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King Stingray Wins 2023 Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Comp – Billboard

Written by on 08/06/2023

King Stingray adds another major prize to their growing collection, winning the 2023 Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition with “Milkumana.”

Co-written by bandmates Roy Kellaway and Yirrŋa Gotjiringu Yunupingu, “Milkumana” scores the A$50,000 prize, courtesy of APRA AMCOS, Alberts and Sony Music Publishing — a sum said to be the biggest first-place bounty for any songwriting competition on the planet.



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The Stingers, as they’re affectionately known in these parts, have been riding a wave in recent months.

“Milkumana” won for best song at the 2022 National Indigenous Music Awards, was shortlisted for APRA song of the year 2022, and was nominated for most performed rock work of the year at the most recent edition of the APRA Music Awards, on a night when they closed out proceedings with a cover of Men at Work’s “Down Under,” led by Colin Hay.

Their trophy cabinet includes the 2023 Australian Music Prize, presented earlier this year for the Yolŋu surf rockers’ self-titled debut LP; the Michael Gudinski breakthrough artist award, presented at the 2022 ARIA Awards; and best new artist at the 2022 Rolling Stone Australia Awards.

The winning song “is about leadership and the people we look up to and now, all of a sudden, we’ve become leaders in our community and that concept is just so amazing. We come from a small place and we’re singing about big things,” comments Kellaway. “Thanks so much for the love, we can’t believe it.”

Second place (and the A$10,000 prize) goes to “Ready for the Sky” by Budjerah, co-written by Budjerah with Ainslie Wills, while the Stingers snagged third place (and an additional A$5,000) for “Camp Dog,” written by Kellaway.

Among the winners announced Thursday (June 8) was “Worst Taste In Girls” by Charley, co-written by Charley, Antonio Egizii and David Musumeci, which scoops the the AMPAL emerging songwriter prize (A$5,000), while the inaugural American Songwriter Spotlight Award was presented to Tia P., the Los Angeles hip-hop artist and songwriter who wins the A$1,500 cash prize and a forthcoming feature on the American Songwriter for her song “That Action.”

This year’s competition received 2,950 entries from 45 countries, organizers say. Each entry carries a A$50 fee, which this year raised a total of A$147,500, all of which supports the services of Noro Music Therapy Australia.

Named after the iconic songwriters and founding members of The Easybeats, Harry Vanda and the late George Young, the competition first took place in December 2009, and has since raised nearly A$1.75 million for the charity.

The 2023 judging panel featured artists, producers, media and music industry professionals including reps from The Brag Media, Double J, Jaxsta, Billboard, iHeartRadio, Amazon Music, Universal Music Australia, EMI Music Australia, American Songwriter and more.

Previous winners include Genesis Owusu in 2022, Thelma Plum in 2020, Amy Shark (2018), Gretta Ray (2016), Isabella Manfredi (2013), Kimbra (2011) and Megan Washington (2009).

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