Celebrating the music created by mob, the National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMAs) is back for 2021 and has announced their list of deadly finalists.

With 14 First Nations solo artists nominated and 11 First Nations groups shortlisted across seven award categories, the NIMAs will take place at Darwin Amphitheatre on August 7.

“This year, as we focus on healing and reflection, we have the wonderful opportunity to reconnect as a community to discover and celebrate the magic of music from both up-and-coming and established First Nation artists,” said NIMAs Creative Director Ben Graetz.

“The finalists are some of the most talented musicians across the country and the world, and we are proud to be able to provide a platform for their musical craft to be recognised.”

Finalists range from the genres of hip-hop, metal, folk and pop and are all making their mark on both the Australian and international music scenes.

Amongst the finalists are The Kid LAROI, Sycco, Baker Boy, Birdz, Miiesha and Tia Gostelow. The NIMAs also sees first-time nominees in Budjerah, J-MILLA, King Stingray, JK-47 and Chasing Ghosts.

Kamilaroi artist The Kid LAROI has repeatedly hit the charts, most recently with his global hit Without You. Collaborating with big names like Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, The Kid LAROI has also made history as the youngest Australian solo artist to hit the Australian music charts.

After releasing her debut album Ngaaringu in 2020, Miiesha has continued her rise to fame. Nominated for five ARIA categories and taking out Best Soul/R&B Release, the artist also took home three awards at the 2021 Queensland Music Awards.

Household names Jessica Mauboy and Troy Cassar-Daley are also NIMA finalists. Cassar-Daley released his 11th studio album The World Today earlier this year and Mauboy is currently focusing on pulling together her fifth album after recently supporting Midnight Oil on their Makarrata Project album.

Taking place on Larrakia Country in Darwin, the NIMAs are supported by the Northern Territory Government and are in association with the Darwin Festival.

The evening will be hosted by comedian Steven Oliver and see performances from Baker Boy, Miiesha, Electric Fields, King Stingray, Dallas Woods and Kee’Ahn and Alice Skye.

See all of the finalists below:

Artist of the Year

  • Sycco
  • Birdz
  • Miiesha
  • Baker Boy
  • The Kid LAROI
  • Jessica Mauboy

Album of the Year

  • Tia Gostelow – Chrysalis
  • The Kid LAROI – F*ck Love
  • Leah Flanagan – Colour by Number
  • JK-47 – Made For This
  • Benny Walker – Chosen Line

Song of the Year

  • Baker Boy, Dallas Woods, Sampa The Great – Better Days
  • Birdz – Bagi-la-m Bargan
  • Miiesha – Damaged
  • The Kid LAROI – Without You
  • Sycco –Dribble

New Talent of the Year

  • Beddy Rays
  • King Stingray
  • Budjerah
  • Chasing Ghosts

Film Clip of the Year

  • Budjerah – Higher
  • Baker Boy – Ride ft. Yirrmal
  • Troy Cassar-Daley – Back On Country
  • Sycco – My Ways
  • Tia Gostelow – Two Lovers

Community Clip of the Year

  • Kakadu Collective and Victor Rostron – Mayali
  • Dunghutti community in South West Rocks – Fig
  • Tree Mob – ‘Barrunba (Dreaming)’
  • Gunbalanya School – Stories of the Land
  • Gunbalanya School – Talk About Emotions
  • Students of Peppimenarti School – Stand Strong

Indigenous Language Award of the Year

  • Guwanbal Gurruwiwi and Netanela Mizrahii – The Djari Project
  • Shellie Morris and Jason Durrurrnga – Dharuk Gurtha
  • Garrangali Band – Tongues of the Fire
  • Stuart Joel Nuggett – I Am That Man/Ngaaya-Baaya
  • Stuart Joel Nuggett – Monsoon/Kuyubulu


By Rachael Knowles