American Express has today announced the final eight artist and music business recipients of the American Express Music Backers Fund Grant initiative.
THE NIGHT CAT, VIC
First established as a live music venue in 1996, The Night Cat has become a long-standing institution. Widely regarded as the home of multicultural music in Melbourne, it regularly features a diverse range of artists across many genres including jazz, funk, soul, Latin, disco and hip-hop on its iconic 360-degree stage seven days a week.
The Night Cat will use its funding to install accessible, gender-neutral toilets to be both more inclusive and to elevate the experiences of patrons using mobility aides.
Hailing from Western Australia, Dulcie is a 4-piece indie-pop girl band. After tirelessly trying to define their indie pop-inspired style, they arrived at the conclusion that they would defy normality in both genre and group composition, with three interchangeable vocalists and a sound that makes you feel as if you are in a 70’s time loop. Their effortlessly cool energy and quirkiness is only amplified at their gigs, and whether it’s supporting G-Flip, playing Groovin’ the Moo, or touring with Ocean Alley, Dulcie’s electric presence cannot be denied.
Dulcie will use their funding to record with producer Joel Quartermain (Eskimo Joe, Meg Mac) and to complete final tracks for their upcoming EP, scheduled for release in 2021.
EMMA DONOVAN & THE PUTBACKS, VIC
Acclaimed Indigenous vocalist Emma Donovan and Melbourne rhythm combo The Putbacks burst onto the scene with Dawn (2014), announcing a new voice in Aussie soul music. They reunited in 2020 with the critically acclaimed album Crossover. Emma’s first gigs were singing in the family band, The Donovans and then went on to tour and record with many mainstays of Indigenous music, including Archie Roach and the Black Arm Band. It was in this group that Emma’s journey with The Putbacks began. As a band, they are one of the tightest, sharpest, slickest and most dynamic music units to ever exist.
They will use the funding to tour regionally, taking their music to new communities and sharing various songs in the traditional language. On each tour stop, they will also endeavour to run music workshops to further integrate their music into each community that they visit.
With a sound that embodies a rich, opulent atmosphere and a flawless touch in the studio, Ninajirachi is truly in her own lane. A triple-threat producer, songwriter and DJ who has built a career that encompasses the spectrum of electronic music, garnering praise from critics and notable artists alike. Since her breakout album “Pure Luck”, Nina has gone from strength to strength, collaborating with renowned artists and remixing for Flight Facilities, Hermitude and more. She has also been a resident DJ for triple j, was the first Australian producer to be featured in Ableton’s One Thing and co-wrote and produced the official anthem for Australia’s Matildas in the FIFA World Cup. Standing tall as an immovable force within electronic music, the only way for Ninajirachi is up.
Ninajirachi will use her funding to curate an interactive and expansive video series with Kota Banks, based on their True North EP, encompassing live performances of EP tracks with interactive video mapping and production tutorials, created in collaboration with Powerhouse and EMC.
TAKA PERRY, NSW
Sydney based Australian-Japanese Producer Taka Perry has been making waves on the global music scene. The former Canberra native has been collaborating with likes of Ruel, Sycco, Denzel Curry, A.GIRL, Max Frost and JP The Wavy to name a few.
At only 22 he has been dubbed by Pilerats as one of Australia’s most exciting songwriters and producers. His creative contributions have amassed over 130 million plays on Spotify, with past credits including Money Problems by Max Frost and the 2 x platinum certified ‘Younger’ by Ruel.
Taka Perry will use the funding to put towards the creation of a trilogy of music videos. Each with its own narrative, the videos will be intended to be seen as a whole, further demonstrating Taka’s creative flair and ability.
THE GOV, SA
Since 1993, The Gov has established itself as Adelaide’s home of live music and is highly regarded by musicians and music-lovers alike. The Gov’s venue features world-class international, national and local musicians and is the only venue in Adelaide where audiences can watch the on-stage action from the open-air beer garden. In the front bars, there’s a regular roster of local bands playing blues, ukulele, jazz, open-mic, folk and more. The venue has been widely recognised for its huge contribution to live music, receiving a number of AHA Awards, an APRA AMCOS Award, an SA Music Award and induction into the AMC Hall of Fame in 2017.
The Gov will use the American Express Music Backers Fund to extend the hotel’s Beer Garden to increase capacity in the venue, which will help it to attract more ticket buyers and bands.
In April 2020 Melbourne’s RVG shared their highly anticipated second album, Feral unto the world. Following the beloved 2017 debut ‘A Quality of Mercy’, RVG perform the tricky alchemy of combining rock’s urgency, punk’s anarchy, and pop’s empathy to create a record that feels vital. Feral is a catharsis, a call to arms, and a forthright indictment of contemporary complacency.
Ahead of the recording of their third album, and shows returning in full force, RVG will use their funding to purchase equipment and hone their live set up. It will allow them access to gear they can use both at rehearsal and on stage.
LA LA LA’S, NSW
La La La’s is Wollongong’s youngest and most tenacious live music venue. Spread across three levels, the venue offers functional spaces for any event. The perfect place to blow the froth off a few, catch a few scorchin’ bands and to see your favourite obscure late-night DJ. La La La’s rose from the ashes of the 2020 NSW lockdown to close out the year with 5+ events a week, with no signs of slowing that momentum in 2021.
La La La’s will use their grant to purchase their own DJ equipment, allowing them to diversify the acts and events that they can host at the venue. La La La’s prides themselves on being inclusive and hopes to reach a broader range of music communities with the help of this initiative.
In late 2020, American Express announced its Grant initiative, open for music businesses and artists to apply for grants between $2,000 to $50,000. Designed to help the music industry get back on track, fund innovations or make business transformation dreams a reality, the curated judging panel saw thousands of incredible applications from all corners of Australia, making it exceptionally challenging to select the final round of Grant winners.
To learn more about the $1 Million American Express Music Backers Fund, visit: amex.com.au/MusicBackers.