Gold Coast Music Awards Judging Panel 2024

Kirsty Abrahams

Gold Coast Music Network (Judging Panel Administrator)

Kirsty is the Program and Industry Coordinator for the Gold Coast Music Network and Awards. Her role as the judging panel administrator is to provide insight to the judges to assist them in making informed decisions on the day of judging. Kirsty has been apart of the GCMA judging since 2019. Her day to day job is on the ground and in the pit with the artists, bands and other music industry workers here on the Gold Coast. Kirsty is passionate about career sustainability in the music industry and has a Masters Degree in International Music Business where she studied the impacts music cities have around the world. Kirsty has a desire to see the Gold Coast established as an Internationally recognised Music City. You can read more about Kirsty’s industry experience via her team profile.


George Carpenter

Producer, Musician

George Carpenter is a Gold Coast based producer, songwriter, recording engineer and mixer. He has worked with many talented and award winning artists and bands over the past 10 years including Karl S. Williams, Ash Grunwald, Emily Grace Taylor, Eimhin, Will Hearn, Eils & The Drip, Willie J & The Bad Books, Heavy Wax, Okmattcollins, Hollow Coves and Budjerah. A passionate music fan and lifelong lover of the Gold Coast music scene, George is honoured to be a part of this year’s Gold Coast Music Awards judging panel.

Dan Carroll

Dan Carroll

City of Gold Coast

Dan Carroll is a songwriter and has been playing in bands and independently releasing music on the Gold Coast since the late 90s. Current project City Over Sand has released numerous singles, two EP’s and a full length album. Dan is a strong advocate for the local music scene having spent the last 14 years driving contemporary music projects, funding and strategy for the City of Gold Coast Council.

DVNA in a car


Performer / Producer / Songwriter

Multi-instrumentalist, singer songwriter and producer DVNA (pronounced DAR-NA) has been turning heads since her project’s genesis in 2017. Her career has already racked up an impressive resume including 28M+ Spotify streams, collaborations with popular Billboard US artist Blackbear, receiving a Gold Record for her work with TOBIAHS, winning Song Of The Year at The Gold Coast Music awards (Looking Like A Snack) and a win at the Queensland Music Awards. DVNA has supported the likes of Baker Boy, MAY-A, LEISURE, Alice Ivy, Tia Gostelow, Arno Faraji and performed at various music festivals including LANEWAY, Springtime, Golden Shores, The Mountain Goat Valley Crawl, Jungle Love and Arcadia. She was named triple j Unearthed Feature Artist in January 2020 and showcased at BIGSOUND 2019. Currently, DVNA is working closely with APRA AMCOS facilitating workshops across the east coast and developing music programs for youth right here on the Gold Coast.


HOTA (Home Of The Arts)

Starting her Career as an audio engineer, Rachael Edwards has always had a love of music. From classical, musicals to Hard rock. She studied Music at the conservatorium of Music in Queensland and then took her career oversees supporting various musicals and bands. Most recently, she has taken the role of Producer-Children’s and Family Entertainment and Music at HOTA and loves being able to support both Local and international musicians in the venue.


Major Events Gold Coast

Zac Fahey has been living and breathing music for the past 20 years. Starting his career as a musician he eventually gravitated towards the industry, cutting his teeth at the label services company Footstomp Music. Footstomp saw him working on everything from booking venues and managing artists to heading up publicity campaigns for international touring artists. In recent years Zac turned to freelancing, lending his expertise to BLEACH*, BIGSOUND, Gold Coast Film Festival and TAFE QLD as well as writing the monthly new music column for Blank GC. At the formation of Major Events Gold Coast in 2020 Zac was brought on board as the music programmer for the organisations owned events including Springtime, Blues On Broadbeach, Cooly Rocks on and Groundwater Country Music Festival.

Omar Hanlon

Bass Guitarist, Music Director, Production Manager, Tour Manager

Omar first picked up a bass guitar in 1995 – a 9th birthday gift from his dad, whose footsteps he’s followed. He started rehearsing in his older brother’s funk/rock band which took out the 1998 QLD Battle of the Bands when he was just 12 and by the age of 13 was playing jazz and blues gigs every weekend with mentor David Watson. He lost his father, Tommy Hanlon –  a session drummer and notable Gold Coast music identity – at just 15 and then spent years developing and crafting his skills, touring nationally and internationally with artists such as Stan Walker, The Commitments and 80s legends Wa Wa Nee. It was while on the road with Wa Wa Nee that Omar heard his mother had been diagnosed with Cancer and soon lost her battle – and that was the catalyst for pursuing his own original music with his Hanlon Brothers. He furthered his music studies at the Queensland Conservatorium and later completed a Bachelor of Contemporary Music from Southern Cross University.  For the last 20 years Omar has toured North America, Europe, New Zealand and Australia as a Musical Director, Tour Manager and session musician. He now performs music full-time, including as a member of Amy Shar’s band and also teaches the Bachelor of Contemporary Music.

