Andrew Stone, CEO of Chugg Music, was named manager of the year at the 2023 AAM Awards, held Thursday (April 27) at Sydney’s Crowbar.
Alongside legendary concerts promoter Michael Chugg, Stone guides the Sydney-based independent music company, and manages the careers of Lime Cordiale, Sheppard, Teenage Dads, Mia Rodriguez, Mason Watts, and Casey Barnes.
Managers are the “steady hand” for artists,” Australia’s freshly-anointed top manager explained. “We’re specialized generalists, we’re visionaries in terms of seeing the potential in artists and being able to pull together teams that can turn something that’s almost there to something world-beating, a global phenomenon. That’s an incredibly powerful skill and that’s what people look to us for.” Ask questions of your peers and “stick at it,” he concluded from the podium.
Now in its second year, the AAM Awards are organized by the Association of Artist Managers, to celebrate the domestic and international achievements of the Australian artist management community.
Also during the lunchtime presentation, Young Strangers director Jane Slingo won the community engagement award. Slingo, who manages Sampology and Middle Name Dance Band, led 12 months of consultation across the NSW music sector, and collaboratively developed the “Vote Music” policy paper and election campaign. As a result of her work, the NSW Labor government entered — and won — the recent state election with a pledge to pump $103 million into the music industry.
Slingo also designed and executed the “Cultural Union,” which funded five Australian acts to visit to the U.K. to perform, write and collaborate.
After collecting her trophy, Slingo was promptly invited back to the stage to receive the “Patron’s Greatest Hits” plaque.
The lunchtime ceremony was presented ahead of the 2023 APRA Music Awards, with former triple j presenter Gen Fricker on emcee duties, and special guest performance from singer-songwriters Julia Jacklin and Dean Brady.
Breakthrough manager of the year went to Powerhouse’s Charlotte Ried, who has enjoyed success with Gretta Ray, who she co manages with Jamie-Rose Fowler; and with Blusher, which recently signed to Atlantic/Warner; and with Polish Club, who secured a sync with the NRL/NRLW 2023 season.
Meanwhile, the APRA AMCOS Lighthouse Award went to Sundowner Artists’ Simone Ubaldi, who manages the careers of Amyl & The Sniffers, Grace Cummings, Nice Biscuit, Baby Cool and Girl & Girl. Ubaldi was recipient of the manager of the year at the inaugural 2022 event.
Other winners included Ricky Simandjuntak, who bagged the Patron’s Gift, a cash prize intended to give the recipient a much-deserved leg-up. Simandjuntak was recognized for his work discovering Sampa the Great, developing The Kid Laroi, and guiding the homegrown hip-hop act ONEFOUR.
The big prize, however, went to Melody Management chief Michael McMartin, co-founder of the founder of AAM, Trafalgar Records, and decades-long manager for Hoodoo Gurus, the ARIA Hall of Fame inducted rock.
Fellow artist manager John Watson inducted McMartin, whom he declared the “greatest Canadian export since Neil Young.”
With his acceptance speech, McMartin recounted some his memorable victories in the music industry, and how they were invariably facilitated through collaboration, and a united front.
Check out the 2023 AAM winners below.
Manager of the Year
Presented by Oztix – Andrew Stone, Chugg Music
Breakthrough Manager of the Year
Presented by Select Music – Charlotte Ried, Powerhouse Management
Community Engagement Award
Presented by Live Event Logistics – Jane Slingo, Young Strangers
Presented by Frontier Touring – Michael McMartin (OAM), Melody Management
Presented by AAM Patrons and 2023 Legacy Award Winner – Ricky Simandjuntak, When Worlds Collide