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Annual Breakthrough Artist Award named after Michael Gudinski 

Affectionately nicknamed one of ‘Australian music’s founding fathers’, the late Michael Gudinski will be honoured by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).


The iconic music entrepreneur died suddenly earlier this month aged 68. His passing shocked both the local and international music communities, with tributes from Jimmy Barnes, Kylie Minogue, Ed Sheeran and Bruce Springsteen.

“On recommendation of the ARIA chairman and fully endorsed by the ARIA board, we are very pleased to rename one of the most coveted ARIA awards in Michael Gudinski's honour,” ARIA’s CEO, Annabelle Herd, announced in an official statement.


“The inaugural Michael Gudinski Breakthrough Artist ARIA Award will be presented for the first time at this year’s 2021 ARIA Awards.”

ARIA’s chairman, Denis Handlin AO, added that Gudinski’s passion for nurturing up-and-coming artists motivated the organisation to rename the award. Over a career spanning five decades, Gudinski was responsible for helping launch the careers of such artists as Skyhooks, Split Enz, Paul Kelly and Vance Joy.


“In the past few weeks, we have seen an outpouring of love, respect and admiration from so many around the world for the late Michael Gudinski who was a pioneer and true legend that changed the face of the Australian music industry,” Handlin said.

“It is unequivocal that Michael’s passion was breaking Australian artists and putting them on a world stage and he had a proud history of success in doing so.


“Following personally discussing this with Michael’s family, this is the most appropriate honour for ARIA to bestow as it recognises Michael’s profound impact on Australian artists, and the memories and legacy he created.”


Michael Gudinski was farewelled at a state memorial service at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena on March 24.

*Photo courtesy Fairfax Media (2015)

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