The Avalanches’ Win Australian Music Prize With ‘We Will Always Love You’

The Avalanches take out the 16th annual Australian Music Prize, for the electronic duo’s third album We Will Always Love You.

Bandmates Robbie Chater Tony Di Blasi snagged top prize, announced Wednesday afternoon (March 1), beating out 88 nominated LPs and a final shortlist of eight.

The AMP is awarded to the outstanding Australian album of original work from the previous year, as decided by a music industry panel.

“We’re so thrilled to be the winners of the prestigious AMP Award and be amongst the esteemed winners of the past,” reads a statement from The Avalanches following their win. “We’d love to thank everyone involved in making this award happen especially SoundMerch, also to the many people who helped us put this record together. A truly special day for us and we’re so grateful.”

SoundMerch is headline sponsor for this year’s award, which carries A$20,000 ($15,600) in prize money for the winner.

We Will Always Love You dropped last December and features assists from the likes of Blood Orange, Jamie xx, Weezer, Denzel Curry, and is the follow-up to 2016’s Wildflower, which opened at No. 1 on the ARIA Albums Chart. The LP “overflows with ideas, samples, and guests across their unique blend of blissed-out disco, soul, and psychedelia,” note AMP’s organizers.

The Avalanches’ debut Since I Left You from 2000 is considered a modern classic and one of the great Australian albums of any generation.

With their AMP victory, the Melbourne outfit joins the likes of previous winners Gurrumul, Courtney Barnett, A.B. Original, and last year’s victor Sampa the Great, the only two-time champ in the history of the award.

The Soundmerch Australian Music Prize Finalists
Alice Ivy – Don’t Sleep
The Avalanches – We Will Always Love You
Blake Scott – Niscitam
Emma Donovan and The Putbacks – Crossover
Fanny Lumsden – Fallow
Gordon Koang – Unity
Miiesha – Nyaaringu
Tame Impala – The Slow Rush
Ziggy Ramo – Black Thoughts

The AMP Winners
2020 – The Avalanches – We Will Always Love You
2019 – Sampa the Great – The Return
2018 – Gurrumul – Djarimirri
2017 – Sampa the Great, Birds and the BEE9
2016 – A.B. Original – Reclaim Australia
2015 – Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
2014 – REMI – Raw X Infinity
2013 – Big Scary, Not Art
2012 – Hermitude, HyperParadise
2011 – The Jezabels, Prisoner
2010 – Cloud Control, Bliss Release
2009 – Lisa Mitchel, Wonder
2008 – Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Primary Colours
2007 – The Mess Hall, Devils Elbow
2006 – Augie March, Moo, You Bloody Choir
2005 – The Drones, Wait Long by the River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By

Michael Gudinski to be Honored With State Funeral

Michael Gudinski will be laid to rest at a state funeral.

The legendary Australian music mogul, whose Mushroom Group is an independent powerhouse with more than 20 subsidiaries operating across music and entertainment, passed away Monday (March 1) at the age of 68.

Gudinski’s surprise death sent shockwaves through the music industry, as the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Ed Sheeran, Kylie Minogue and the Foo Fighters turned to social media to share their memories of the impresario.

On Wednesday, Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the late music man would be remembered “somewhere iconic that we can come together and celebrate his life.”

He continued, “It will be a celebration of his life; the details will be finalized in coming days. It’s got to be COVID-safe of course, but I think we will be able to come together in an iconic venue and celebrate his life and the mark that he made and the legacy he leaves.”

Gudinski, a Melbourne native, “was a good friend of mine,” Andrews noted, adding “he was a great Victorian, he’ll be missed.”

As news spread of Gudinski’s death, Andrews posted a picture of himself with Gudinski and another famed Melbourne music man, former Countdown host Ian “Molly” Meldrum.

“Few people – if any – have shaped the Australian music industry more than Michael Gudinski,” Andrews tweeted. “His was the beating heart of the Victorian scene, and his irrepressible spark entertained our state for 50 years. Treasured friend, Victorian legend – and a legacy that will last forever.

During his lifetime, Gudinski was feted with a long list of accolades for his outstanding contribution to the nation’s music industry and artist community.

Among those honors was the Member of the Order of Australia medal (AM), the Ted Albert Award, and induction into Music Victoria’s Hall of Fame in 2013, on the 40th anniversary of the inception of Mushroom Records.

