Perth local Aminah Hughes took out two awards last night at the 18th Annual Independent Music Awards in New York, in both songwriting and music video directing categories.
It helps you to know that your art and your hard work is being seen. This is like some pretty impressive people are saying we see what you’re doing and keep doing it.Aminah Hughes
Aminah is among the year’s most exceptional artists honoured at the prestigious awards, alongside Grammy Award winner Lucinda Williams, D Generation’s Jesse Malin and Canada’s Juno Award nominee, STORRY.
2020 marks Hughes’ second year as a musical nominee at the awards and her first win, with song ‘Storm of Time’ taking out Best Alt. Country Song. It was her first nomination and win in a filmmaking category, earning her the audience award for Best Director, Short Form Music Video for ‘I Need to Learn.’
Both songs feature on the album Blue Wooden Boat, the first release on Hughes’ independent label Blue Wolf Records. The video was the second project under Hughes’ newest venture, Sky Woman Productions. Created as part of Revelation Perth International Film Festival’s 2019 Blind Date initiative, it had its online premiere with New York music magazine, Musical Notes Global.
Asked what winning these awards mean to her, Hughes said, “The life of an artist is quite challenging, it’s swings and roundabouts, one day you’ve got a grant, the next day your band’s broken up. You have fantastic opportunities and then everything falls apart. What awards like these do is confirm that your art is connecting with people and affirm your place in the creative canon.
“It helps you to not give up. It gives you the encouragement you need to keep going when things are tough. It helps you to know that your art and your hard work is being seen. This is like some pretty impressive people are saying we see what you’re doing and keep doing it.”
The Independent Music Awards recognises exceptional work by indie creatives from around the globe. This year’s Nominees were culled from thousands of Album, EP, Song, Producer, Music Video and Visual Design submissions from 73 countries on 6 continents. Previous nominees include Macy Gray, Jackson Browne, Pete Seeger, Passenger, Meghan Trainor and Pokey LaFarge.
Winning projects were selected by an influential judging panel that included Tom Waits, Robert Smith, Ziggy Marley, KT Tunstall, Roberta Flack, Coolio, and Joe Satriani.
Asked what’s next, Hughes said she planned on getting some sleep for starters. “I got a little last night, but I was just buzzing!
“I just keep doing what I’m doing. Just keep working hard. I just paused for a second and had a lovely cup of peppermint tea this afternoon using my special tea pot and took a moment to shriek a little, but now it’s back onto the next thing. It’s an affirmation that I need to keep going.”
Hughes was nominated in last year’s Independent Music Awards and attended the awards ceremony in New York. Speaking about the occasion, she recognised how much the world has changed in such a short amount of time.
“Last year I was fan nominated,” Hughes said, “which was great in that it showed that my music was connecting with people, but a part of me was craving that industry recognition from my peers. So, this year to be industry nominated and to have that panel deem me worthy of an award was huge. To have an audience also vote me in for an award was like a one-two punch.
“I was planning on going to these awards, they’re in a Broadway theatre. Last year I got to hear Martha Wash read my name out, it was all very exciting and I was planning on going back, but all of that was cancelled and they made the announcements online.
“It has a sad undertone, because my heart’s really breaking at the moment for New York. It’s a city that’s been on my mind since the first time I went there in 2013. My heart’s never really left New York since I first went there, so it feels hard to celebrate when I see what’s happening.
Happily, amongst all that, Hughes was able to recognise something of the enormity of her achievement, saying, “It’s a nice recognition. It’s definitely exciting and I’m allowing myself to feel that. I’m just looking forward to getting back there (New York) next year. It’s such a vibrant cultural centre and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with people in music, film and theatre.”
Watch Hughes’ online acceptance speeches.
Get the full list of Independent Music Awards winners here.