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:: Spotlight :: 2003 ARIA Awards

By: Carmine Pascuzzi


The annual gathering of music industry people occurred for the 17th annual Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) Awards. Again held at the Sydney Superdome, the ceremony was well produced and, although the results were mostly predictable, a good time was had by all, until the bell sounded for the end of the awards and on to the after-party at the Superdome function rooms and hall. The fashions were pretty disappointing this year. Nothing to really drool over this time as far as baring of flesh and creative, glamorous designs. Delta Goodrem did look terrific in her Lisa Ho creation and overseas guest LeAnn Rimes had some knowledge of what should be worn for such occasions, and looked good also.

As far as bells go, certainly there was an imaginary one ringing in the ear for Central Station figurehead Joe Palumbo. As I was wrapping things up in the media room, I can only go on second-hand information as to an incident that occurred as people made their way out of the awards ceremony. I spoke to a couple of well-known managers who rejoiced in the fact that Joe had the will to verbally and physically abuse Sony boss Denis Handlin. I understand that bottles and glasses were shattered in the exchange, so much so that a young Sony artist almost copped glass in the face. I believe it had something to do with the name Central Station being used in the context of Sony playstation. Anyway, it was the reaction of other industry people that was interesting. They didn't mind the confrontation at all. Anyway, it was good to catch up with some of the Sydney identities and once again the producers of the ARIAs can be pleased with the performances and event production. Well done to Mark Pope and his team.

I spoke to Candice Alley afterwards and she was thrilled to have opened the show. Interesting to see that one of her backing singers was her Universal label mate Anita Spring. Amanda Easton also provided additional vocals. The after-party saw Alex Lloyd's entourage enjoy a worthy celebration after Alex picking up the Best Male Vocalist prize again. It was good to have a brief chat with John Coghill of Powderfinger, about the band’s album and upcoming schedule, before he was whisked away by his overly protective record company rep, who was keen not to see him relax in conversation with me and another acquaintance. Oh, what could have happened! I don't recall this record company rep being around when I got to know John and the band at the time of their Double Allergic album. People can be a bit precious. It was noticed by most that were there because the action was quite conspicuous.

John Farnham and Glenn Wheatley deservedly lapped up the celebrations after a momentous night for John. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame and also won Best Adult Contemporary Release for The Last Time. He also closed the show with a rousing version of “You're The Voice”, the song, which he later told me, was a major turning point in his long career.

Others who enjoyed the occasion were first-time nominee Sarah Blasko, multi-award winners The Waifs, Amiel, Slava Grigoryan, Something For Kate, and the Rogue Traders. The Rogue Traders won the Best Dance Release for their song “One Of My Kind”, a reworking of the old INXS classic “Need You Tonight”. They were genuinely thrilled at winning, and they're now working on a follow-up album in the New Year. Classical guitarist Slava Grigoryan was again recognised for his exceptional talent by winning the Best Classical Release as part of Saffire - the Australian Guitar Quartet.

Of course, one must recognise the achievements of Delta Goodrem for her last twelve months. Delta was desperate to attend these ARIA Awards following regular treatment for Hodgkin's Disease. She got the all clear to go, and duly won nine awards, including two publicly voted awards. Although she was not 100% due to her regular treatment, she presented beautifully and showed her emotion when surprise guest Darren Hayes presented his own tribute to Delta by singing her hit song “Lost Without You”. Delta’s album “Innocent Eyes” will surely continue to fly high in the charts until at least Christmas.

After the release of a fine rock record “Vulture Street”, Powderfinger won multiple ARIA Awards. The band has grown to be hugely popular in Australia and the next step is to receive worthy recognition outside Australia. They headed to Paris immediately after the ARIAs and are doing promo before returning for a national tour in late November/December. Next year will see more overseas touring for Powderfinger.

Once again, we should look at how well other artists did in gaining nominations. Not everybody can win, of course, but plaudits should go to The John Butler Trio, Something For Kate, The Sleepy Jackson (they also left for overseas immediately after the awards), Amiel, Wicked Beat Sound System, 1200 Techniques, The Mess Hall, silverchair, Kylie Minogue, and others for the good work of 2002/2003.


Album of the Year Vulture Street, Powderfinger

Single of the Year Born to Try, Delta Goodrem

Best Male Artist Coming Home, Alex Lloyd

Best Female Artist Innocent Eyes, Delta Goodrem

Best Group Vulture Street, Powderfinger

Best Rock Album Vulture Street, Powderfinger

Best Pop Release Innocent Eyes, Delta Goodrem

Best Dance Artist Release One of My Kind, Rogue Traders

Best Independent Release Up All Night, The Waifs

Best New Artist – Album Innocent Eyes, Delta Goodrem

Best New Artist – Single Born To Try, Delta Goodrem

Best Adult Contemporary Album The Last Time, John Farnham

Best Original Soundtrack Album Australian Rules, Mick Harvey

Best Blues & Roots Album Up All Night, The Waifs

Best Cast/Show Album Long Way to the Top Live, Various

Best Country Album Golden Road, Keith Urban

Best World Music Album Absynthe, Monsieur Camembert

Best Classical Album Saffire – The Australian Saffire Guitar Quartet

Best Jazz Album Mikrokosmos, Andrea Keller

Best Children’s Album Celebrate, Hi-5

Best Comedy Release From Us to Youse, Merrick & Rosso

Highest Selling Album Innocent Eyes, Delta Goodrem
Highest Selling Single Born To Try, Delta Goodrem

Best Cover Art Vulture Street - Powderfinger, Steve Gorrow, Revolution Designs

Engineer of the Year Up All Night - The Waifs, Chris Thompson

Producer of the Year Up All Night – The Waifs, Chris Thompson / The Waifs

Best Video Do it with Madonna - The Androids, Bart Borghesi

Delta Goodrem also received the Channel V Oz Artist of the Year and Video Hits Music Video of the Year.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame - John Farnham


David Campbell
“I have a new single out early next year followed by an album”

Chris Cheney (The Living End)
“I hope that The Sleepy Jackson wins an award.”

