Finalists announced for 2023 National Indigenous Music Awards

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By Ben Francis

Budjerah and Wildfire Manwurrk lead the nominations for this year’s event on Saturday 12 August, with hosts Fred Leone and Elaine Crombie.SHARETWEETSHAREEMAILCOMMENTS

Finalists for the honourable National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMA) have been announced today, with 22 of Australia’s finest First Nations artists up for awards at the ceremony on August 12.

The night’s festivities, sponsored by Amazon Music, will be broadcast on NITV from Larrakia Country at the Darwin Amphitheatre. The awards will be hosted by none other than artist, cultural leader, and Butchulla Songman Fred Leone alongside returning NIMA host, Yunkuntjatjarra, Warrigmay, South Sea and German-descended actress, singer and writer Elaine Crombie.

As this year’s television partners, National Indigenous Television (NITV) and their expert First Nations broadcast team will be on-ground to help spread the celebration to the furthest corners of the nation with the broadcast on NITV screening nationally on Sunday 13 August at 7.30pm.


The crew will capture every moment from the moving acceptance speeches to the exclusive performances from the likes of Thelma Plum, Barkaa, Budjerah and so many more.

Head of Entertainment, Events and Sport, NITV and proud Gooreng Gooreng man, Adam Manovic, says, “Music has always been an important part of our people’s Cultures and we’re thrilled to host the NIMAs on NITV again for another, broadcasting black excellence to screens across Australia. We look forward to celebrating the incredible talents of our First Nations music community once again.”

Leading this year’s finalists list is ARIA-winning singer songwriter Budjerah, up for Artist of the Year, Song of the Year and Film Clip of the Year. This adds to his already impressive list of accolades from 2023 – having toured the country as support for superstar Ed Sheeran, performed at Grand Central Park in New York, and released the massive hit single, ‘Therapy’. Budjerah will also grace the stage with a performance on the evening.

With an equal number of hats in the ring, up-and-comers Wildfire Manwurrk are nominated for New Talent of the Year, Film Clip of the Year and Community Clip of the Year. Hailing from Arnhem Land, the group are a melting pot of thrashing guitars, traditional songlines, and the stories they face in a world of culture and change. They’re fast gaining a reputation as one of the best live acts in the country.

“We have walked a long hard road to get here over many years and feel so happy to be recognised for our music at this national level. To be recognised as one of Australia’s important Indigenous voices means everything to us,” say finalists Wildfire Manwurrk.

“Our music tells our story in our language, one of the oldest languages in this world. That language, it will help you connect to where you are standing. It will help us come together, where we learn from each other.”

NIMA co-host Fred Leone will also give the audience, both under the stars and at home, a special night performance, with a worldwide premiere of his latest single ‘Yirimi Gundir’.

Finalist for Artist of the Year and one of Australia’s most successful artists, Jessica Mauboy, will also be on stage to present an award on the evening.

Tickets to the Darwin Amphitheatre ceremony on August 12 are available from

Watch the NIMAs on NITV and SBS On Demand on Sunday August 13 at 7.30pm. The NIMAs will also broadcast on SBS Viceland on Friday 18 August at 11.05pm and on SBS on Saturday 19 August at 9am.


Artist of the Year
Jessica Mauboy
Kobie Dee
The Kid Laroi

New Talent of the Year
Royston Noell
Wildfire Manwurrk
Marlon X Rulla

Film Clip of the Year
Wildfire Manwurrk – ‘Lonely Bangardi’
Budjerah – ‘Therapy’
A.B. Original – ‘King Billy Cokebottle’
Thelma Plum – ‘The Brown Snake’
King Stingray – ‘Let’s Go’

Song of the Year

Bumpy – ‘Hide and Seek’
Budjerah – ‘Therapy’
Miiesha – ‘Skin Deep’
King Stingray – ‘Let’s Go’
Yirrmal ft. Dami Im – ‘Promised Land’

Album of the Year

Thelma Plum – Meanjin (EP) 
Ngulmiya – Self-titled 
Mo’Ju – Oro Plata Mata 
Miiesha – Smoke & Mirrors 
Beddy Rays – Self-titled

Community Clip of the Year

Wildfire Manwurrk – ‘Mararradj’
Utju Community – ‘Tjamuku Tjukurpa Kanyila’
Lil Youngins – ‘The Problem’
Indigenous Outreach Project w/ Gunyangara, Yirrkala & Dhalinbuy, NT ft. Yirrmal – ‘Indigenous Outreach Projects, Gunyangara, Yirrkala & Dhalinbuy ft. Yirrmal’
Garrthalala Community – ‘Garrthalala Manikay’
Dunghutti Community in Kempsey NSW – ‘The Black Truth – There’s Still Hope’


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