The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) today announced that the ARIA Award for Best Breakthrough Artist has been renamed the “Michael Gudinski Breakthrough Artist ARIA Award”, in honour of the late Michael Gudinski AM, who passed away on 2 March 2021.
The renamed award will honour the work and legacy of Michael Gudinski, Chairman of the Mushroom Group of Companies, and recognises Michael’s immense and irreplaceable contribution to signing, developing and championing Australian artists and music both locally and internationally.
Annabelle Herd, CEO of ARIA, said: “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. The inaugural ‘Michael Gudinski Breakthrough Artist ARIA Award’ will be presented for the first time at this year’s 2021 ARIA Awards.”
“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,” said Denis Handlin AO, Chairman of ARIA. “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.”
The ARIA Award for Breakthrough Artist was first presented in 1987, before the award was split into two, being Breakthrough Album and Breakthrough Single in 1989. The awards were then merged under the single “Best Breakthrough Artist Award” in 2010. Artists signed to the Mushroom Group of labels that have won the Award include The Badloves, Frente, George, Deni Hines, Ian Moss and Youth Group.
Michael Gudinski founded independent record label, Mushroom Records, in May 1972, following his foray into the music industry two years prior. The label became the largest independent label ever in Australia’s music history. Michael’s artist roster included Skyhooks, Split Enz, Jimmy Barnes, Kylie Minogue, Archie Roach, Hunters & Collectors, Paul Kelly, The Angels and Yothu Yindi. More recently, artists including Vance Joy, The Temper Trap, Dan Sultan, Julia Jacklin, Mark Seymour, Faith No More, The Rubens, The Teskey Brothers, Violent Soho and Jack River have joined the esteemed roster.