Presenting our 2022 FBi SMAC Award Winners!
November 11th 2022
We are proud to announce the winners in the 2022 FBi Sydney Music, Arts & Culture (SMAC) Awards. Thousands had their say in the publicly voted awards recognising the musicians, artists, performers, eateries and events that left their mark on Sydney in 2022.
The winners (below) were announced during a ceremony at Powerhouse Ultimo last night, broadcast live on FBi 94.5FM. It marked the first in-person awards ceremony for FBi Radio in years, having pivoted to broadcast-only FBi SMAC Awards in 2020 and 2021 as a COVID-19 safety precaution. A big return and also a big night of firsts, Powerhouse Ultimo made its debut as the venue for the SMAC Awards as we opened the event to the public for the first time to almost a thousand attendees.
Hosted by FBi Radio broadcasters Dan Rispler and Nazlican Eren, the awards featured live performances from Kobie Dee, Milan Ring, and Optic Nerve. Malyangapa and Barkindji artist BARKAA was announced as an FBi SMAC Award winner for her third consecutive year, taking out the coveted award for Record of the Year with her album Blak Matriarchy as well as the award for Best Video with a film clip of the same name. Song of the Year was awarded to Chanel Loren for her debut UKG-inflected bop ‘Playlist’. 19 year old rapper/singer VV Pete’s unique fusion of sharp rap hooks, heavy club beats and global dance music scored her the 2022 FBi SMAC Award for Next Big Thing.
We are beyond thrilled to announce that the winner of the 2022 SMAC of the Year is Arts and Cultural Exchange (ACE), the Parramatta-based contemporary arts organisation working with emerging and under-represented Western Sydney communities, artists, musicians and creative producers. Announcing the SMAC of the Year award, our Managing Director Tanya Ali delivered a poignant speech about ACE’s work. See below.
Artist of the Year
Chun Yin Rainbow Chan
Chun Yin Rainbow Chan is a musician, vocalist, producer and multidisciplinary artist. Her wide body of work covers pop and techno territories, mind-bending sound design, poetry and audio-visual installations. She’s exhibited and performed around the world, all while working as an artist mentor and teaching at the Sydney Conservatorium. Her practice draws on her Hong Kong-Chinese heritage, exploring mistranslation, globalisation and the diaspora experience through silk paintings, traditional weaving, sound and performance. You might know her from recent work including multimedia pieces ‘Fruit Song 生果文’ at the National Art School, or ‘Sap 濕’ at Campbelltown Arts Centre, or from her performance at our recent FBi SMACS Fest.
Best Video presented by ALIZÉ
BARKAA – ‘Blak Matriarchy’
You can feel the weight of the gaze the Blak women cast in this video. BARKAA is the Malyangapa, Barkindji woman whose song unites voice and imagery in what is a powerful display of matriarchal strength and defiance. BARKAA speaks to the generations who’ve come before, the ones to come, and the ones living today who hold a fire to resilience despite trauma, empowerment despite oppression – to Blak Matriarchy. Set to a striking image of a burning waratah, brown earth beneath feet, and bathed in dark red light, this video captures an artist whose words are for many.
Dougal Muffet is the son of wheat farmers, and perhaps that lifelong connection is one reason the chef keenly bakes goods that are “softer on the land” and are more sustainable than your typical pies, breads, cakes and tarts. His interest in heritage grains and sourcing from the Gene Bank means AP Town pastries are produced with the environment in mind, and with a stone mill to draw on, Muffet and his team are able to turn lesser-known grains into well-baked wonders. A.P Town’s menu doesn’t overlook deliciousness either – from its peppery, cheesy pie made with native Warrigal greens to carrot cakes with burnt butter icing.
Best Arts Program
The Bearded Tit
Below the miniature wrecking ball on the awning of The Bearded Tit is a sign that reads “Free love not free beer”. It signifies the underlying ethos of the bar, gallery, creative space and Redfern institution, which is to inspire and empower intersecting communities by showcasing otherwise historically underrepresented creatives from queer and other communities. Owned by Joy Ng ‘and her ragtag band of misfits’, The Bearded Tit is a host to a diverse program of visual arts, talk series, live gigs, parties and performances. Highlights include the weekly Queerbourhood night of music and performances hosted by jonny seymour, Tit Talks panel series and quarterly visual arts program. Accessibility is a core value of The Tit, and all events are free.