Tara Hart

The Emerging Musician

Tara Hart is founder of The Emerging Musician, a home to information, education, opportunities and support for aspiring musicians. She is also founder of Parents Who Manage, a nationwide network of people who are involved in a family member’s career – be that in a publicly acknowledged capacity or in a discrete, behind-the-scenes role. These parents are managers and support crew of musicians ranging from those in their formative gigging years to established self-sufficient career musicians. Tara was awarded a National Finalist nod in the Industry Observer Guardian of the Year award alongside the parent managers of Ruel, Troye Sivan, Jai Waetford and Tash Sultana. She recently completed  a Master of International Music Business and has used those learnings to support local arts organisations and the next generation of Gold Coast musicians.

Justin Hoareau

Georgia Hoareau / William Hoareau / Wootton Major

With a successful professional career as a Principal Consultant in Data & Analytics for a big four consulting firm and a background in running his own consulting company, Justin’s passion for music has always been at the forefront. A dedicated audiophile and collector of vinyl, he is deeply involved in the Gold Coast & Brisbane music scenes – attending live gigs, discovering emerging talents and nurturing his love for music. Rooted in his earlier days of playing guitar & bass in Gold Coast bands, his recent venture as an Artist Manager for emerging local talent has allowed him to seamlessly blend his business acumen with his love for music. As an Artist Manager, he’s played a pivotal role in the end-to-end process of producing, recording, and releasing music. This includes active participation in music release plans, artwork creation, marketing strategies, playlisting, music editorials and coordinating music videography arrangements. His diverse experience in both the corporate and music worlds reflects a unique blend of analytical expertise and a genuine passion for the creative process in the music industry.


Blind Boy Studios / LEVEL UP your Music Production (Deputy Chair of Judging Panel)

Being a classically trained euphonium and piano player, Brad realised there has never been a ripping euphonium solo on MTV, so he traded it in for a synthesizer, 6 strings, a ProTools rig and a song-writing pad. Now a busy multi-instrumentalist, session musician, and record producer, Brad has also written literally hundreds of jingles for various brands all over the world, produced the track “Amy Shark” off Amy Shark’s 2021 Cry Forever album, produced and arranged the acoustic version of Everybody Rise and co-wrote and produced Amy Shark’s ‘Golden Fleece’ that won the 2016 Best Pop Song at the QLD Music Awards. As well as performing on, writing for and producing numerous indie, pop and rock bands from around the country, Brad has also found quite a niche in working with and producing some of the country’s best Brass Bands. Brad currently shares his time between touring, lecturing in the Bachelor of Contemporary Music with TAFE QLD and Southern Cross University, running his own recording studio and production facility – Blind Boy Studios on the Gold Coast.



Brad started his career in the music industry in 2003 by slinging tour posters around the Gold Coast in exchange for tickets at his favourite local music space. This led to opportunities to work with several well-known local music venues managing the marketing and publicity as well assisting with content and band bookings.  In his current role leading the business development team at national ticketing services provider, Oztix, Brad engages daily with venues, promoters and event managers across Australia. Brad also works behind the scenes to create the growing Best Night Ever shindig each December.


Big Loud Records

13 years a radio programmer and announcer before joining the record & music industry, Johnno is a seasoned veteran when it comes to music and entertainment. In late 2023, after spending 10 years with Universal Music Group, Johnno joined Nashville indie powerhouse Big Loud Records as their Australian Label Manager.


Levinge Events Pty Ltd

As a Kombumerri man with a passion for music and language development, Lann is deeply immersed in the heart of the Coast’s creative arts field. Lann is a man with many hats. An indigenous multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, producer, director and creative designer. He seems to love the chaos and variety that his world offers. From recording and designing in his North Gold Coast studio to producing and designing large scale musical performances and audio visual presentations there is plenty to keep Lann occupied in between his 260 odd performance gigs per year. He’s instinctively a creative being, a musician, a vocalist and certainly most sought after. Lann’s transition over recent years moving deeper into first nations structures has reaped rewards for his community and gifted a more intimate connection to country to him. “I’m loving the journey and path that I’m on, discovering new ways to help and develop a new generation of language warriors, creating awareness of and connecting the Yugambeh Language to everyone through music, dance and visual art.” Lann seems to be popping up everywhere with works in design, soundscape development, documenting and recording language, creating visual installations and structuring new ways of presenting language based “Welcome to Country” through the combination of music, dance and video elements. Currently working with MAG (Musicians Advisory Group), QPAC, HOTA, Place Makers, BLEACH Festival, CITY Gold Coast and various venues throughout the South East.

Sunny Luwe

Danielle Lo Passo

Vocal Adrenaline Performing Arts (VAPA)

Danielle Lo Passo isa highly sought-after vocal coach and the founder of Vocal Adrenaline Performing Arts (VAPA).. Since establishing VAPA in 2011, Danielle has played a pivotal role in shaping emerging artists, accumulating over 18 years of teaching experience. Also an accomplished pianist, Danielle not only hones vocal skills but also brings a wealth of musical knowledge to her mentorship. Danielle’s dedication to artist development is palpable in her mentorship of talents such as recording artist India Dupriez, Gold Coast Music Awards nominees Bayley Pearl, Georgia Hoareau and Emmagen Rain, who also showcased her skills as a contestant on The Voice. With a keen interest in artist management, she is dedicated to shaping the future of the Gold Coast music scene.

