Local music industry's young guns win big at Dolphin Awards

The list of North Coast Entertainment Industry Association (NCEIA) Dolphin Awards finalists for 2015 was a bit of a surprise: there were many new names on the list.

A surprising number of young musicians decided to enter , and made it to the finals.

From them, many came out winners: Hannah Parrington of Possum Creek won the Youth Award, Goonellabah teen Lucinda Gray received the Female Vocal award and Bangalow young musician Anna Free won Song of the Year and Album of the Year.

The trend continued on Tuesday at the awards ceremony, where musicians aged 13 and over went on stage and surpised everyone with their profesionalism, level of skill and charisma.

It was sensational to see The Swamp Stompers and Grace Hughes lead the charge of our young musicians, and then to have SCU Band Competition winners Nocturnal Taps demonstrate what creativity can do in electronic music.

Brothers Tim and Sam Aitken, of the duo Hoo 8 Hoo, at just 16 and 13 years of age showed maturity and great creativity..

This year was the year of the young guns for local music, and that's a great thing

Here is the full list of winners:

Album of the Year and Song of the Year - Anna Free

BANGALOW'S Anna Free won the Album of the Year and Song of the Year awards at the 2015 North Coast Entertainment Industry Association (NCEIA) Dolphin Awards ceremony.

The young singer won Album of the Year for her release The Unsolved Crimes.

The album was released last May in Byron Bay.

From The Unsolved Crimes, the song Make You Happy also won Song of the Year in Tuesday's awards ceremony.

Anna Free & The Unsolved Crimes sound uncannily like your favourite band used to before the drugs, synthesisers and/or Japanese conceptual artist came along and ruined the whole thing.

Anna has been performing her own garage pop minor masterpieces around Byron and Sydney for several years.

When putting together her band, Anna had her heart set on only two things: they had to have their own car and they had to work for no more than a six-pack split four ways.

The Unsolved Crimes ticked every box: cheap and willing to take orders.

Unfortunately, Anna Free was unable to be present at the awards earlier this week in Ballina.

Youth - Hannah Parrington

POSSUM Creek's Hannah Parrington won her award for her song Bones.

The teenager studies at St Johns College in Woodlawn.

As part of her award, she received a spot at the Buskers Stage at next year's Bluesfest.

Hannah said she was very excited about playing at Bluesfest again next year.

"I am very excited," she said. "I love playing Bluesfest. I was there last year as part of the Junior Buskers Competition. I didn't win but I got a sport to play and this year I will be there as a Dolphin winner!".

Adult Contemporary - Jo Kelly

BANGALOW'S Jo Kelly was truly touched when she was named the winner of this category.

During her emotional acceptance speech she mentioned she played and sung other people's music for a long time, and it was just after a recent trip to India that she decided to write her own music.

CASEY BARNES: Headlining at the Ballina Prawn Festival this month.
CASEY BARNES: Headlining at the Ballina Prawn Festival this month.

Jo Kelly plays piano, harmonium and esraj (Indian cello) and composes, records and performs contemporary conscious songs and traditional sacred music, blending acoustic instruments with electronic beats and soundscapes.

Male Vocal - Casey Barnes

KINGSCLIFF'S Casey Barnes had hits in Europe, wrote songs in America, appeared in a top-rating TV show in Australia, and played alongside many international stars including both Mariah Carey and Bryan Adams.

Casey continues to dominate the Australian music festival circuit and with more major festivals in the pipeline for 2015 it sees him as one of Australia's premier performers with a career truly on the rise.

Female vocal - Lucinda Gray

LISTENING to Lucinda Gray's recording of her song Well Aware is a pleasure.

The Goonellabah teen and Kadina High student wrote the song earlier this year, having only started writing music in 2014.

Aged just 17, Gray has released her music as free streaming tracks on Triple J Unearthed and Soundcloud.

Part of her award includes a day of recording and a day of mixing at Byron Bay's SAE studio, which Ms Gray said made her very happy.

"I am hoping this prize helps me futher a career in music from next year," she said.


Blues - Deidi Vine

MULLUMBUMBY'S Deidi Vine has been passionate about music all her life.

