This year’s BIGSOUND was one for the record books.
Not only did hundreds of rising Australian artists descend upon Brisbane to play upwards of 300 shows over four days, but Levi’s also launched the richest prize in Australian music history, the Levi’s® Music Prize. The inaugural winner of this year’s prize was Perth sing-songwriter, Stella Donnelly, who released her debut EP, Thrush Metal, earlier this year.
With so many incredible new additions to the Australian music scene all in one place, we teamed up Levi’s® to get the dirt on a range of issues stirring up the industry right now. We spoke to a bunch of artists, including Ziggy Ramo, Alex the Astronaut, POW! Negro, and Stella Donnelly, tackling a range of topics, including diversity, equality and community in the Australian music industry.
2017’s BIGSOUND lineup boasted more female-fronted acts than ever before, offering women an equal share of a typically male-dominated stage. Donnelly herself reiterated the importance of gender diversity in the music industry, recounting the time a friend of hers who was DJing “printed out a shirt that said ‘TOKEN’ because she was the only female on the entire lineup.” Sydney songwriter Alex the Astronaut agrees that it’s a huge issue, as well as racial diversity, saying both need work and that “everyone needs to be conscious of it and realise there are issues surrounding that at the moment.”
With a lineup dominated by female and Indigenous artists, BIGSOUND took a giant leap toward achieving equality and diversity in the scene, and the support the musicians showered upon one another was really something to behold. 19-year-old singer-songwriter Maddy Jane, from Tasmania, explained the importance of community in the industry, saying, “As much as it’s hard for us to get to the rest of the world, we’ve got some awesome stuff happening here, and you can be huge in Australia before the world knows anything about you, and I think that’s pretty cool—we’ve got our own system.”
To hear more of what all the BIGSOUND artists had to say, watch the full film above. Then head here to find out how you could win $25k in the second round of the Levi’s Music Prize—entries close Dec 9.