Best Music Event presented by Heaps Normal
Athletica is a celebration of club music and the communities that gather around it. Created by Isa in 2019, this regular showcase of local and regional DJs delivers a high octane sensory smorgasbord designed to make you dance, and make you sweat. A proudly queer event, Athletica has grown into a safe space for self-expression for DJs and dancers alike, and has garnered a reputation for spotlighting DJs pushing boundaries in their respective scenes.
Next Big Thing presented by Ace Hotel Sydney
At 19 years old, Vv Pete’s confidence and swagger is infectious. Everything from her press shots to her bars, “I don’t want a new mans imma blockiana,” paint a picture of a young rapper already comfortable in the spotlight. After hyping crowds at venues including Oxford Art Factory for FBi Radio’s SMACS Fest, supporting Dallas Woods on his national tour and taking over The Opera House for Street University Experience, the Mount Druitt based, Sundanese rapper/ singer made waves with her debut single ‘Bussit’ earlier this year. With her unique fusion of sharp rap hooks, heavy club beats and global dance music, VV is forging a genre-bending flavour of Australian rap that is hers alone.
Best Live Act presented by Young Henrys
Kobie Dee is a Gomeroi man, rapper and master storyteller from Bidjigal Land in Maroubra, South Sydney. His latest single ‘Basics’ features deep bass and heavy drums with emotive lyricism that traces his roots all the way to where he is now, connecting with his audience through his own narrative. This is an artist who’s spent countless hours honing the craft of performing live – a dedication that’s paid off in a very big way in 2022. He started his year with a huge headline regional tour through Gomeroi Country, and has recently played his first headline shows in both Sydney and Melbourne, for which he was joined by UK rapper and The Guardian’s Ones To Watch artist, Jords. Kobie also showcased his new material in Germany in September as part of the Import Export Open festival program, Wor(l)d Connects presents: Conscious HipHop, Roots & Spoken Word between Sydney, London and Munich. If that weren’t enough, Kobie’s dynamic and exciting performances have earned him a spot on the Spilt Milk lineup, where he’ll play in Canberra, Ballarat and the Gold Coast across November and December.
Song of the Year presented by Fireball Cinnamon Whisky
Chanel Loren – ‘Playlist’
Chanel Loren delivered one of the most unforgettable debut singles of the year in the form of ‘Playlist’. A bouncy, UKG-inflected earworm that’s a testament to knowing your worth even when someone else pretends not to know it. An end to end masterclass in addictive vocal hooks, Chanel Loren self-assuredly reflects on a faded past flame who has moved on, but who she knows won’t be able to forget about her. She’s right. Even if that jerk changed their ‘Playlist’ – this one will be stuck in your head daily.
Record of the Year
BARKAA – ‘Blak Matriarchy’
‘Blak Matriarchy’ is the highly anticipated debut EP from Malyangapa, Barkindji rapper BARKAA. Having already established herself as a masterful storyteller with a unique, characteristically fierce and rapid-fire delivery, BARKAA’s debut cemented her place as one of the most vital figures in local hip-hop. An embodiment and celebration of BARKAA’s matriarchal ancestors, her family and Blak women throughout the generations, ‘Blak Matriarchy’ is a heartfelt testament to independence and a staunch indictment of the colonial mindset.
SMAC of the Year
Arts and Cultural Exchange (ACE)
“The 2022 SMAC of the Year recipient is a shining example of how when arts and community collide, they create an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. With programming that spans music, arts, literature and so much more, they have incubated and continue to nurture an enormous slew of local talent.
“They’ve been serving Western Sydney communities, artists, musicians, producers since 1984. But this year they debuted a new name, ushering in a new era of projects that we have no doubt will make their mark for decades to come.
A special shout out to programs like Club Weld, a skills and creative development program for musicians on the autism spectrum; Barbershop, a barbering mentorship program led by Charles Lomu; Western Sydney Book Club, shining a light on the mind-blowing literature coming out of the Area right now; New Age Noise, which has been formative in the beginnings of so many musicians you love. I could stand here literally all night rattling these off – but I think it’s time I throw to them. I am honoured to announce that the 2022 SMAC of the Year goes to Arts and Cultural Exchange aka ACE.”