Australian artist Tones and I. Supplied by Sony Music.
Australian artist Tones and I. Supplied by Sony Music.

Breakout star blitzes ARIA nominations

IT IS officially the year of breakout pop artist Tones and I, with her smash hit Dance Monkey topping the 2019 ARIA Awards leader board with eight nominations.

In just over a year, the infectiously unique 19-year-old artist has gone from quitting her retail job to busk in Byron Bay to holding No.1 on the ARIA singles chart for a historic 10 weeks and also claim No.1 in the UK last week.

Her rags-to-riches story, from living in her van while building audiences of hundreds busking on the streets of Byron to performing in front of 100,000 at the AFL Grand Final, is both a tale of doing it old school and finding a global audience in the streaming era.

She has more than 300 million streams, has hit No.1 in seven other countries around the world and topped the Global Shazam charts, signalling there are still more fans discovering her music each week.

But it's not just Dance Monkey earworming its way into the pop Zeitgeist, with Never Seen The Rain and her debut single Johnny Run Away also bouncing around the top 50.

While Tones represents the future of Australian pop, soul blues band Teskey Brothers prove there is still a heartland for rock here, winning seven nominations for their second album Run Home Slow.

Equal with seven nominations are hip hop heroes Hilltop Hoods, currently on tour in Europe, whose Great Expanse album and tour cemented their place as the country's biggest band this year. Both are up for the coveted Album of the Year award.

More breakthrough female artists were recognised for their contributions to the Australian soundtrack in 2019, with the sweet-singing, tough-talking Thelma Plum and Julia Jacklin each receiving six nominations.

If you needed evidence that Paul Kelly is the GOAT, a truly remarkable musical superstar who can do anything, he has made ARIA history this year with three different records nominated across three different genres in his clutch of five nominations.

Thirteen Ways To Look At Birds, his classical collaboration with James Ledger, won Best Classical Album at the nominations event in Sydney on Thursday where the artisan and fine arts trophies are given out ahead of the televised awards on November 27.

His Nature record is up for the Best Adult Contemporary gong while his Live At The Opera House album has been nominated in the Best Blues and Roots category.

Last year's ARIA awards stars Amy Shark and Dean Lewis are carry-over champions in 2019, each receiving four nominations including Song of the Year.

And Guy Sebastian, host of the 2019 ARIA Awards, and the artist most likely robbed of a No.1 for his brilliant song Choir, has received four nominations, including Best Pop Release.

After several years of frustration among the hip hop and r&b communities about being lumped into the Best Urban Release, they each got their own categories this year with Best Hip Hop and Best Soul/R&B Release.

The 2019 ARIA Awards will be held at the Star in Sydney on November 27.