The extraordinary talent and output of First Nations music stars will be celebrated at this year’s National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMAs). Today, we unveil the 2021 finalists including The Kid LAROI, Sycco, and Baker Boy, each with three nominations.

    This August 7, the Darwin Amphitheatre will host Australia’s premier First Nations music event, shining its spotlight on a diverse cross-section of 14 nominated First Nations solo artists and 11 First Nations groups deservedly shortlisted across seven categories. From heavy metal to hip-hop, pop, and folk, this year’s nominees prove First Nations music refuses to be pigeonholed and is making its mark on the world stage.

    Sitting alongside The Kid LAROI, Sycco, and Baker Boy are two-time finalists Birdz, Miiesha, and Tia Gostelow, and first-time NIMA nominees Budjerah, J-MILLA, King Stingray, and Chasing Ghosts, as well as last year’s Triple J Unearthed NIMAs winner, JK-47. 2021 has cemented itself as a transformative time for First Nations artists. The international stardom of The Kid LAROI has had a game-changing influence on not only the music industry globally but, most importantly, his Kamilaroi community.

    Collaborating with Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber as well as dominating the Australian music charts by setting a record as the youngest Australian solo artist, The Kid LAROI has reiterated the promising potential of First Nations artists and their pursuit of musical recognition.

    Equally, it has been a momentous year of success: Miiesha’s meteoric rise saw her nominated for five ARIA categories, taking home Best Soul/R&B Release, and score a hattrick at the 2021 Queensland Music Awards (QMAs); Triple J’s 2020 Unearthed Level Up grant winner, Sycco, who has supported the likes of Vera Blue, City Calm Down, and Spacey Jane, claimed QMAs’ 2021 Song of the Year and the Pop category for her dynamic single, Dribble; Fan-favourite Troy Cassar-Daley used music as his medicine in his 11th studio album, The World Today, which tackles mental health, marital breakdown, and the crippling impact of a worldwide pandemic; and Jessica Mauboy recently wrapped filming as a Coach on The Voice Australia and is now focussed on finishing her fifth album. NIMAs’ Creative Director Ben Graetz is thrilled to be able to gather Indigenous communities once again and is honoured to have the calibre of talent in 2021’s finalists.

    “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 Ben.

    “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.”

    Supported by the Territory Government and in association with Darwin Festival, the NIMAs has secured itself as a must-attend event on Darwin’s calendar and for the music industry at large. This starlit night of discovery and reconnection on Larrakia land will showcase one of the strongest musical lineups in the event’s 17-year history with performances by Baker Boy, Miiesha, Electric Fields, King Stingray, Dallas Woods and Kee’Ahn, and Alice Skye.

    Hosted by comedian Steven Oliver (Faboriginal, A Chance Affair, Black Comedy), the celebration of music, song, dance, and the oldest surviving culture in the world will be broadcasted via NITV and online platforms (NITV, Double J, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter), inviting music fans near and far to gather and celebrate the skyrocketing success of these First Nations artists.



    Artist of the Year




    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

    Made For This – JK-47

    Benny Walker – Chosen Line

    Song of the Year

    Baker Boy, Dallas Woods, Sampa The Great – Better


    Birdz – Bagi-la-m Bargan

    Miiesha – Damaged

    The Kid LAROI – Without You

    Sycco – Dribble

    New Talent of the Year


    Beddy Rays

    King Stingray


    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)’

    Indigenous Outreach Projects – Gunbalanya School – Stories of the Land

    Indigenous Outreach Projects – 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