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The $1Million American Express Music Backers Fund is here to support the Aussie music industry.


Our judging panel has been inundated with thousands of incredible applications from all corners of Australia, and one thing is certain…we’re an extremely talented bunch. This made it exceptionally challenging to select our first round of grant winners...and the results are finally in!


Check out which artists and music businesses we’ve awarded grants to, as well as how we’ll be helping to bring their epic initiatives to life.


If you applied but haven’t been selected, don’t forget we still have another round of winners to be announced – so keep an eye on your inbox!







Hailing from Sydney, Handsome crafts a mix of Tomboy Pop and Brooding Electronica. Her bold sound is a celebration of self-expression & carefree creativity. The name is a nod to her queer identity and is inspired by strong friendships, falling in love and defying people's expectations of who they want you to be, and celebrating who you want to be!

Handsome's grant will be used to research, produce and finance a short film that will become a visual experience of their highly-anticipated sophomore EP, due to be released in 2021.








Pilerats, a music and culture platform based out of Perth, aims to spotlight emerging and renowned musicians through journalism, events and more. In 2021, they plan to explore new opportunities to showcase top-tier talent, in the hope of discovering the next best thing...and making sure everyone knows who they are, too!

Their grant will be used for a much-needed revitalization of their platform, as well as to launch a new podcast series that will further promote Australian music and culture.







Born in Darwin and raised in the remote Northern Territory communities of Milingimbi and Maningrida, Danzal Baker, known professionally as Baker Boy, is the freshest new hip-hop talent to emerge out of Australia. A Yolngu man, Baker Boy is renowned for performing his original hip-hop tunes that incorporate both English and Yolnu Matha.

Baker Boy will use his grant funding to build a seriously impressive live rig and playback system, so that he can continue to put on world-class shows for his fans.  






For almost 10 years, POOF DOOF has been Australia's leading queer nightlife brand, producing weekly events in both Melbourne and Sydney and pop-up stages around the Australian music festival scene. Traditionally, their events range from small scale cabaret-style showcases to high energy nightclubbing experiences. POOF DOOF is looking forward to being involved in more outdoor music festivals in 2021, connecting the community and creating a 'dance space for all'.

POOF DOOF will use their grant to build a multi-purpose 'Pride vehicle' that will tour mainstream festivals, showcasing queer talent and promoting inclusivity and diversity across Australia.  






A melodic metalcore band from Byron Bay, In Heart’s Wake create conscious heavy music for these times. Their last four albums debuted in the Top 5 of the ARIA charts, and the power and purpose behind their fifth album KALIYUGA is evident in every facet of its making. This album is entirely carbon offset and is being pressed on recycled materials without the use of disposable plastics. With this, they hope to incite widespread positive action and break new ground in tackling the most pressing crises on the planet today.


With their funding, In Hearts Wake will be able to develop and share the story of how they created a first-ever carbon offset album, during Australia’s worst ever bushfires.






Hailing from Western Australia, Dulcie is a 4-piece indie-pop girl band. After tirelessly trying to define their indie
pop-inspired style, they decided 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. Dulcie's 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 Polish Club,
Dulcie’s electric presence cannot be denied.


Dulcie will use their
funding to record with Eskimo Joe pianist Joel Quartermain and to complete final tracks for their upcoming EP, slated for release in 2021.






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 their funding to install accessible, gender-neutral toilets to be both more inclusive and to elevate the experiences of patrons using mobility aides.






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 2x platinum certified ‘Younger' by Ruel. 


The funding will be used to create 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.






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 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 its funding to extend the hotel’s Beer Garden to increase capacity in the venue, which will help it to attract more ticket buyers and bands.






With a sound that embodies a rich, opulent atmosphere and a flawless touch in the studio, Ninajirachi is 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 single “Pure Luck”, Nina has gone from strength to
strength, collaborating with renowned artists and remixing for Flight
Facilities, deadmau5 & The Neptunes, Hermitude and more. She has also been
a resident DJ for triple j, co-wrote and produced the official anthem for
Australia’s Matildas in the FIFA World Cup and most recently crafted the demo
track included with Ableton Live 11. 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.






Acclaimed Indigenous vocalist Emma Donovan and Melbourne rhythm combo The Putbacks burst onto the scene with Dawn (2014), announcing a new voice in Australian 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.


Emma Donovan & The Putbacks will use their 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.






La La Las 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 Las 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 Las prides themselves on being inclusive and hopes to reach a broader range of music communities with the help of this initiative.






In April 2020 Melbourne’s RVG shared their highly anticipated second album, Feral unto the world. Following their 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. 





We selected 50 awesome Aussie artists and bands to spend a day each in some of Australia’s most iconic recording studios. These artists have also been paired with some of our most renowned producers, and had the opportunity to meet with industry leaders Emily Nichol, Nina Las Vegas and Nick Yates for a Virtual Mentoring Workshop prior to their studio session.


Once they've completed their day in-studio, this talented group will have the opportunity to submit their recorded track to the Music Backers Judging Panel, who will then select one artist to receive a AU$5,000 grant to go towards releasing and promoting their music.







American Express and Support Act were overwhelmed with the stories of some seriously inspiring Aussies who have been doing their bit to keep the music playing. Our judges had the enormous task of selecting 100 recipients, who each received a AU$1,500 cash boost. Plus, 20 nominators received a AU$250 TicketMaster Gift Card to get back out to live music when the time is right!


A huge congratulations to our recipients – we love what you’ve been doing to keep the music playing!







Here’s a sample of how past recipients have used their funding to turn ideas into reality:


Young Franco



We backed Young Franco in creating his own world (literally) with 3D body scanning. Go behind-the-scenes on set of his music clip 'Angel' Ft. Abhi The Nomad.


Music businesses



Struggle is real for many small businesses. Check out how we’re backing Freda's, The Newsagency & Music Industry Inside Out

Cub Sport



From their home studio in Brisbane to playlists around the world. It’s all eyes on Cub Sport and their latest single ‘I Never Cried So Much in My Whole Life’. We’re pumped to have backed them all the way.

Ricochet Songs



More artists, more writing rooms, and more songs. KLP (aka Kristy Peters) has evolved the Ricochet Songs Workshop to empower even more epic artists. See how.

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