Tuesday, 30 December 2014

2014 Scene Awards - Woman of the Year


#6. Katy Perry

In the world of pop superstars, Taylor Swift may have dominated the headlines and Beyonce is still everyone’s favourite wife of Jay-Z but there’s someone that just keeps on keeping on in the background there, doing her thing while the other one’s siblings fight in elevators and the other one gets all the publicity she can from not allowing her music to be listened to for free (which cannot actually be stopped these days Ms Swift, but that’s another story). Little ol’ Katy Perry, singin her little heart out, dancing about with lollipops and dressing like a cat, singing about dark horses and birthdays and what she’s doing and how she does it, basically doing all the things that pop stars should do, just making everyone happy. Maybe? When I’ve had a bad day and one of my best friends asks; “did you think of Katy Perry today? No? Well, that’s why you had a bad day then!”, he’s probably right. Katy Perry makes everything alright. And for me, that’s a good enough reason for her to be one of our Women of the Year. (Jo Michelmore)

#5. Thelma Plum

Like a few others you may have noticed on our little blog, there are some artists we keep talking about and one of those is little old Thelma. We’re not going to deny our collective obsession. There’s a reason for it. Did you hear her debut EP Rosie? It was more than just a collection of songs; it was an experience, an immediate contender for life soundtrack from first play. It was difficult to know how she could follow that, but did something this year that a lot of artists fail to do and she not only impressed us but a whole new legion of fans with her follow up EP, Monsters. What she did was simple; ignore everyone else and just do what she does best, write and perform from the heart. Every track another slice of her life and then somehow a little slice of mine, only four tracks but such delicious tracks they are. She took a courageous leap into some more electronic sounds than her previous release, but they didn’t alienate her audience, they only made the experience a little more intense, with perfect tales of anguish, heartache, regret and rhetorical questions we all need answers to.

So many words about Thelma, this time around, I could write about the praise she is receiving, I could write about her awesome 'Like A Version' performance of Chet Faker's 'Gold' this year, I could write about her live performances and her giant future in music and all sorts of reasons she deserves to be on our Woman of the Year list, but there’s a more personal reason she makes that list for me. Because for me, only a few artists manage to pick me apart and put me together again in song, which is something Thelma’s music has done over and over again. As she sings, things always come and things always go, but my love for her will probably always be. After all, there are not many people who know about all the monsters that hide under my bed and only artists like Thelma help them go away. (Jo Michelmore)

#4. Tkay Maidza

She chitty bang bang-ed her way into our hearts 4eva in 2014 with the monster tracks 'U-Huh', 'Finish Them' and 'Switch Lanes', tracks that comprised her debut Switch Tape EP and Tkay Maidza is showing no signs of slowing down in 2015. Where is she at the moment? Showing everyone up at Falls. Where should she be on 'Straya Day. Smashing it on the triple J Hottest 100. But this is about 2014, yeah and if there's one artist's music we've been playing anywhere and everywhere this year it's Tkay Maidza's. With the support of our national youth broadcaster firmly in her corner, it came as no surprise that Maidza drew a huge crowd to her BIGSOUND Live showcase that saw the crowd jumping around with glee throughout the entire performance. The international buzz surrounding her has been building and building, with well received performances at CMJ in New York and her latest single, 'Switch Lanes' setting her up as the heir apparent to rap throne abandoned by artists we're going to stop comparing Maidza to. Because she's not like anyone else out there. She's Tkay Maidza and she's consistently been one of the best artists in all of music in 2014. Look for that trend to continue in 2015. (Matt Bond)