She was brought up on a sheep farm on Kangaroo Island, South Australia , and fell in love with the old jazz greats that her father played and cherished, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, and Billie Holiday, among others.

She started her songwriting career at 18 and has written more than 70 songs with predominantly 'feel good' lyrics.

Production - Doot

YAMBA'S Alt-Country ensembe Doot has their roots in the wide open plains of Australia, paired with well-travelled ears. Doot delivers a sound that is both classic and original, familiar yet surprising, rocking and rootsy, heartfelt and feel-good.

The quartet explores its own blend of folk rock and country, uniting smooth vocal harmonies, jangling guitars and pedal steel in a common purpose.

All the music is recorded, mixed, and produced by band member W. Paul Agar.


Music Video - Carmen Cane

CARMEN Cane has a certain sadness to her voice that allows for her music videos to be enigmatic.

Glory Man's music video has that kind of tone, and since it's based on the Brooklet woman's own personal experiences as a teenager, she acknowledged director Sebastian Hill for the final outcome during her acceptance speech.

Ms Cane, a former Northern Rivers Conservatorium student, finds her inspiration in retro-American beachside culture.

Pop - Rochelle Lees Band

ENERGETIC, charismatic and quirky, Tweed's Rochelle Lees Band has performed extensively across the North Coast for 11 years.

Over the past six months the latest line-up of the band has been hard at work developing its own pop sound which draws from a wide range of influences.

Until recently Rochelle used to sing a range of styles from classic pub rock, soul/funk through to today's top 40 music.

Band members are now writing their own songs and the change has certainly paid off.

Rock - Matt and Tanya Fisher 

MACLEAN'S Matt and Tanya Fisher wrote their winning song Let Me Be to tackle the issue of bullying.

As teachers in the Clarence Valley, they see bullying first hand. Their song is about finding the inner strength to stand up for yourself and break free from oppression.

Urban / Hip Hop / Funk and World / Reggae - Kellie Knight and the Daze

SOUTH Golden Beach artist Kellie Knight and the Daze had a great night, receiving two awards: The first one in the Urban / Hip Hop / Funk category for the song Everything is One, and a second award in the World/Reggae section for the track Humanity.

Kellie Knight and The Daze sound like a blend of your favourite retro soul vinyl mixed with future gangsta funk and topped with jazz improvisation, shaken together like a cool martini.

Fronted by the impassioned powerhouse voice of Byron Bay's "sweetheart of soul", Kellie Knight and The Daze weave and meander through the beat with mighty improvisation and then hone a catchy, almost-pop chorus line.

The Daze have cut their teeth in North Coast venues and emerged at some of Australia's finest festivals, including Bluesfest and Adelaide Fringe.

Their debut single Twisted won Jazz Song of the Year at the 2014 Dolphin Awards.

The band is Knight as vocalist and songwriter, Keith Hammond on drums, Paul Brewer on bass, Steve McCleod on guitar and Dan Brown on keys.

Folk and Country - The Mid North

THE Mid North is a five-piece band from Bellingen playing a type of bluegrass that meets old-time folk.

Their music is raw and rustic but of undeniable quality. They combine the spirit of old-time roots music, the energy of the new young string-bands, and the musicianship of bluegrass. Add a touch of jug band and a bit of folk and you get the idea.

This year the band received two awards - in the Country category for their song Undertaker and in Folk section for The Letter. They were also finalists to Album of the Year for Tales of a Mountain.

The band won the Dolphin Award for Album of the Year in 2012.

Heavy and Hard - Krypt

SINCE the creation of Krypt, more than 80 songs have been completed by the Lismore outfit.

Their music goes from older-style death metal to edgy hard rock, but it always features a combination between bone-crushing rhythm and layered harmonies to create a sound that insists you move to it.

Protest - Mt Bill and Mrs

MICHAEL Turner, Bundjalung singer, Bill Smith and Renee Simone teamed with Mereki Rose, Steve Gilbert, Nick Fisher and Bevan Harrington to create a powerful track "in support of Aboriginal people facing the insecurities of their communities being forcibly closed by the Western Australia and Federal governments".

The collaboration included producer Nick Didia who joined forces with the artists at 301 Studios in Byron Bay.

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