2016 AU Awards : A look at the “Male Artist of the Year” nominees

This Friday, we announce the winners of the third annual AU Awards – a celebration of what has been a rich and diverse year of Australian music, delivered both on stage and in studio on record. Ahead of the ultimate reveal, we’re taking a look at some of the categories and those up for awards, starting with five talented gents who have struck a chord with our contributors and editors alike.

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D.D DUMBO

For Oliver Perry, aka D.D Dumbo, this year saw him open up a world teeming with gorgeous and evocative soundscapes to us; in debut album Utopia Defeated, we were enticed, captivated and challenged – when you come to any album, but a debut offering especially – these are the things you look for.

Perry’s talent as a multi-instrumentalist won many over early on, but Utopia Defeated saw him dive deeper and explore intricacies of a wide range of influences, while producing a final product most definitely his own.

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YEO

In terms of young Australian artists storming out the gates and flying the individuality flag strongly, Melbourne electro-pop innovator Yeo really made a mark with his 2016 record Ganbaru. While we’ve heard “Quiet Achiever” from him, Yeo is nothing of the sort.

Bold, ambitious and fiercely talented, Yeo has an insane ability to switch things up just when you think you’ve got a hold on which direction he’s headed – a brilliant indicator of where he’s headed over the next year for sure.

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MARCUS WHALE

A seriously underrated musician, Marcus’ work has been building a strong profile for some years now – Collarbones introduced us (and many) the potential the artist has as both a writer and producer but in his solo record, Inland Sea, he has demonstrated shades upon shades of intricate artistry that has simply captivated.

Dark, extremely well-produced and provocative, Inland Sea established Marcus as a talent to watch closely; it feels like with this debut album, we’re seeing one of the country’s new and best artists further flourish.

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PAUL DEMPSEY

One of the country’s best known songwriters, 2016 for Dempsey saw the release of his long awaited sophomore album, Strange Loop. Following on from the success of his debut solo record Everything is True, fans saw quite a bit of Dempsey on the road but he would soon return to the Something For Kate fold, as well as dedicating time to working on new material.

This year proved the wait was definitely worth it and the tour that followed the album release? Mint.

Photo: Jacob Collings
Photo: Jacob Collings

REMI

Continuing to break barriers with his music and electrifying stage presence, Remi Kolawole has become a beloved force to be reckoned with when it comes to looking at Australian hip hop moving forward. On stages around the country, Remi has consistently drawn huge numbers as well, whether it be on the Groovin’ the Moo tour nationally, or selling out multiple shows right around the country on his own.

Along with collaborator and partner-in-crime Sensible J, the Melbourne rapper delivered one of 2016’s strongest albums in Divas and Demons and further showcased a diverse musical palette that indicate there was still much more potential to be tapped into.

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DAN SULTAN

Ah, Dan Sultan. I mean, his reputation as a stellar performer long precedes him, so there’s not much to add here. However, off the back of his new music, particularly “Magnetic”, we were exposed to a newly fired-up Sultan – a fusion of that classic blues-rock sound with rich gospel and soul, the new sounds he was doling out this year indicated a departure from the familiar, but one we should be most definitely rocking with.

The AU Awards’ winners will be announced online this Friday, December 16th. Catch up on the nominees here and stay tuned!