Sarah Blasko and Kid Sam nab AMP nominations

A healthy dose of female singer songwriters and one Aussie Hip Hopper have nabbed coveted nominations for the Australian Music Prize (AMP). The finalists were announced today with Sarah Blasko, Oh Mercy, Kid Sam, Lucie Thorne, Bertie Blackman, The Mess Hall, Urthboy, Black Cab and Australian Idol contestant Lisa Mitchell all making the cut.

The prize is generally regarded as the most prestigious music prize in Australia, probably due to the fact that there are no record company or management figures on the select juding panel, and that record sales aren’t a deciding factor. It is also the most lucrative, with a $30,000 prize for the winner and a $15,000 prize for the artist picked as having ‘outstanding potential’.

We don’t have anything against men with guitars but the awards have being criticised in the past for solely championing male indie rock bands. Since the prize’s inception in 2005, The Drones, Augie March, the Mess Hall, and Eddy Current Suppression Ring have taken out the prize, prompting some to condemn the lack of female and more hip hop and dance orientated acts. Last year Bernard Zuel, music critic and AMP judge, was quoted as saying: ”Who is afraid of pop music? Of hip-hop, electronica and the avant-garde? And, most particularly, of women?”

Well Zuel, if this year’s nominees are anything to go by it seems we might’ve overcome our fears (or at least the Australian Music Industry may have). Time will tell, with the winner being announced on March 12.