – The Ending Is Just the Beginning Repeating
(Dew Process/Universal Music Australia)

Best Urban Album
Drapht – The Life of Riley
(The Ayems/Sony Music Entertainment Australia)

Highest Selling Album
Altiyan Childs – Altiyan Childs
(Sony Music Entertainment Australia)

Highest Selling Single
Guy Sebastian – Who's that Girl (feat. Eve)
(Sony Music Entertainment Australia)

Best Classical Album
Sally Whitwell – Mad Rush: Piano Music of Philip Glass
(ABC Classics)

Best Jazz Album
Elixir featuring Katie Noonan – First Seed Ripening
(ABC Music)

Best Original Soundtrack/Cast/Show Album
Chris Lilley – Angry Boys – Official Soundtrack Album
(ABC Music)

Best World Music Album
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu – Rrakala
(Skinnyfish Music/MGM Distribution)

Best Music DVD
AC/DC – AC/DC – Live at River Plate
(Albert Productions)

Best Cover Art
Alter – Cut Copy, Zonoscope
(Modular Recordings)

Best Video
Natasha Pincus for Starkraving Productions – Gotye, Somebody That I Used to Know (feat. Kimbra)
(Samples 'n' Seconds Records/Eleven: A Music Company)

Engineer of the Year
Francois Tetaz – Gotye, Somebody That I Used to Know (feat. Kimbra)
(Samples 'n' Seconds Records/Eleven: A Music Company)

Producer of the Year
Wally De Backer – Gotye, Somebody That I Used to Know (feat. Kimbra)
Samples 'n' Seconds Records/Eleven: A Music Company)


Most Popular Australian Artist
Birds of Tokyo
(EMI Music Australia)

Most Popular International Artist
(La Face/Sony Music Australia)

Most Popular Australian Live Artist
The Living End
(Dew Process/Universal Music Australia) 


Special thanks to Jack London, Rundle Mall, Adelaide

To Top