Eighteen-year-old Kamilaroi artist, The Kid Laroi, has taken home Artist of the Year at the 2021 National Indigenous Music Awards on Sunday.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 NIMAs were hosted in collaboration with Triple J’s First Nations show, Blak Out.

The ceremony was broadcast across Triple J, Double J, Triple J Unearthed and all First Nations community radio stations via The National Indigenous Radio Service.

The evening was hosted by Yuin rapper Nooky, and Triple J presenter Karla Ranby.

Artist of the Year, Charlton Kenneth Jeffrey Howard, better known as The Kid Laroi, hails from Waterloo, in Sydney. The young star has dominated music charts across the globe, most recently with his single, Stay, which features pop royalty Justice Bieber.

Stay sat at US No. 1 on Billboard’s Pop Airplay Chart for 10 weeks.

Album of the Year was awarded to Bundjalung rapper JK-47 for Made for This and Aṉangu/Torres Strait Islander artist Miiesha took home Song of the Year for her single Damaged.

19-year-old Coodjinburra artist Budjerah won Best New Talent of the Year and Baker Boy was awarded Best Film Clip of the Year for Ride ft. Yirrmal.

Guwanbal Gurruwiwi and Netanela Mizrahi scored Indigenous Language Award of the Year for The Djari Project, while Community Clip of the Year went to Kakadu Collective & Victor Rostron for Mayali.

The NIMAs celebrated music industry icon, Kev Carmody who was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Kev Carmody. Photo Supplied NIMAs.

“I’m absolutely so proud, humbled and honoured to accept the award on behalf of all of us. Past, present and of course future, because it’s a collective way of thinking in my opinion, that we all go together and no one gets left behind,” he said.

Carmody expressed his admiration and pride in the “young ones”.

“It might be rap, it might be hip hop, it might be reggae; we’re still expressing [ourselves] through the oral cultural traditions, which is songs and storytelling, it’s just in a musical sense,” he said.

“I’m so proud of our young mob with the music, and with dance – that’s an interpretation too – and art. That’s our way of passing on our oral tradition and I think it’s fantastic.”

“I can sit back now. I’ve played my four chords and that’s it.”

NIMAs welcomed special guests from across the country, including comedian Steven Oliver, actress Elaine Crombie and NIMAs Creative Director Benjamin Gratz.

The ceremony also heard a performance from Electric Fields and Tilly Tjala Thomas.

Both dazzled the airways with Electric Fields performing a rendition of Carmody’s From Little Things, Big Things Grow and Tilly Tjala Thomas singing Ngai Yulku Nhiina.

“What and incredible night celebrating our very best First Nations artist and musicians!” Ben Graetz, NIMAs Creative Director said.

“Thank you to Nooky and Karla from triple j’s Blak Out, and although it wasn’t the NIMAs we had planned, I’m very proud of all the team who worked together on such a wonderful event.

“Hopefully next year we will be back on Larrakia Country, under stars, celebrating all together once again.”

By Rachael Knowles