‘Soul’ Score Wins Society of Composers & Lyricists Award

Just two days after winning a Golden Globe for best original score, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste won a Society of Composers & Lyricists Award for Soul, which was voted outstanding original score for a studio film.

Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino hosted the awards ceremony, which is in its second year. The hybrid ceremony, which included performances and live acceptance speeches, was held on Wednesday (March 2).

The Globe winner for best original song, “Io Sì (Seen)” from The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se), wasn’t even nominated here. The winner in that category was “Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. Both of these songs are on the Oscars’ shortlist of 15 contenders for best original song.

Lolita Ritmanis’s score for Blizzard of Souls won outstanding original score for an independent film. Both Soul and Blizzard of Souls are on the Oscars’ shortlist of 15 contenders for best original score.

The spirit of collaboration award was presented to Terence Blanchard and Spike Lee. The award is presented “to a composer and filmmaker with an enduring and distinguished creative partnership, representing a significant body of work.” Blanchard and Lee’s most recent collaboration, Da 5 Bloods, was nominated for outstanding original score for a studio film. (Da 5 Bloods is also on the Oscar shortlist.)

Here’s the full list of winners:

Outstanding original score for a studio film: Soul, Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste

Outstanding original score for an independent film: Blizzard of Souls (Dvēseļu Putenis), Lolita Ritmanis

Outstanding original score for a television production: The Queen’s Gambit, Carlos Rafael Rivera

Outstanding original song for visual media: “Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, Savan Kotecha, Fat Max Gsus, Rickard Goransson

Outstanding original score for interactive media: Metamorphosis, Garry Schyman, Mikolai Stroinski

Spirit of collaboration award: Terence Blanchard and Spike Lee

Here’s a link to the digital awards program.

For more information about the Society of Composers & Lyricists, here’s a link to the SCL website.

Olivia Rodrigo Can’t Believe Her ‘Idols’ Taylor Swift & Lorde Have ‘Become My Peers So Quickly’

How about this for an 18th birthday? Olivia Rodrigo’s “biggest celebrity crush” Pete Davidson compared her to her biggest “idol” Taylor Swift during a Saturday Night Live sketch entirely about her breakout debut single “Drivers License,” which has been the biggest song in the world for seven weeks straight.

“I was absolutely floored, I was screaming. I think being made fun of and parodied on SNL is the biggest compliment in the whole world,” she told Radio.com in a new interview on Tuesday (March 2). “So that was so surreal.”

But the line Davidson draws between Rodrigo and Swift is pretty solid. Following Swift’s co-sign of “Drivers License,” Rodrigo said the pop superstar penned her a letter based on the teen singer’s favorite lyrics from “long story short” on Swift’s most recent Billboard 200 No. 1 album evermore: “Past me/ I wanna tell you not to get lost in these petty things/ Your nemeses/ Will defeat themselves before you get the chance to swing.”

“So she wrote about that a little bit in her letter,” Rodrigo elaborated about the heartfelt note. “She was like, ‘I think we make our own luck and I think when you’re kind to people and do what’s right, it always comes back to you in the best ways.'”

The High School Musical: The Musical: The Series breakout star has been experiencing a lot of positive things coming back to her in the best way, including more sweet messages from two of her favorite artists, Lorde and Phoebe Bridgers.

“Lorde doesn’t have social media, but Lorde’s sister reached out to me and was like, ‘My sister and I love the song,’ and I was like, ‘Oh my God, That’s crazy!'” she exclaimed. “Phoebe Bridgers… commented ‘happy birthday’ [on my] post on my Instagram, so that was cool. It’s just so surreal to have my idols become my peers so quickly. It’s just insane.”

Watch her entire Radio.com interview below.

Kali Uchis Trusted Her Instincts & Got Her First No. 1 Album: ‘A Lot of People Didn’t Want Me to Make This Album’

Powered by the TikTok hit “Telepatía,” Kali Uchis’ Sin Miedo (Del Amor y Otros Demonios) hits No. 1 on the Latin Pop Albums chart (dated March 6). The set — which is her first Spanish-language album — is also her first leader on any Billboard albums chart.

“I feel so proud because this is a testament to following your instincts,” Uchis tells Billboard. “A lot of people didn’t want me to make this album or tried to make me feel it wasn’t a real contribution to my discography, all because it was in Spanish.”