Candice Alley
“I’m very excited about opening the show tonight.”

Jeremy Gregory
“I’ve just got back from Los Angeles working with Macy Gray. And major producers who worked with D’Angelo and Luther Vandross.”

Joe Hanson (Grinspoon)
“This is our year!” (Tongue-in-cheek)
“We’ll have a new album early in the New Year.”

Tiffani Wood (ex-Bardot)
“I’m still working on my solo album. It will be out in February.”

Sophie Monk
“It took one and a half hours to do my hair.”

Bernard Fanning (Powderfinger)
“We’re not nervous; we’re performing.”


THE ROGUE TRADERS (after winning Best Dance Release)

“It’s fantastic to win. It’s the first time we’ve even been to the ARIA Awards. The first people we had to thank were INXS. I can’t tell you how terrifying it was the first time we received the original tapes of INXS’s ‘Need You Tonight’. There was such an enormous responsibility.”

“The first time we were in the studio we played Michael Hutchence’s voice cold (as it was recorded all those years ago). It was very spooky. We said a prayer hoping to do a good job. Here we are now.”

“We’ll be back in the studio soon to work on a new album.”

MICHAEL CHUGG/COL JOYE/AMANDA PELMAN (after winning Best Cast/Show recording for “A Long Way To The Top”)

Michael Chugg took over proceedings before the MC could make any opening remarks about the award win.

“Keep the noise down at the back” (Michael was referring to the bunch of photographers milling around trying to get shots of another winner).

“The only ARIAs I haven’t been to is when Channel 9 did it a couple of years ago. I stayed home in protest because I didn’t believe Channel 10 deserved to lose it. Whilst one of my best friends is Peter Rix, the move to the young gun-hos like Mark Pope, etc has taken the ARIAs to another level.”

“I’m very proud of the dream that Billy (Thorpe) and I had, and that Kevin Jacobsen embraced. The top three tours in Australia in 2002 were Kylie Minogue, John Farnham, and Long Way To The Top. We’re very proud because a lot of those kids out there tonight now know where it all started.”

“We’d been thinking about following on the project into the 1980s and 1990s. But we felt that it doesn’t have enough history as yet. Many of those artists are still performing in pubs every other night. We’ll have to wait a couple more years in order to think about that. Tonight is testament to some incredible new talent. There are some amazing acts and the ARIAs show how wonderful Australian music really is.”

THE WAIFS (multiple award winners)

“We’re looking forward to doing some more writing and having another album out next year.”

“We’re happy making our own albums on our own terms, when we want to.”

JOHN FARNHAM (after being inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame)

“I’m very proud to still be working with the most amazing musicians.” (reference to his band)

John sang the chorus of ‘You’re The Voice’ for the media.

“As far as turning points in my career, it’s been so long and varied. I’ve had so many serious turning points. The version I did of “Help” in being accepted, was gratifying. It wasn’t accepted by radio at first. That put me in a situation of going out working it. Obviously, the ‘Whispering Jack’ album was an enormous turning point for me as an artist and as a human being. The Little River Band was a huge turning point as well. I don’t think that if I hadn’t spent the time I did with them as a singer, I wouldn’t have toured as extensively as I did with those guys in the USA. That was an enormous experience.”

“There are so many people out there presuming to give advice to talented people. If you’re going to do anything in life, do it as well as you can, and walk away from it knowing you put 100% into it. I’m not the greatest singer in the world, but I can sing in tune. I’m lucky to have been put in a position where I’m able to perform and work under the best possible circumstances. Frankly, that comes down to the people around me. My record producer, Ross Fraser, is one person whom I trust for his great talent. Glenn Wheatley, as you know, is someone I have the utmost admiration for. He knows exactly what I’m about and I can sit back with the knowledge that he can make very important decisions for me. He does what he does; I do what I do.”

“What pissed me off today was that some idiot wrote in the paper about the ARIAs: Here we are, there’s nothing wrong with masturbation but why do we do it in public. We are trying to build a credible industry in this country. Just support this industry! We have some really talented people in the country. Give them a shot!”

DELTA GOODREM (multiple award winner)

“I’d dreamt of coming to the ARIAs, especially watching them last year. I just said to my family that I’ve got to work a bit harder.”

“It’s so important to be recognised by your peers. There are some great artists nominated, like Grinspoon, Powderfinger, Amiel, etc.”

“I must concentrate on getting better for the next few months. I can’t wait to get back into it.”

Delta was keen to answer as many questions as possible despite an attempt by the MC to wind things up.

ALEX LLOYD (after winning Best Male Artist)

“This last album is the most mature record and the best production I’ve ever done on any record.”

POWDERFINGER (multiple award winner)

“We try not to worry about what people expect. It gets you nowhere.”

“As far as young Australian bands coming through, there’s a bit of a backlash against trendy bands like The Vines, Jet, etc, but they’re pretty awesome. They write awesome songs. There’s a young band that’s fronted by a girl called Suze De Marchi, and they’re called INXS.”

“We’ll continue to try and write music that’s soul music – appealing to people’s hearts.

“Delta Goodrem is incredibly talented and a really decent person. We wish her the best of luck.”

:: ARIA Awards 2003
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