“No one could have ever prepared me for the whole world judging me and comparing to other artists. But what’s most important is that you have to be a good person and care about others and carry yourself well,” she said.
“Thank you to Australia for letting me know that I’m OK just the way that I am.”
Tones and I’s third award resulted in the night’s major gaffe. The presenters were handed the wrong envelope and mistakenly announced Paul Kelly as the winner of best independent release before Watson was eventually given the award.
The wins cap off a remarkable year for the singer, during which Dance Monkey set an all-time ARIA singles chart record with 17 weeks at number one (and counting), topped pop charts in 27 countries, and earned 1 billion streams globally.
The singer was the top winner at Wednesday’s awards, held at Sydney’s The Star with international guests including Halsey, Dua Lipa, Khalid and Carly Rae Jepsen.
Surprisingly, for all its unprecedented international accolades, Dance Monkey was shunned in the fan-voted song of the year prize, which instead went to the evening’s host Guy Sebastian for his emotional single Choir. Sebastian also claimed another fan-voted win for best video for the song. It’s been 15 years since he first won an ARIA as a fresh-faced contestant off Australian Idol.
Singer-songwriter Dean Lewis also took home two prizes, including the evening’s top album of the year award for his chart-topping A Place We Knew. He was also crowned best male artist, a stunning result for what was the 32-year-old’s debut album after a string of chart-topping singles and heavy anticipation.
Soul-blues lifers The Teskey Brothers – who’ve plugged away in country pubs for over a decade before earning critical attention with this year’s Run Home Slow – were the night’s other big winners, claiming best group and best blues & roots album.
In a groundbreaking result, Zambian-born and Melbourne-based rapper Sampa The Great became the first ever female artist to claim the ARIAs’ best hip-hop release prize for her acclaimed Ninja Tune album Final Form. The 26-year-old beat out perennial favourites Hilltop Hoods and Illy for the award.
In contrast to the raft of first-time winners, the ceremony also recognised a number of industry veterans.
Paul Kelly took his ARIAs tally to 15 with a win for best adult contemporary album for Nature, while Human Nature, who are celebrating a career now stretching into its 30th year, were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. Promoter Michael Chugg was given the ARIA industry icon award in honour of over 50 years of leading local and international tours.
The night’s other winners included recent Grammy-nominees Rufus Du Sol for best dance release for Solace, Melbourne singer Kaiit for best soul/R&B release for Miss Shiney, festival faves Amyl and the Sniffers for best rock album, Morgan Evans’ Things That We Drink To for best country album, Northlane’s Alien for best hard rock/heavy metal album, and Dan Sultan who fended off The Wiggles to win best children’s album for his playful Nali & Friends.
with Josh Dye
2019 ARIA Award Winners
Album Of The Year: Dean Lewis – A Place We Knew (Island Records Australia/Universal Music Australia)
Best Male Artist: Dean Lewis – A Place We Knew (Island Records Australia/Universal Music Australia)
Best Female Artist: Tones And I – Dance Monkey (Bad Batch Records/Sony Music)
Best Dance Release: RÜFÜS DU SOL – Solace (Rose Avenue Records/Sony Music Australia)
Best Group: The Teskey Brothers – Run Home Slow (Ivy League Records)
Breakthrough Artist: Tones And I – Dance Monkey (Bad Batch Records/Sony Music)
Best Pop Release: Tones And I – Dance Monkey (Bad Batch Records/Sony Music)
Best Hip Hop Release: Sampa The Great – Final Form (Ninja Tune/Inertia Music)
Best Soul/R&B Release: Kaiit – Miss Shiney (Alt. Music Group/Ditto Music)
Best Independent Release: Tones And I – The Kids Are Coming (Bad Batch Records/Sony Music)
Best Rock Album: Amyl and The Sniffers – Amyl and The Sniffers (Flightless Records)
Best Adult Contemporary Album: Paul Kelly – Nature (EMI Music Australia)
Best Country Album: Morgan Evans – Things That We Drink To (Warner Music Nashville)
Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album: Northlane – Alien (UNFD)
Best Blues & Roots Album: The Teskey Brothers – Run Home Slow (Ivy League Records)
Best Children’s Album: Dan Sultan – Nali & Friends (ABC Music/Universal Music Australia)
Best Comedy Release: Arj Barker – Organic (Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Best Video presented by YouTube Music: Guy Sebastian – Choir (Sony Music Australia)
Best Australian Live Act: Hilltop Hoods – The Great Expanse World Tour (Hilltop Hoods/Island Records Australia/Universal Music Australia)
Song Of The Year presented by YouTube Music: Guy Sebastian – Choir (Sony Music Australia)
Best International Artist: Taylor Swift – Lover (UNI/UMA)
Telstra ARIA Music Teacher of the Year: Antonio Chiappetta (St Andrews College, Marayong, NSW)
Robert Moran is a culture reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age