Sin Miedo is Uchis’ second studio album. Prior to Isolation, her debut English album that tested the waters with Latin Pop (“Nuestro Planeta,” featuring Reykon), she released Por Vida, her first all-English EP.

Uchi’s sophomore effort rises to the top in its 15th chart week with 10,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending Feb. 25, up 129%, according to MRC Data. The surge concurrently takes the set to a No. 3 high on Top Latin Albums, a new peak. It previously topped out at No. 8 on the Dec. 5, 2020-dated chart, the week following its debut at No. 21 (from two days of tracking activity in the week ending Nov. 19).

As Sin Miedo rises to the top of Latin Pop Albums, Uchis becomes the first female solo act to rule with her first Latin Pop Albums entry since Rosalía’s El Mal Querer in November 2018.

Sin Miedo traces its surge to “Telepatía’s” streaming gain across services like YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music, sparked by its popularity on TikTok. (TikTok itself does not contribute to Billboard’s chart rankings.) The set’s third single has stormed TikTok as millions continue to share their videos using the song. It propels to a No. 2 high on Hot Latin Songs — Uchi’s highest ranking there — boosted by 10 million U.S. streams earned on the week ending Feb. 25, almost tripling its clicks from the previous week (3.4 million in the week ending Feb. 18), which yields a No. 24 start on the overall Streaming Songs chart.

“Honestly, I had downloaded the app during the pandemic,” Uchis muses. “I found interesting the amount of creativity there but for me it was just good fun.  I noticed that ‘Dead To Me,’ from my first album had gotten a resurgence even though it was a couple years old, and I respected the app’s ability to share like that.  I see all kinds of songs on TikTok and rarely stream or buy them afterwards, so it’s humbling to know people saw it around and it actually stuck with it beyond that.”

Beyond its Hot Latin Songs swell, “Telepatía” debuts at No. 54 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100. It grants Uchis her first entry as a lead solo act and her highest ranking there.

“I’m still shocked, very grateful and humbled,” Uchis adds. “I feel this is good karma returning itself to me and tables turning for the best, part of why I tweeted before I dropped this album ‘todo lo que me han quitado, la vida me lo va a duplicar’ (all of which has been taken away from me, life will give back) and I’m really watching that come true.”

Sin Miedo concurrently launches at No. 77 on the all-genre Billboard 200 albums chart. “As an artist and person, it’s so important to know who you are without outside validation,” the Colombian-American adds. “I was going to be OK if the album was a success, or if everyone got it all wrong and thought it was horrible. I still would have felt just as proud.”

Jessie J Reflects on ‘Who You Are’ Album 10 Years Later & Says New Music Can ‘Hang’ With Her Biggest Hits

When Jessie J first moved to LA from the U.K. more than a decade ago, she was living off Cheetos, doing three studio sessions a day, and wondering where her next check might come from. But through a combination of writing songs for other artists and releasing her years-in-the-making debut album in early 2011, she launched her career as the music star we know today.

And it all truly started with Who You Are, Jessie’s very first album, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary on Sunday. The project, which peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, spawned J’s breakout song “Price Tag,” her debut U.K. single “Do It Like a Dude” and her first Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hit “Domino.”

For the 10-year anniversary, Jessie J got on a video call with the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast to talk all about the making of the album, scoring her first (and second) No. 1 hits in her native U.K., and a familiar face that popped up in her early music videos.

Listen to the podcast below:

She also has some great stories about writing “Do It Like a Dude” with Rihanna in mind but keeping the aggressive anthem for her first U.K. single instead (“I just remember seeing the complete split of ‘I love her’/’I hate her’ [when it debuted] … I loved the extremity”) and writing what would become one of Miley Cyrus’ biggest hits. “‘Party in the USA’ put my foot in the door as a credible artist that can write songs, and that I will always be grateful for,” she said, even singing a few of the original lyrics that were about Jessie’s move from U.K. to the U.S. instead of Miley’s move from Nashville to LA.

“When Biden was elected, it was played everywhere,” Jessie added of the 2009 hit. “To be associated with such a historic moment, even now, literally 13, 12 years on, it’s just so magical. I’m so grateful for Miley and what she did for that song and what it did for me. It paid my rent. She basically kept me afloat when it was a tough time and I was a struggling artist that just wanted to do my thing.”

(Speaking of 12 years ago, watch Jessie do a virtual duet with her younger self on the song “Mamma Knows Best,” posted Sunday to celebrate the anniversary.)

