Whatever head start he may have had, Sebastian long ago proved his staying power and talent. Since his debut album topped the charts in 2004, he has racked up a staggering 32 ARIA award nominations. But of his six wins, two were for having the highest-selling single of the year. None have come in the industry-voted categories. His peers, it seems, continue to offer the cold shoulder.
You might argue that his hosting this year’s telecast counts as acknowledgement of some sort. But arguably it speaks as much to his worth as a Channel Nine personality (as one of the coaches on The Voice) as it does to the value placed on his contributions to the Australian music industry.
Sebastian is unlikely to say so publicly, but it must rankle a little.
Meanwhile Toni Watson – better known as Tones and I – is likely pinching herself this morning, having won four of the eight awards for which she was nominated. But the 26-year-old from Melbourne’s Frankston way might also be scratching her head a little, wondering how on earth she did not collect the song of the year award.
Remember this is a publicly voted category. The public have bought and streamed her single Dance Monkey for months, keeping it at number one on the ARIA charts for a staggering 17 weeks – longer than any song before it, beating out the all-conquering ginger Pom, Ed Sheeran.
It is the public (admittedly not all of them Australian) who has watched the video for the song more than 233 million times on YouTube, and has streamed it more than 1 billion times worldwide.
By any measure, and regardless of whether you like it or not, these factors suggest that Dance Monkey is far and away the song of the year. Nothing else comes close. And yet the voting public decided the award should go to Choir. Go figure.
Yes indeed. They really are funny things, awards.