BARKAA, Thelma Plum and Baker Boy lead the nominations while Thelma, King Stingray, Emma Donovan and the Putbacks, Birdz and Fred Leone will lead a killer Darwin awards show proudly supported by Amazon Music – the first live NIMAs ceremony since 2019.

Finalists for this year’s coveted National Indigenous Music Awards have been chosen, along with the ceremony’s live performance lineup, with more artists to be announced soon. More than twenty talented artists have been nominated as the finest in First Nations music, with winners to be chosen under the stars at Darwin Amphitheatre on August 6.

After two years of live performances canceled, this massive celebration of Indigenous music is back to celebrate in person with the community. Already announced artists Thelma Plum and King Stingray will be joined onstage by a slew of deadly talent from Emma Donovan & the Putbacks, Birdz & Fred Leone, Yirrmal, and J-MILLA.

Leading this year’s finalist list is BARKAA, the Malyangapa and Barkindji woman and fast-rising star with four NIMA nominations. Known for her hard-hitting rap tracks, BARKAA has earnt candidacy for her songs ‘King Brown’ and ‘Black Matriarchy’, and the title of New Talent of the Year.

Following with three nominations are Gamilaraay artist Thelma Plum, for her stellar new single, ‘Backseat of My Mind,’ and Yolngu man Baker Boy for his debut album, Gela. Each has also been nominated for Artist of the Year.

Amongst the brightest lights in the country’s performance industry, the nominee list also includes previous finalists and winners The Kid Laroi, Jessica Mauboy, Electric Fields, King Stingray, Miiesha, Mo’Ju, Emma Donovan, Birdz, Dallas Woods, Archie Roach, Tasman Keith and Tilly Tjala Thomas.

Jem Cassar-Daley, Kootsie Don, Dobby and Dameeeela are receiving their first ever nominations. Listen to the nominees playlist now, on Amazon Music.

They’ll each be in contention for the coveted titles of Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Film Clip of the Year, New Talent of the Year and Community Clip of the Year in what was a huge year for First Nations art.

With COVID-19 forcing the postponement of last year’s live event in Darwin, the NIMAs partnered with triple j and its First Nations show, Blak Out, to create a two-hour special. This year, for the first time since 2019, the ceremony will be able to safely take place in-person.

“After a two year hiatus it’s very exciting to be bringing the NIMAs back to the Darwin Amphitheatre on Larrakia Country,” said NIMA Creative Director Ben Graetz, “I’m thrilled to see such an extraordinary list of finalists this year and cannot wait for live performances from some of our most powerful First Nations musicians such as Thelma Plum and Emma Donovan. This year is all about coming together and celebrating as one big community.”

Tickets for the event are on sale now, via the ticket link at The NIMAs are supported by the Northern Territory Government and Australia Council for the Arts in association with Darwin Festival.


Artist of the Year

Kid Laroi

Jessica Mauboy

Baker Boy

Electric Fields

Thelma Plum

King Stingray

Song of the Year

Backseat of My Mind – Thelma Plum

Made For Silence – Miiesha

Milkumana – King Stingray

Sometime – Mo Ju

King Brown – Barkaa

Album of the Year

Baker Boy – Gela

Emma Donovan & The Putbacks – Under These Streets

Jem Cassar-Daley – I Don’t Know Who to Call

Birdz – Legacy

Dallas Woods – Julie’s Boy

Archie Roach – My songs 1989 – 2021

Film Clip of the Year

Love Too Soon – Tasman Keith

King Brown – Barkaa

Blak Matriarchy – Barkaa

My Mind – Baker Boy

Automatic – Jessica Mauboy

New Talent of the Year


Jem Cassar-Daley

Kootsie Don

Tilly Tjala Thomas



Community Clip of the Year

Koori Mob – Our Country, Our Life – Desert Pea Media

Gumbaynggirr Collective – Through the Smoke – Desert Pea Media

Doomadgee, QLD – Where We Wanna Be – Indigenous Outreach Project

Numbulwar, NT – Loud & Proud – Indigenous Outreach Project

Ballarat, VIC – Don’t Give Up On Yourself – Indigenous Outreach Project