Breakthrough Indigenous contemporary music pilot initiative

Indigenous artists

[The] Breakthrough Program has been the most important break in our music career so far.
—Thomas Busby of Busby Marou, 2009 Breakthrough recipient


Please note that this pilot initiative is being evaluated and funding is not currently available. Further details will be provided here when available.

The Breakthrough: Emerging Indigenous Contemporary Musicians Recording Initiative (Breakthrough) provides funding to emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander musicians and bands to produce a high quality recording of original tracks, suitable for broadcasting and commercial release. The program aims to provide greater exposure for the talent and creativity of Indigenous musicians as well as increase national and international audiences for Australian Indigenous contemporary music.

Breakthrough provides funding of up to $25,000 per successful applicant for eligible costs to help produce a high quality recording of their original tracks.

Previous Breakthrough recipients

The 2012 Breakthrough artists were:

  • Radical Son—a Sydney-based soul singer, rapper and spoken word artist who performs with a seven-piece band. 
  • B2M—a six member Tiwi Island group who performs rhythm and blues, pop, rap and dance beats in English and Tiwi.
  • Sunshine Reggae Band—a six member group from Ikuntji (Haasts Bluff), 250 kilometres west of Alice Springs, who play desert reggae in their local Luritja language and English.

The 2010 Breakthrough artists were:

  • The Medics—a four member indie group from Cairns, Queensland
  • Whitehouse—a four member funk/rap/rock group from Sydney, New South Wales
  • Sue Ray—a country/folk singer/songwriter from Toowoomba, Queensland, and
  • The Iwantja band—a five member desert reggae/blues/heavy metal group from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in South Australia.

In 2009, Breakthrough funding was provided to:

  • Busby Marou—alternative/country duo from Rockhampton, Queensland
  • Leah Flanagan Band—country/folk/world music band from Darwin, Northern Territory
  • Microwave Jenny—folk/jazz duo based in New South Wales Central Coast and Wagga Wagga
  • Stiff Gins—folk/country duo from Sydney, New South Wales, and
  • Street Warriors—hip hop/rap group of three from Newcastle and Sydney, New South Wales.

Image credits

(left to right): Busby Marou, photo: Dane Beesly; Iwantja Band, photo: Patrick McCloskey; Leah Flanagan, photo: Polly Armstrong; Street Warriors ‘I Rep for My Mob' photo: Peter Collie; The Medics, photo: Hailey Bartholomew.