I was very honoured to attend the Australian Women Music Awards in Brisbane 9-10 October. The inaugural award ceremony, was a special night, paying homage to the women involved in every aspect of the music industry; not only performers, songwriters, but women who are photographers, involved with studio production and live production, composers who score film and television, as well as influences and educators.

I was chosen as part of a regional delegate that were able to attend panel discussions, the keynote address by legendary Kate Ceberano, concluding with an awesome awards ceremony celebration. The night ended with the performance of Do Re Mi; if you don’t know who they are, look them up!

I really enjoyed the panel discussions on a great range of topics;

Singing Our Stories; Our Place, Music, Makers, Mentors and the Future is Female.

I think that more of these events need to be held. It gives up the space to speak about what things that are concerning us as performers in what is conventionally a man’s world. Now this post, is not to be hateful of men. The best music mentor I’ve ever had was my Dad. He gave me my love and interest in music and also gave me the guitar. He also never said I couldn’t ever have a musical career. So I give my thanks to and for him.

A young performer asked a question at one of the panel discussions and it was really had a profound impact on me;

How come Paul Kelly can write about any topic and the song is universally loved and if I wanted to write a song about abortion, I’m told not too?

Yes. How come that is so? I am hearing crickets now and I’m betting no one will answer that. Or they will try to attempt to answer it, but take the long way to get there. Or make some other excuse. But hey, I’m up for open and honest discussion. 😊

I think, no matter what your gender, the world needs stories. The world needs these stories more then ever. The world needs you to be brave and bold and to share your thoughts and feelings. I might be bias, but I think you are FUCKING LUCKY if you can do that through music, songwriting, writing, poetry, painting - whatever your artistic medium.

So I say… Don’t be afraid, little one. Write whatever you want to write. It’s your expression and its your lived truth. It’s your words and that’s the beauty about it! Your words.

The women who were nominated and the award winners are doing what they do because they are not afraid to share their stories nor do they care about societal gender norms. And I say good on them. And it’s such a privilege to look up to them, be surrounded by them and soak up all of their knowledge.

I just want to end off this blog post by saying, that a beautiful tribute was performed to the late, great and might Chrissy Amphlett. A true pioneer of women in rock in Australia. My heart just broke a little and I cried. 💔😭

Megan Sarmardin