Last week, professionals from across the Australian music industry united to celebrate the 2022 ARIA Awards, “the flagship event of the Australian music calendar”.
A lot went down, but amidst all of the highlights for this year, there was one moment that has remained on JMC’s mind.
This occurred when Illy made one very poignant fashion statement whilst presenting the award for Best Soul/R&B Release. The statement in question was a black t-shirt worn by the Australian rapper, boldly emblazoned with a list of emerging Aussie R&B artists - none of whom had been included in the night’s awards proceedings.
Illy’s t-shirt was a perfectly timed and expertly delivered gesture to highlight the breadth of Aussie R&B talent that had gone unrecognised (in this instance). But what really hit home for JMC is the fact that two of the artists included on the shirt, Chanel Loren and PANIA, are recent music graduates who are each solidifying their place in the R&B world.
In an industry that is constantly in a state of reinvention, much like the music that is its commodity, it brings JMC immense pride and a renewed sense of purpose to see the names of alumni in places where a need for change is highlighted. For any music industry body, especially in a country so rich in cultural diversity like Australia, widening the lense of what may be acknowledged to more fully encompass and celebrate the broad spectrum of musical styles existing here should be a no-brainer.
So, the 2022 ARIA Awards— Hooked R&B (@HookedRNB) October 12, 2022
How come the other genres get 5 nominees but R&B only gets 4? Why aren't you showcasing all the incredible R&B/Soul singles from the past year?
The Australian R&B/Soul community deserves better. It is time for a change pic.twitter.com/bwikQjRNOP
For JMC, this occurrence represents our presence as an education provider on the creative frontier. It tells the tale of how JMC alumni are co-authoring new chapters for Australia’s creative sector and shows that the attitudes and values fostered on-campus are manifesting themselves in the real world in ways that matter.
JMC has always been fiercely proud of the individual creative pursuits of each student, and have always sought to foster creativity and push the boundaries in all areas of the creative industries. Most recently, the addition of new music production courses and contributions to the resurgence of Australia’s R&B and country music scenes stand as testament to the Academy’s emphasis on education for evolution over repetition.
It's why JMC's 40+ years of educating new generations of Aussie creators continues to endure.
Words by Clare Neal