ARIA Awards to pay tribute to Newton-John, Roach, Durham

This year’s ARIA Awards will close with a joyful tribute to Olivia Newton-John and celebrate the lives of Judith Durham and Archie Roach – three hall-of-fame musicians who died in the past year.

Awards host Natalie Imbruglia will begin the tribute for Newton-John in a homage directed by pop singer Tones And I. Electronic group Peking Duk, R&B artist KYE, and a choir will join the performers and draw the awards to a close with a rendition of You’re The One That I Want.

The 2022 ARIA awards are set to host an Olivia Newton-John tribute and feature Natalie Imbruglia as co-host and performances from Tones And I.Credit:Nine

“Olivia brought joy to so many people,” ARIA chief executive Annabelle Herd said. “We want people to walk out of there feeling happy, not sad.”

The tributes will replace the Hall of Fame inductions, which did not occur in 2021 either, and were planned in collaboration with the artists’ families. Roach, Durham and Newton-John died within two weeks of each other earlier this year.

Tones And I, the most-awarded artist at the 2019 ARIAs, approached the awards to direct the Newton-John tribute. Indigenous artists Budjerah, Jessica Mauboy and Thelma Plum will sing Roach’s One Song, which has been nominated for an ARIA. Durham’s family requested Casey Donovan and Dami Im each perform a song by The Seekers.

Meanwhile, artists including Rufus du Sol, Baker Boy, Flume (featuring MAY-A), Amyl and the Sniffers and Vance Joy – each with five or more nominations – will perform their hit songs from the past year.

“Australian music is broadening out,” Herd said of the nominations. “It isn’t just the pub rock anymore, although that’s got a great legacy … It’s hip hop, dance, pop; we’re just killing it in all of these different genres.”

The awards, however, came under scrutiny earlier this year for their lack of diversity, with women making up 36 per cent of nominees, one percentage point more than in 2021. Herd said this could fluctuate from year to year but acknowledged the awards wanted more female and non-binary artists represented in nominations.

The awards shifted to a gender-neutral best solo artist award last year, and Herd said work was under way to make voting panels more diverse too.

“If you look at the performances that we’ve got across the show this year, we’ve got so many incredible women and non-binary people participating, and that’s the way that we can use the platform to promote them and their music,” Herd said.

The event streamed live from Taronga Zoo without an in-person audience in 2021, but crowds will return this year and the event will be broadcast live from its new home at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion.

Imbruglia, an eight-time ARIA Award-winner, will co-host alongside Australian singer, songwriter and drummer G Flip and ARIA Award winner Ruel. Some of the nation’s most celebrated musicians will present awards across 27 categories.

The 2022 ARIA Awards will be on Thursday, November 24, at 7.30pm, at The Hordern Pavilion on Gadigal land. The red carpet, premier show and awards will be broadcast on Channel 9, 9Now and stream internationally on YouTube.

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