2023 APRA Professional Development Award Winners

Rebecca Varidel
15th Jun 2023


Alex Hosking, Andrea Guterres, Angeline Armstrong, Elizabeth M. Drummond, Georgia Delves, Luna Pan, Soli, Sophie Min and Vidya Makan share in a $120,000 cash prize pool
Yirrmal, Jem Cassar-Daley and Andrew Gurruwiwi take out the inaugural NATSIMO Professional Development Awards

A dynamic group of Australian songwriters and composers have been announced as the recipients of the 2023 APRA PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AWARDS (PDAs).
The APRA PDAs, a game-changing initiative presented by APRA AMCOS and NATSIMO (National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music Office) are an annual honour that exist to provide impactful support for emerging songwriters and composers across a range of genres by providing a $10,000 cash prize at a pivotal stage in their respective careers.
The 2023 PDAs showcase music creators across multiple disciplines, from Telenova’s Angeline Armstrong for popular contemporary, to pianist, composer and improviser Sophie Min, screen composer Luna Pan, Country & Americana artist Georgia Delves (Georgia State Line) and music theatre honouree Vidya Makan.
For the first time in 2023, NATSIMO honours three Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander songwriters:
Yirrmal (NATSIMO General), Jem Cassar-Daley (NATSIMO Youth) and Andrew Gurruwiwi (NATSIMO Senior), who performed with his band at today’s announcement.
“We are very proud to support the next chapter for the three inaugural NATSIMO PDA category winners: Yirrmal, Jem Cassar-Daley and Andrew Gurruwiwi. While each winner is at a different career and life stage, they are all on the cusp of an exciting next step in their songwriting and artistry,” said Leah Flanagan, Director, NATSIMO

“The NATSIMO created these categories to reflect the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music creator members and the professional strides they make in their own unique way. We are particularly proud to be able to recognise and award our senior songwriters who are admired and active contributors to the Australian musical and cultural landscape.”
A panel of judges comprising Jenny Morris, Ngaiire, Lance Ferguson, John Ferris, Neil Gooding, Mindy Meng Wang, Joel Ma, Sosefina Fuamoli, Fanny Lumsden, Jeremy Marou, Dave Ruby Howe, Nina Las Vegas and more have determined these impressive recipients who will each take home $10,000 cash as well as a prize from  Australis Music.


Angeline Armstrong - is an Asian Australian songwriter, performer and the lead singer/creative director of Australian alt-indie band Telenova. Past collabs include singer/creative director of beachwood alongside producer Jarrad Rogers (Charli XCX, Icona Pop, Lana Del Rey) and original compositions for the screen for Sesame Street Studios, Pirate Size Productions and the Australian Childrens Television Foundation. The previous two years has seen Telenova release two original EP records with all lead singles receiving broad national radio and international DSP support. In 2022, Angeline received the AMP Tomorrow Maker Award for her position as a role model and artist for Asian Australians, a Music Victoria nomination for Best Pop Work and an AIR Award nomination for Best Indie Album or EP. Telenova won the Breakthrough Independent Artist of the Year at the AIR Awards and were named Ticketmaster Breakthrough Artists of 2022. The band played shows across the UK including the Great Escape Festival and were lauded on the Guardian UK’s ‘Ones to Watch’ list.
Elizabeth M. Drummond – is a self-confessed misfit who wrote, recorded and self-produced her debut solo EP Congratulations in November 2022 after having left Little May, the band she started with childhood friends. Each track is accompanied by eye-catching visuals made in collaboration with cinematographer Rick Clifford, reflecting her pan-disciplinary approach to art, incorporating aspects of film, acting, theatre, dance and movement alongside her music. Support for her solo material has come domestically from the likes of triple j, community radio, Spotify’s New Music Friday and publications such as The Guardian. Internationally, Drummond has been championed by the likes of Jack Saunders as his Next Wave (BBC Radio 1), Guy Garvey of Elbow and via publications including The Sunday Times and Line of Best Fit. Her debut EP has gained 700,000 streams since the release in November 2022 with the entire catalogue of songs she has written being streamed over 200 million times on Spotify.

