Barkaa, Baker Boy and Thelma Plum lead National Indigenous Music Awards 2022 nominations

Plum, King Stingray, Emma Donovan and more will also perform at the ceremony, which takes place next month

The nominations and performance line-up for this year’s National Indigenous Music Awards, which honours First Nations artists and their talent, have been revealed.

This year’s ceremony will be held at Darwin Amphitheatre on August 6, and will mark the first time the event has taken place in person since 2019.

Malyangapa and Barkindji rapper Barkaa leads the nominations with four, including Song of the Year (for ‘King Brown’) and New Talent of the Year. Yolŋu rapper Baker Boy follows with three nominations – including Artist of the Year and Album of the Year (for 2021’s ‘Gela’).


Additionally, Gamilaraay singer-songwriter Thelma Plum and Yolŋu rockers King Stingray are both up for Artist of the Year and Song of the Year (for ‘Backseat Of My Mind’ and ‘Milkumana’, respectively).

Others nominated this year include The Kid LAROI, Jessica Mauboy, Electric Fields, Miiesha, Archie Roach, Emma Donovan & The Putbacks and Dallas Woods. Five artists are nominated for the first time ever: Xavier Rudd, Jem Cassar-Daley, Dobbydameeeela and Lil Kootsie.

Back in May, it was announced that Plum and King Stingray would both perform at this year’s NIMAs. Today, organisers announced additional performers including Emma Donovan & The Putbacks, Birdz and Fred Leone, Yirrmal and J-MILLA.

COVID-19 forced the NIMAs’ 2020 event to take place virtually, while last year the ceremony was reimagined as a two-hour radio special on triple j, hosted by Blak Out presenter Nooky.

“After a two year hiatus it’s very exciting to be bringing the NIMAs back to the Darwin Amphitheatre on Larrakia Country,” said NIMA Creative Director Ben Graetz of the ceremony’s return to a live format.

“I’m thrilled to see such an extraordinary list of finalists this year and cannot wait for live performances from some of our most powerful First Nations musicians such as Thelma Plum and Emma Donovan & The Putbacks. This year is all about coming together and celebrating as one big community.”


This year’s National Indigenous Music Awards will take place as part of Darwin Festival. Tickets for the ceremony are available here.

The 2022 National Indigenous Music Awards nominations are:

Artist of the Year
Jessica Mauboy
Baker Boy
Electric Fields
Thelma Plum
King Stingray

Song of the Year
‘Backseat Of My Mind’ – Thelma Plum
‘Made For Silence’ – Miiesha
‘Milkumana’ – King Stingray
‘Sometime’ – Mo’Ju
‘King Brown’ – Barkaa
‘Ball And Chain’ – Xavier Rudd

Album of the Year
Baker Boy – ‘Gela’
Emma Donovan & The Putbacks – ‘Under These Streets’
Jem Cassar-Daley – ‘I Don’t Know Who to Call’
Birdz – ‘Legacy’
Dallas Woods – ‘Julie’s Boy’
Archie Roach – ‘My Songs 1989-2021’

Film Clip of the Year
‘Love Too Soon’ – Tasman Keith
‘King Brown’ – Barkaa
‘Blak Matriarchy’ – Barkaa
‘My Mind’ – Baker Boy
‘Automatic’ – Jessica Mauboy

New Talent of the Year
Jem Cassar-Daley
Lil Kootsie
Tilly Tjala Thomas

Community Clip of the Year
Koori Mob – ‘Our Country, Our Life’ – Desert Pea Media
Gumbaynggirr Collective – ‘Through The Smoke’ – Desert Pea Media
Doomadgee, QLD – ‘Where We Wanna Be’ – Indigenous Outreach Project
Numbulwar, NT – Loud & Proud – Indigenous Outreach Project
Ballarat, VIC – Don’t Give Up On Yourself – Indigenous Outreach Project

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