In the end, Jessie J is happy she made such a big splash out of the gate, but she thinks she has a lot left to prove. “I love that people still call me underrated,” she said. “I don’t need to be the biggest thing in the room. I want to be the truest thing and the realest.

“When I look back at it now, there are so many moments where I just want to give myself a hug, when I doubted myself. … Now I’m just living my best life.”

Part of that best life: Jessie J dropped some hints about the music she has coming next. Her yet-untitled fifth album is set to be executive-produced by Ryan Tedder — and he even sent her a video message during the interview. “There’s a lot of honesty in there, because obviously I’ve lived a lot of life that people want to know about,” Jessie says about what she’s singing about on her next album, adding that her inner-circle keeps telling her these songs sound like they belong in a movie.

“I’ve always been controversial without being offensive,” she said about the tone of the music. “I like to stand on the edge but not fall off. I like to bleed out and make people stand in the middle of their f—ing sh–, good and bad, as I do that for myself.”

Now she’s ready to see if her new music can make just as big of a splash as Who You Are did 10 years ago. “The challenge of beating that is the hardest thing. And I haven’t. ‘Bang Bang’ nearly got there,” she says of her team-up with Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj for her third album in 2014. But she thinks her new stuff has what it takes: “‘I can hang out with you at a party,’ these songs can say to the old songs.”

While she doesn’t have a specific timetable for the release, she expects we’ll hear a taste before the fall, teasing, “These songs are not for a turtleneck, you know what I’m saying?” she laughs.

Also on the show, we’ve got chart news about how Morgan Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album spends a seventh week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, claiming a unique distinction among country albums on the chart, and how Chris Brown and Young Thug’s “Go Crazy” jumps to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Brown his highest-charting hit since 2008.

The Billboard Pop Shop Podcast is your one-stop shop for all things pop on Billboard’s weekly charts. You can always count on a lively discussion about the latest pop news, fun chart stats and stories, new music, and guest interviews with music stars and folks from the world of pop. Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear Billboard’s deputy editor, digital, Katie Atkinson and senior director of Billboard charts Keith Caulfield every week on the podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or downloaded in Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast provider. (Click here to listen to the previous edition of the show on Billboard.com.)   

Gaana’s CEO Is Leaving the Indian Audio-Streaming Service

MUMBAI — Prashan Agarwal, the CEO of Gaana, is leaving the Indian audio-streaming service, a source close to the company has confirmed to Billboard.

Gaana, which is jointly owned by the Times Group and Tencent, has yet to officially announce his departure, which has surprised many in the Indian music industry. There’s no word yet on where Agarwal might move to, and who might replace him.

Under Agarwal, who joined as COO in 2016 and was promoted to CEO in 2018, Gaana has grown into one of India’s leading audio-streaming services. Gaana’s customer base has increased exponentially each year, from about 25 million MAUs in late 2016 to over 185 million MAUs in August 2020, the platform has said.

Gaana amassed much of this audience in less-populated cities — tier-II, tier-III and tier-IV cities — which the platform has keenly targeted with a combination of tiered pricing, regional Indian language content and user-friendly features such as voice-based search.

Agarwal and his team have also been quick to cater to changing consumption patterns by launching a string of original projects, such as Gaana Originals, a series of exclusive Hindi and Punjabi “non-film” or commercial pop singles the service has been releasing since 2017. Gaana also started staging the multi-city Punjabi music festival Crossblade in 2018, and in mid-2020, following the ban on TikTok in India, it unveiled HotShots, a short video platform.

However, revenues have not kept pace with the rise in MAUs. While the number of paid subscriptions grew 2 1/2 times in the first half of 2020 compared to 2019, they accounted for a little over a third of the total income. At the end of the 2020 fiscal year, Gaana’s losses had risen more than 82% from the previous financial year to Rs352 crore ($48 million). Last August, Gaana received fresh rounds of funding from existing investors, the Times Group’s digital arm Times Internet and Tencent, which now owns almost 35% of the company.

Gaana’s main competitors in India’s crowded audio-streaming market are JioSaavn, which is owned by telecom behemoth Reliance Jio and also claims over 150 million MAUs, and Spotify, which is fast gaining traction since its launch in India in February 2019.

Prior to his half-decade stint with Gaana, Agarwal co-founded property website PropTiger and held leadership roles at jobs portal Naukri and GE Infrastructure.