Townsville musos praised in QLD Music Awards

Townsville's Dan Baker has been named a Finalist for the 2020 Billy Thorpe Scholarship. IMAGE: Aden Rock Photography

Townsville musicians have put in a strong showing at the 2020 Queensland Music Awards (QMA), with four artists scooping up three Highly Commendeds and one Finalist nod between them.

Roots musician Dan Baker has been named as a Finalist for the prestigious Billy Thorpe Scholarship, with the winner to be announced at the Queensland Music Awards on 3 March 2020. Three of Dan’s fellow Townsville artists have also had their songwriting prowess recognised with Highly Commended awards – Miella Sartori in the Soul/Funk/RnB category, Motions in the Heavy music category, and Townsville-export Tayla Young in the Regional category.

For Dan, being named a Finalist for the Billy Thorpe Scholarship puts him well in the running for a $10,000 recording grant to help further his career.

Dan said being shortlisted helped instil confidence in the merits of his musical pursuits.

“I find one of the most challenging things as an individual songwriter is that you’re often feeding back into yourself,” said Dan.

“It’s hard to know if you’re making something valuable or wandering down the wrong path. When things are going well and you’re in tune to an audience, you can feel certain ideas landing or falling short but that still has to pass through the filter of your own interpretation. An acknowledgement from the industry such as this indicates that they also feel some of those ideas are worth sharing. And that’s incredibly encouraging.

“To be named alongside people I respect so much in the other finalists of 2020 and previous years is very inspiring. It makes me want to work hard enough to earn this place.”

Dan has been honoured alongside three other musicians: Harry Phillips, Hope D and Jaguar Jonze. Should he be successful, the Scholarship will afford Dan the opportunity to accelerate the release of new music.

“I had always planned to release my second collection of songs this year,” Dan said.

“At this stage that will likely be in the form of an EP which the scholarship would fund if I was lucky enough to be successful. However, greater resources would result in a more polished product. It also provides industry connections and mentoring which I could certainly use.”

But whether he walks away with the Scholarship or not, Dan is expecting 2020 to be a big one, with a slate of live performances planned in addition to hitting the studio.

“I’ve been lucky enough to secure some exciting festival spots which I hope to announce soon; and I’d like to tour again towards the end of the year as well in the hope of building on my last trip with Townsville’s Colie.”

Dan said the support for and between musicians in Townsville was critical to his success and that of other aspiring artists.

“Neighbourhood Sessions and HUXLEY Press were instrumental in helping secure this shortlisting. I’d also like to congratulate fellow Townsville musicians Tayla Young, Motions and Miella Sartori for being Highly Commended in the Queensland Music Awards announcements yesterday. We have a very special community here.”


The 2020 Queensland Music Awards will be held in Brisbane on 3 March 2020.

Catch Dan Baker supporting Vendulka in Townsville at the Bellevue Hotel on on 6 February 2020.

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