With five awards, Elsy Wameyo was the big winner at the 2022 South Australia Music (SAM) Awards, held Thursday night (Nov. 17) in the capital, Adelaide.
The Kenya-born hip-hop artist and producer entered the annual ceremony with six nominations, converting wins for best solo artist, best song (“River Nile”), best release (Nilotoc EP), best music video (“Nilotic,” shot with Richard Coburn), and, earlier in the week, collected an industry award by snaring best studio engineer/producer.
“Elsy in recent years has become one of South Australia’s biggest musical exports and this is just another achievement on a long list of awards and accolades for her,” remarks MusicSA CEO Christine Schloithe.
“Wameyo, who recently supported Adelaide’s own Hilltop Hoods on their national tour and performed at some of the biggest festivals in the country including Dark Mofo, Vivid, and WOMADelaide, along with being billed to play this year’s Falls Festival,” adds Schloithe, “is the perfect example of how to carve a burgeoning musical career from Adelaide and we are excited to watch Elsy’s career grow.”
If Thursday feels like a blur, Wameyo has good reason.
Earlier in the day, she won Unearthed artist of the year at the 18th annual J Awards.
Also at the SAM Awards, Electric Fields took home a brace of prizes, for best group in the major awards, and the “People’s Choice Award” for pop artist of the year.
Fellow First Nations artist Tilly Tjala Thomas made history as the inaugural winner of best regional artist, and folky hip-hop act Marlon x Rulla was named best Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artist.
Meanwhile, punk rockers LOLA won for best new artist.
More than 30 awards were presented on the night, with People’s Choice Awards going to Teenage Joans (punk); Motez (electronic artist), Ukulele Death Squad (folk), We Move Like Giants (hip-hop), and The Shaolin Afronauts (Jazz).
Performers included Dem Mob, Nancy Bates, Tilly Tjala Thomas, and Wanderer, and broadcaster/author Jane Gazzo was emcee.
Awards are split into three categories.
The “Major Awards” are selected by a music industry panel, including Triple J host Declan Byrne and rocker Sarah McLeod; the “Industry Awards” focus on the roles within the industry that are adjacent to bands and artists, including festivals, venues and managers; and the People’s Choice Awards invite the wider Australian music community to select their favourite South Australian artist.
An initiative of trade body MusicSA, and supported by the state government, the SAM Awards moved into the Hindley Street Music Hall for the first time.
HSMH, a venture of Secret Sounds, LN, local live entertainment specialists Five Four Entertainment, and the team behind Brisbane’s Fortitude Music Hall and The Triffid, had its grand opening in September, following a $6 million renovation.
“The South Australian Music Industry, led by MusicSA, is an incredibly thriving community full of talented artists across and an industry we will continue to support,” comments Premier Peter Malinauskas.
2022 SAM AWARDS – MAJOR AWARD WINNERS:
Elsy Wameyo – River Nile
BEST NEW ARTIST
BEST REGIONAL ARTIST
Tilly Tjala Thomas
BEST ABORIGINAL OR TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER ARTIST
MARLON X RULLA
Elsy Wameyo – ‘Nilotic
SAM AWARDS – INDUSTRY WINNERS
Wundenberg’s Recording Studios
BEST STUDIO ENGINEER/ PRODUCER
BEST LIVE TECHNICIAN
BEST MAJOR FESTIVAL / EVENT
Spin Off Festival
BEST SMALL FESTIVAL / EVENT
Sian Walden (Little Acorn Music)
BEST REGIONAL VENUE / ACTIVATION
Big Easy Radio
BEST COVER ART
Paloma Ellery (SONS OF ZÖKU – SÜN)
BEST MUSIC VIDEO
Elsy Wameyo & Richard Coburn (Elsy Wameyo – Nilotic)
BEST MUSIC EDUCATOR
Adelaide Youth Orchestras
EMILY BURROWS AWARD – APRA AMCOS
Neville Clark Award
Thessa Burdon (SAE)
Lucinda Machin (TAFE)
UNESCO COLLABORATION REPORT
Adelaide Guitar Festival: Origination
MUSICSA COMMUNITY AWARD
Northern Sound System
PEOPLE’S CHOICE WINNERS
BLUES AND ROOTS
Cal Williams Jr.
Ella & Sienna
SONS of ZÖKU
Ukulele Death Squad
We Move Like Giants
The Shaolin Afronauts