#3. Beyoncé

Surfbort. Graining on wood and so on and so forth. Queen Bey "surprised" everyone late last year when she released her fifth, self-titled album without so much as a, "hey y'all, my album is out, woah-oh-oh oh-oh-oh oh-oh-oh." The "super-secretive" strategy paid off, with Beyoncé nabbing her fifth US #1 in as many albums plus three-day sales of over 800 000. It was lauded with the best reviews of her career and has become a strong contender to walk away with Album of the Year at the next Grammys. The single 'Drunk In Love' is sorta/kinda a pop-culture phenomenon and you can throw lines from it around town like those at the start of this write-up. "We woke up in a kitchen saying how the hell did this shit happen, baby?" Outstanding. She even managed to make a line about someone wishing she was pound cake pretty cool on 'Flawless' too. Is there anything 'Yoncé can't do? I don't know, maybe... but she can totally steal the show at the MTV Video Music Awards by schooling all others in a 16 minute performance that broke the internet long before Kim K pretended to. I'll be honest though... Bey earns all of my love with her spectacular performance following the Solange/Jay-Z elevator brawl. In her eyes it was like Fight Club. And the first rule is you don't talk about it. So just smile and continue with your day, yeah?


As Miley Cyrus once sang... don't you wish that you could be a fly on the wall? A creepy little, sneaky little fly on the wall. Yep. Love you, Bey. (Matt Bond)

Runner-Up: Taylor Swift

There is nothing I can write on our blog that hasn’t been written about Taylor Swift before. She’s been the perfect pop star for 2014. Former country-pop sweetheart turned straight pop-sweetheart, there’s little to be said that you wouldn’t have heard before. You want to know how many albums she sold this year? Google can tell you that. You want to know how old she is? The title of her latest album can tell you that. You want to know about her back catalogue being pulled from Spotify, in the hope that people would hand over some cash to buy it instead of streaming it? Your itunes account can probably tell you about that. You want to know how many people have seen her super fun and sometimes a little weird clips? Youtube can probably tell you that. You want to know about her ex-boyfriends? I’m sure some gossip website or trashy magazine can tell you all about that.

What all of those things can’t tell you is how many times I’ve sung along to ‘Shake It Off’ in the car. What all of those things can’t tell you is how many times I’ve bopped my head in time to ‘Blank Space’. What all of those things can’t tell you is how much I smile at the 80s synths and vocals of ‘Out Of The Woods’ and what all those things can’t tell you is how happy I get when I hear the simple pop that is Taylor Swift, from this year and all the ones before. She just keeps doing her thing and she does it really, really well, regardless of all the things you can and can’t find when you Google and Youtube and Spotify. She’s the perfect definition of pop star and that’s the reason she’s included in our Woman of the Year list. (Jo Michelmore)

WINNER: Kimbra

No other artist in music this year was as fearless, pushed as many boundaries or realised their ambition in the way that Kimbra Johnson did in 2014. I don't really need to justify that in any other way then to say go and listen to her sophomore album, The Golden Echo. Kimbra went out of her way to rope in the right mix of collaborators that would see her vision come to life and the results were spectacular. The exploding choruses of 'Teen Heat', '90s Music' and 'Carolina' will set your heart racing. You won't be able to stop yourself from dancing to the funk infused and undeniably shake-your-groove-thing worthy tracks 'Goldmine', 'Miracle' and 'Madhouse'. And I'll give you some side-eye if I can tell your heart isn't breaking throughout 'As You Are'.

The Golden Echo ends the year as one of our absolute favourite albums of not just this year, but any. Completely different on a sonic level from its predecessor, Vows, this time around Kimbra proved she's capable of so much more than everything we had come to know about her. And we already knew she was an extraordinary artist and performer. Now there's like no word for how good she is. So I'm going to make one up... Kimbrastic. Whenever something is so good you just can't find a word for it... Kimbrastic. She might not have had the chart success she deserved, but that doesn't seem to have phased her at all. Kimbra's an artist, not your average pop star and real success isn't just in album sales. The quality of her music moved to another level in 2014 and while we don't know how she'll top The Golden Echo, we'll be as excited as ever to hear what comes next because she's our miracle (miracle). (Matt Bond) 

2013 Winner:
Runner-Up: Janelle Monae

2012 Winner:
Amanda Palmer
Runner-Up: Santigold

2011 Winner:
Runner-Up: Adele

2010 Winner:


Love it or hate it? Agree or disagree? Let me know what you think!