BARKAA, Baker Boy and more among finalists at National Indigenous Music Awards

BARKAA, Baker Boy and more among finalists at National Indigenous Music Awards

BARKAA, Thelma Plum and Baker Boy lead the nominations while Thelma, King Stingray, Emma Donovan & 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.

The extraordinary talent and output of First Nations music stars will once again be celebrated at this year’s National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMAs).

More than 20 talented artists have been revealed as the finest in First Nations music, with winners to be chosen under the stars at Darwin Amphitheatre on August 6. Alongside the list of worthy finalists, the ceremony’s live performance lineup has also been revealed, with more artists to be announced soon.

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

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 Yolngu man Baker Boy for his debut album, Gela, and its track ‘My Mind’. He’s also up 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 & the Putbacks, Birdz, Dallas Woods, Archie Roach, Tasman Keith and Tilly Tjala Thomas. Xavier Rudd, Jem Cassar-Daley, Lil Kootsie, Dobby and dameeeela are receiving their first-ever nominations.

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.

With this massive celebration of Indigenous music 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.

“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 & the Putbacks. This year is all about coming together and celebrating as one big community.”

2022 National Indigenous Music Awards Nominations

Artist of the Year
The 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
Ball and Chain – Xavier Rudd

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
Lil Kootsie
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

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