Andrea Guterres - is a composer and sound artist with a focus on electroacoustic music, interdisciplinary performance, and spatialised sound. After graduating from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Andrea relocated to The Netherlands, where she received her Masters in Composition from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. Andrea's work has been featured at international festivals, galleries, and concert halls throughout Australia, Europe, Asia, and the U.S. Highlights include Tilde New Music Festival (Melbourne), Gaudeamus Muziekweek (NL), Ars Electronica Forum Wallis (Switzerland), Klangraum Krems (Austria), National Sawdust (NYC), Neue Musik Lüneburg (Germany), and Sonicscape ‘New Music Day’ (South Korea), amongst many others. Her work has been commissioned by several revered venues in The Netherlands and she has worked with ensembles such as Ensemble Offspring (AUS), Nieuw Ensemble (NL), Ensemble Mise-En (US), Ensemble Black Pencil (NL), Block4 (UK), and the Blink Quartet (NL).

Georgia Delves - ARIA-nominated project Georgia State Line is the moniker of Naarm/Melbourne based songwriter and musician Georgia Delves and is brought to life by her innately talented band- Tom Brooks, Laura Baxter and Patrick Wilson. Their 2021 debut album In Colour is a coming-of-age, for not just the band but also its listeners.  Their unique brand of sound feels like home, a genuine and warm acknowledgment to the infinite possibilities of life. It is no surprise that the group have been nominated for a string of highly esteemed awards including ARIA and AIR Awards, and recently took home the trophy for Best Country Work at the 2022 Music Victoria Awards. They’ve performed as part of major festivals across Australia including CMC Rocks and Tamworth Music Festival and have warmed up the stage for major international acts like Justin Townes Earle and Eilen Jewell.

Alex Hosking - has been unstoppable for the past three years, traveling the globe and leaving a trail of songs behind her. She wanders between House Music and Pop stylings and has written more than 1000 songs over the past few years. Alex brought 2020 in with the smash Fake Friends collaboration with DJ PS1 from New York and made it into the top 20 Official Charts selling over 600,000 units and becoming a gold record with over 90 million streams. In April of 2021, their second single, Life Goes On cracked the top 40 and racked up over 30 million streams on Spotify alone achieving silver status with over 400,000 units sold. Alex bought in 2022 with WORKOUT, which reach over 130 million streams, following it up with Who Cares with Jonasu, reaching number 2 in the official charts.

Luna Pan - is an award-winning screen, advertising and game composer who studied piano and music theory from a young age and is now armed with Master of Arts degree in Orchestration for Film, Games and Television from University of Chichester. She has created soundtracks for feature films, TV programs (The Block, Bondi Rescue, The Traitors, Bluey, The Mole, etc.), commercials, documentaries, games and web productions. Luna won a Mentorship for Women in Music award held by APRA AMCOS in 2019 and won the contemporary female composer award and best orchestration from GEMS, Spain. Her composition recorded with the RTVE symphony orchestra Evolution was nominated by Hollywood Music in Media Awards in 2021 and her orchestral piece The Masquerade has been nominated again in 2022.

Soli - is one of the finest emerging R&B acts Melbourne has to offer. Having posted her first video online in 2011, she quickly built a name for herself, becoming widely known for her YouTube covers and Instagram ‘car jams’. In 2020 Soli made a powerful debut release with Be Free, featuring Canadian artist Mez Mariyè, in aims of using her voice to amplify the Black Lives Matter movement. Shortly after this, she released Mine with an Australian favourite, Timomatic, followed by her debut solo single Love Me. Having given her audience a taste of what’s to come, we now await her highly anticipated debut EP where Soli looks forward to showcasing new music as she taps into her many RnB, Soul and Afro influences. Exploring themes of self-love, gratitude, hardship and triumph, Soli’s heart behind her upcoming release is to truly impact and encourage the local and global community, through themes she believes aren’t explored enough in music today. Soli believes all listeners will be left feeling a sense of hope, and ultimately wishes to continue doing this through her music for many many years to come.

