Culture

The ARIAs Have Been Criticised For Snubbing Australian R&B Artists

"Bang in the middle of an Australian R&B renaissance, and the ARIAs can only find four nominations."

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The ARIA music awards have been criticised for not giving the same attention to their soul and R&B nominees as other categories.

A list of contenders for the 2022 ceremony was published on Wednesday, and while five projects minimum are listed per category, the soul and R&B genre only has four.

The Best Soul and R&B Release nominees this year are Budjerah’s¬†Conversations¬†(Warner Music Australia), Emma Donovan & The Putbacks’¬†Under These Streets (Cooking Vinyl Australia/The Orchard), KIAN’s¬†SHINE (EMI Music Australia), and Vanessa Amorosi’s¬†City Of Angels¬†(Scream Louder Records/MGM).

“In such a great year of R&B/soul releases, being unable to find a fifth nomination is simply lazy,” argued Hooked R&B, who pointed out that only albums made the shortlist, missing singles like in other categories. “If both singles and full-length projects are eligible for nomination, then how about using the opportunity to promote fresh, upcoming talent in the R&B/soul space?”

Rapper Tasmin Keith also advocated for smaller or independent singers and musicians who aren’t represented by the big labels nor make commercial charts last month.¬†“I’m content with no nomination — I was aware of this weeks ago,” said Keith of being overlooked in both the Best Hip Hop Release and Album Of The Year categories. “This isnt ego.”

“A discussion needs to be had at ARIA and across the entire industry. Artists should have the same opportunity in these moments as those with the big budget,” he said on Instagram. “Judge the art, not chart.”

Over 60 percent of Australian adults are using a music streaming service, according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

“Pania, CD, Anieszka, Chanel Loren, Lara Andallo, Olivia Escuyos, Elle Eliades, Lauren Greco, Billymaree, Anfa Rose, R.L. King, Shreta, $MO, BOY SODA, Natasha Bianca, Youngn Lipz, Kye, Miiesha, Maya Hirasedo, and countless others were snubbed as a result of an outdated method,” said Hooked R&B. “It is time for a change.”

The 2022 ARIAs did, however, feature 35 nominations of 20 Indigenous artists, while 54 percent of all nominations are from independents.”It has always been ARIA‚Äôs mission to create opportunities for Australian music to be heard in all its forms, by all those who create it,” a¬†ARIA spokesperson told Junkee, saying only eight nominations entered for consideration this year.

“The ARIA Awards are a celebration of the best performing artists and music from each year, whose eligibility criteria is annually reviewed by members¬†to ensure fair and equal representation, as evidenced by the independent artists who comprise 73 percent of this year‚Äôs eligible entries.”

The ARIA Music Awards 2022 are taking place on Thursday, November 24.