FBi SMAC Awards: 2018 Winners!

February 26th 2019

SMAC of the Year recipient Emily Collins // Photo cred: Tim da-Rin

Here it is, 2018’s cream of the cultural crop as voted by you!

The FBi SMAC Award winners were just announced during a ceremony at Carriageworks, broadcast live on FBi 94.5FM. Hosted by FBi Radio alumnae Hannah and Eliza Reilly, the awards also featured live performances from Slim Set, Milan Ring and 100.

And we’re beyond thrilled to announce that the winner of the 2018 SMAC of the Year is Emily Collins. As the Managing director of MusicNSW, Emily has been at the coalface supporting and empowering artists and industry professionals in testing times, while simultaneously working behind the scenes as a passionate and effective advocate for change at the government level.


Best Artist

Justin Shoulder

Shapeshifter Justin Shoulder crafts creatures that collide a forgotten past with a far future. Drawing from queered ancestral mythologies, these alter personas come to life in his performances, conceiving darkly sensuous imaginary worlds that make us question our own. Justin uses his body and craft to spark connections between queer, migrant, spiritual and intercultural experiences. In 2018 Justin Shoulder went from strength to strength, performing locally and internationally performing his feature length theatre work, Carrion, and presenting projects for Club Ate with Bhenji Ra.


Best Arts Program

Sissy Ball

Inspired by NYC’s iconic vogue ballroom scene, Sissy Ball collides style and precision on the runway to celebrate self-expression and identity. Curated by multidisciplinary artist and House of Slé mother, Bhenji Ra, in collaboration with Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and Redbull Music, the 2018 ball was a sellout event and will be returning in 2019 to high anticipation. Sissy Ball shines a spotlight on Asia Pacific’s burgeoning vouge scene, showcasing the fiercest local talent alongside legends of the vouge scene as they battle it out on the runway with dance, movement, fashion and flair.


Best Eats


Paperbark in Waterloo takes vegan dining to the next level – thoroughly crushing the stereotype that it’s overpriced health food and showing that meat-less dishes can be full of knockout flavour. The team behind plant-based ventures, Verd and Alfie’s Kitchen, have teamed up to create a fine-dining take on vegan food that’s powered by Indigenous and local ingredients. Think black sesame and charcoal tostadas with pumpkin and toasted wattleseed as well as paperbark-smoked mushrooms topped with finger lime and banked on macadamia cream. And the drinks list also celebrates local, small-producer winemakers with a sustainable mindset.


Best Live Act – presented by Young Henrys

Sampa The Great

In a city swamped with excellent neo-soul acts, Sampa The Great has always stood out. Having recently moved to Melbourne, the Zambia-born, Botswana-raised artist continues to put on stellar live shows. 2018 was a huge year for Sampa, with her poetic, soul-tinged hip hop touring Europe, opening for Kendrick Lamar and Joey Bada$$, and Sampa dropping her award-winning Birds and the Bee9 mixtape. Sampa has always said her stage name was more of an aspiration than an accurate self-description, and with each passing year that’s beginning to sound more modest. Now one of the country’s most recognisable hip hop acts, Sampa’s live shows maintain their trademark intimacy regardless of how big they get.


Best Music Event – presented by Fireball Cinnamon Whisky

Soft Centre

In its second year SOFT CENTRE once again pulled off an impeccably curated one-day festival of radical performance art, installations, one-off collaborations and an awesome lineup of electronic music with the likes of Andy Garvey, Slim Set, Fabrics and more. In transforming the huge, industrial spaces of the Casula Powerhouse, SOFT CENTRE succeeded in not only presenting a stunning mix of music and art but also got people to venture out of the inner city bubble, to expose them to the artistic bounty Greater Western Sydney has on offer. The spaces were carefully thought-out and each performer involved brought something rare and innovative.


Best On Stage

Dark Emu – Bangarra Dance Theatre

A response to Bruce Pascoe’s illuminating book, Dark Emu by Bangarra Dance Company is an innovative work that reframes attitudes towards and legitimises the traditional land practices of pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians; practices that have historically been dismissed. Artistic Director, Stephen Page’s quest to debunk the colonial myths that were used to justify Indigenous dispossession is a courageous pursuit. It is because of this ambition that the work is such a triumph. The work reveals itself through a series of choreographed stories; the dazzling movement of the dancers against low light and an undulating soundscape mesmerising audiences. Captivating and raw, Dark Emu questions history and reconstructs it’s meaning.


Next Big Thing – presented by Southern Comfort


Kwame has been putting out music for a couple of years now, but since debuting ‘WOW’ in February and dropping his Endless Conversations EP in March the Hills District rapper has really started to see his hard work pay off. Since then, he’s opened at Splendour, sold out headline shows, toured with Peking Duk, supported Skepta and Migos, and been named Triple J Unearthed Artist of the Year. Backed up by increasingly slick production, Kwame’s dense flow exudes a rare kind of dedication and self-belief. With his latest single ‘CLOUDS’ a strong summer jam contender, Kwame seems set to follow a huge year with an even bigger one.


Best Song

WOW – Kwame

“WOW” is an apt description for the heat Kwame brings to this, his breakout single. “Wowza,” “woah” and “pshaw” work too. With a year-long gap between the release of his debut EP Lesson Learned, Kwame took time to refine his DIY production and prep this mighty follow up with his latest EP Endless Conversations. The production is playful and unique with eclectic percussion and bass that compels you to move. The track boasts killer line including what is hands down the greatest pop culture reference in Australian rap (“I feel like Taylor, man I’m mortified”). The sharp wordplay and addictive beat keeps you hooked from start to finish.


Record of the Year

Area Famous – B Wise

The long-anticipated debut full-length from B Wise belies its scale and sense of ambition with a relatively modest title: Area Famous. Growing up, B Wise simply wanted to be known as a good rapper throughout his hometown of Liverpool. Instead, he’s crafted a record which speaks to much more. An affectionate ode to the vibrant multi-culturalism of South-Western Sydney, where “fibro and brick are intermixed”, where cultures flow in and out of one another without delineation and where respect, loyalty and aspiration are valued above all else, Area Famous reflects B Wise’s upbringing with a generously collaborative spirit and an omnivorous musical appetite. The finished product of years spent refining his craft in the underground, Area Famous is a record which could’ve only been made by B Wise and which could’ve only been born from a place like South-Western Sydney, an authentic artifact of contemporary Australia and a powerful testament to the multiculturalism that suffuses Sydney.


SMAC of the YEAR

Emily Collins

Introducing Emily at the ceremony, FBi Radio’s Managing Director Nikki Brogan said:

“The SMAC of the Year this year goes to a person who shares our belief that a vibrant viable culture is a legitimate public interest, and she has worked tirelessly to arrest the contraction of the music industry in NSW.

On the ground she’s provided invaluable hands-on support to artists and industry. With an eye always on who comes next, she’s made sure these offerings are accessible and relevant to people across the age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and ability spectrums.

At the same time as working to sustain the industry in all its diversity through this difficult period, she’s been instrumental in triggering the change we’re seeing in our politics. She’s been a driving force behind the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Music and Arts Economy, an advisor to the Callinan Review into the lockout laws, Deputy chair of the Australian Music Industry Network and member of the Cities, Nightlife and Creative Sector advisory panel.

Without fanfare, she has built a comprehensive case for culture in our state, helped unite a disparate industry around it and taken it with iron resolve to the corridors of power.”



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