Sophie Min - is a Brisbane-based pianist, composer, and improvisor whose work shows a distinctive personal aesthetic and is one of the most outstanding young jazz musicians in Australia. Her accolades include ABC Jazz Emerging Talents of the Year, Australian Jazz Bell Awards, SIMA and APRA AMCOS Emerging Composers Fellowship, QMusic Awards, and the Freedman Fellowship.  Sophie has performed worldwide with the JM Jazz World Orchestra (EUR), the Centrum Jazz Port Townsend Workshop (US), Banff Workshop (Canada), Basel International Jazz Festival (Switzerland), Perth International Jazz Festival, Wangaratta International Jazz Festival, Melbourne’s Kawai Piano Series Concert and Sydney Women’s Jazz Festival. She has also written several commissions including We Made a Thing Nonet Project 2022 (WA) and Emerging Composers Program 2020 (NSW).
Her latest project, Sophie Min Orchestra (SMO), is a collective chamber jazz ensemble that released two albums Your Wings and Bellwether, which have received numerous awards and showcased its expertise to the Australian jazz scene.

Vidya Makan - is a critically acclaimed composer/lyricist and actor/singer. Her debut show The Lucky Country made its world premiere with Hayes Theatre Co this month. She was the inaugural recipient of the Create NSW New Musical Theatre Fellow, with book writer Tasnim Hossain. Through the fellowship, the pair were commissioned to write a new musical about South Asian families living in suburban Australia. In 2020, Vidya wrote, directed and produced the viral sensation and original song I NEED YOU TO SEE ME, a call to action to the entertainment industry for racial inclusivity. She is perhaps most well-known for originating the role of Catherine Parr in the Australian tour of SIX (Louise Withers). In 2019, she starred as Dot/Marie in Sunday In The Park With George (Watch This), a role which earned her a Green Room Award nomination for Best Performance In A Leading Role. Vidya’s performance credits also include Merrily We Roll Along, Once On This Island, Romeo and Juliet, Green Day’s American Idiot<_i> and many more. Vidya is a proud graduate of Griffith University Queensland Conservatorium Bachelor of Music (Musical Theatre) program.
NATSIMO (General)

Yirrmal - is the powerful voice of First Nations storytelling that we’re in awe of, and his singer-songwriter capabilities are a testament to his passionate outlook and contribution to his land and his ancestry. The rising star from the Rirratjingu clan group in the remote North East Arnhem Land community of Yirrkala evokes thought-provoking performances in captivating ways that make us grateful for the land we walk on and the people and beauty we’re surrounded by. After releasing his debut EP titled Youngblood in 2016, Yirrmal has been learning the sacred Rirratjingu songlines from his father Witiyana Marika (Yothu Yindi). In May 2021, he released a double single Dhaliwuy Bay and Get Happy, and in 2020 recorded a collection of bold and celebratory works produced by Andrew Farriss. Having co-written and featured with Baker Boy on the ARIA award winning 2021 album Gela with tracks Ride and Somewhere Deep, Yirrmal also co-wrote and featured on Marryuna which featured in the triple J Hottest 100.

Jem Cassar-Daley - has dazzled the Australian music scene since her debut in 2021.

Her first release EP I Don't Know Who to Call released in 2022 is a devastatingly gorgeous collection of her works to date, featuring singles Letting Go, Changes, Like it More and Oh No which have quickly gained her notoriety and adoration.  Jem’s captivating performances, stellar vocals and timeless songwriting have earned her the Indigenous Award at the 2022 Queensland Music Awards along with the New Talent of the Year at the 2022 NIMA’s, impressive Spotify and Apple editorial playlist support along with nationwide press including being named as the star to watch in 2023 in the Sunday Mail.
NATSIMO (Senior)

Andrew Gurruwiwi - Andrew Gurruwiwi Band are a high-energy, 7-piece funk and reggae band who honed their chops on the beach at Birrtjimi and in the dirt of Yirrkala, writing real funk jams in their native tongue. Their sound is truly fresh - Yolngu Funk - a style only hinted at previously on the impossible-to-find pair of 7-inches cut by George Rrurrambu & Birdwave. Just like King Stingray and Baker Boy before them, the Andrew Gurruwiwi Band are the next hot musical act to burst out of Arnhem Land. The band is led by the one and only Andrew Gurruwiwi - a shy-but-extravagant, blind, keytar-wielding Yolngu elder with a passion to make people dance while sharing his culture. Their explosive debut single Gatjumak has gone far and wide, turning many heads, and getting people excited about what’s to come.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music Office (NATSIMO) is an Indigenous-led initiative of APRA AMCOS and a peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music creators. We support the growth and development of songwriters and composers and advocate for a thriving, self-determined arm of the music industry.