The UpStart Award will be adjudicated by an independent panel of artists and Victorian music industry experts.

This year’s panel consists of:

GENA ROSE BRUCE – Gena was UpStart’s 2019 winner. Her debut album, Can’t Make You Love Me, is an intoxicating ride through love, lust, surrender and revival. Bruce’s mesmerising vocals drive this album; a stirring force amidst the pulsing rhythms, echoes of Mazzy Star and Lynchian undertones. With its infectious melodies and biting lyricism, Can’t Make You Love Me is as playful as it is confessional. Gena is currently finishing her new album and has recently been announced as a finalist in the 2022 APRA AMCOS Professional Development Awards.

DAVE GRANEY – Dave is a legend of Australian music. Nominations and awards abound, including an ARIA in 1997. He started out in the Moodists; next came Dave Graney and the Coral Snakes, then Dave Graney and the MistLY. Since the beginning he has collaborated with Clare Moore. Dave and Clare’s current album, Everything Was Funny, was nominated at the 2018 OZFLIX awards for best original soundtrack for the Donna McRae film, Lost Gully Road. Dave has been involved in the writing, production, recording, mixing and releasing of approximately 40 albums. He has written 3 books. Dave and Clare were inducted into the South Australian Music Hall of Fame in December 2019.

SUZANNE BENNETT – co-owner of THE BASEMENT DISCS in Melbourne for the past 25 years, Suzanne has been involved in independent music retail for almost 40 years.  She is passionate about promoting, nurturing & spreading the word re all good music that she comes across, but in particular is a massive supporter of independent artists, both through selling instore & online, and of course via Basement Disc’s famous & highly regarded in-store performances.

JASON MOORE – Whilst dabbling in karaoke, pool and beach cricket, Jas hosts the emerging Antipodean show “Local &/or General” on Triple R, books bands for the Northcote Social Club and Corner Hotel, and manages The Harpoons + Sui Zhen. Jas is a true champion of emerging artists having supported the likes D.D Dumbo, Methyl Ethel, Aldous Harding, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Sampa The Great and Grammy winning/nominated acts Lorde, Courtney Barnett, Hiatus Kaiyote along with many more.

MYLES O’NEIL-SHAW – PBS announcer for over 15 years including host of “Five Feet High and Rising” since 2005. The show specialises in all things alt-country, Americana and singer-songwriter – both international and local.

CRISPIE – Crispie has been an announcer on PBS FM in Melbourne for over 14 years. Apart from a 5-year stint on the Breakfast Spread from 2011-2015, his show, Radio City (1-3pm Thursdays), has been on air since 2008. Crispie has a wide knowledge across a broad range of music and also regularly DJs at many venues around Melbourne.

SARAH HAMILTON – Sarah runs Ditto Music’s Australian office, and helps artists and labels distribute and market their music globally to platforms like I-Tunes, Spotify, Shazam and hundreds of others. Working with over 150,000 artists worldwide, and with office in the USA, UK, Australia, Africa, Brazil and Sweden, Ditto works with artists to get their music online, but also to maximise their reach globally via tools like Spotify playlists, PR, social media and online marketing.