Toni Watson, the chart-busting Australian singer and songwriter who, as her alias Tones And I, set records around the globe with “Dance Monkey,” is one of the finalists for the 2023 Australian Women In Music Awards (AWMAs).


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Watson is up against Tanya Batt and The Superjesus leader Sarah McLeod for the songwriter award, which recognizes an outstanding female songwriter or composer.

Other high-profile artists nominated for this year’s event include Kate Ceberano, the one-time ARIA Award winner for best female artist, who is a finalist for the AWMAs lifetime achievement award, a category that also includes Jeannie Lewis and Clare Moore.

Meanwhile, chart-topping pop artist Jessica Mauboy will face-off with Beccy Cole, and Vika & Linda for the artistic excellence award, which celebrates “exceptional creative achievement from a female artist/musician across any genre.”

Established in 2018, the AWMAs acknowledges the contributions and shines a light on the accomplishments of women across all areas of industry from on stage, including those behind the scenes, technicians, leaders, elders, performers, songwriters, producers, engineers, filmmakers and photographers, music journalists and more.

One of those awards is the inaugural ARIA executive leader game changer, which rewards the “exceptional leadership” of an executive leader who “creates significant and positive change to bring about equality for women in the Australian music industry,” and is open to a CEO, CFO, COO, CMO, MD or GM.

“I have seen the industry of music in this country change so much and the education and delivery of music through the eyes and hearts of Australian women, my peers Renée, Chrissie, Olivia, Colleen, Kylie and more,” says Ceberano in a statement.

“It has been an education and at times a baptism by fire. But we are hardy and the Australian singers that are striking notes globally, not only with their music but with their minds, is outstanding.” She continues, “I’m glad to be a part of this modern community of likeminded artists who wish to share their wisdom and prevail despite all provocation to do otherwise.”

Twenty AWMAs will be handed out at a ceremony Sept. 27 in Meanjin/Brisbane, the designated 2032 Olympic city, and broadcast later on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Each category is assessed by a 37-seat jury, with representation across a diverse range of music disciplines and cultures.

The 2023 AWMAs and conference program is supported by the Queensland government together with corporate, industry and community partners.

The event “not only celebrates the most innovative, committed, and visionary singers and songwriters in Australian music, it provides an opportunity to further promote gender equality and diversity including the voices of First Nations women,” comments Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. “The future looks bright for the music industry as our government invests in a 10-year roadmap to promote arts, culture, and creativity.’’

AWMA is an initiative of the not-for-profit Charity Cicada International Ltd, and is spearheaded by AWMA founding executive producer and program director Vicki Gordon.

“AWMA has raised the collective voice – demanding equitable access, safety and recognition for women in the Australian music industry,” explains Gordon, noting “gender equity is still a long way in the future and we all need to remain vigilant.”

For the full list of nominations visit

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