Richard Macionis

Watch This Space Entertainment P/L

Richard Macionis is no stranger to the live stage and the Australian music  entertainment scene, with a career spanning 30 years working extensively in/with touring bands, recording studios, theatres, rock cabaret, musical theatre, comedy, television, and live and studio music collaborations. Locally, he is probably best known on the Gold Coast for playing host character Spine, at Dracula’s and more recently as part-time host/MC at The Pink Flamingo. Richard is also a co-host of the Gold Palms Theatre Awards and can be found regularly on the GC and beyond as front man of popular show band BoomBox 80’s.  Richard has a background in music television production and performance. His experience includes reporting for children’s television, appearing in Neighbours, and Richard has worked as a producer for The Price Is Right, GMA with Bert Newton, and Healthy Wealthy & Wise. Some of his TV credits include Oprah Winfrey’s Ultimate Australian Adventure, The Logie Awards, Carols By Candlelight, The ARIAS, and The Big Night In with John Foreman.

Leah Martin-Brown

Evol Walks

Leah Martin-Brown is a vocalist, songwriter and sometimes guitarist from Gold Coast, Australia.Starting her journey at 11 years old when she picked up a guitar, Leah worked her way up in the local industry cutting her teeth in the GC and Brisbane live music scenes. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Popular Music and Grad. Dip in Contemporary Music through Griffith’s Conservatorium before departing Australia’s shores for Los Angeles where she is now based. Leah has shared the stage with the likes of Nita Strauss, Johnny Depp, Joe Perry, Black Label Society and Roy Mayorga, has co-written with Jake Pitts (Black Veil Brides), Dan Jacobs & Travis Miguel (Atreyu) and Tim Henwood (The Superjesus, Rogue Traders) and is known for her powerhouse vocals and passionate stage performances.  As well as fronting heavy rock outfit Evol Walks, she is currently releasing her solo project- produced by Mutt Lange & Tony Nilsson. Having split the last 3 years between Australia, Sweden and USA, Leah is firmly settled back in Los Angeles.
Ant Mckenna in cap and Full Flower Moon band shirt

Ant McKenna


Ant Mckenna is Executive General Manager of the Australian Live Music Business Council, Director of Programming – Industry Development for Queensland’s state music body QMusic, runs the AMPED music industry development program on the Sunshine Coast and owns Free Fall – a music management company.. McKenna has 30 years experience in music industry development, organisational development, cultural development, creative industry development, and was the inaugural artist representative on the QMusic Board. He also played in iconic (pre-social media era) Melbourne touring act Those Bloody McKennas and as a  soloist supporting acts like The Waifs, performing at a stack of festivals across the continent.

Tyler McLoughlan

The Sound Pound

On her return from London as a music license broker with Ricall, Tyler McLoughlan founded The Sound Pound in 2011, a Brisbane business specialising in music supervision, clearances and composition across advertising, film and TV. She has worked on projects including music supervision for Billabong, Lunatics (Netflix), Robbie Hood, Bananas (SBS), Retrograde, Content (ABC), and advertising campaigns for Telfast, TAFE, Tourism & Events Queensland, Destination Gold Coast, RACQ and The Natural Confectionary Company. As an artist manager, Tyler looks after the international career of tropical roots artist Bobby Alu.


Gold Coast Music Network (Chair of Judging Panel)

A passionate advocate for Gold Coast music, Sam is co-founder of Blank Street Press, the Gold Coast Music Awards and Gold Coast Music Network. Sam also runs her own consulting practice focussed on strategic planning, communication and engagement in the conservation, land management and regional development sectors. She is exposed to countless regional arts initiatives through that work – some of them in the most remote parts of Queensland. Sam loves music. And she loves the Gold Coast. And it is those loves which drive her commitment to growing the local music scene. As well as continuing to write for Blank Street Press and Nevertheless Journal, interviewing artists and reviewing their artistic output, Sam also has a weekly segment on ABC Gold Coast where she shares new Gold Coast tunes. You can read more about Samantha’s experience via her team profile.


Ummagummamumma Photography, Good Call Live

Elizabeth Sharpe is a Meanjin/Brisbane-based Photographer and Writer with an unwavering passion for Australian Music. Liz is the co-creator of the independent music blog Good Call Live, notably run by a team of formidable women with a strong commitment to the supporting the local scene. Under the Ummagummamumma moniker, the mother of two has photographed countless Australian and International artists. Whether it’s in a homegrown venue or a stadium, Liz’s photos are full of emotion, energy, vibrance, and authenticity, and she is now engaged by some of the industry’s biggest publications and promoters.

Adriana Steele-Boyce

City of Gold Coast

Adriana Steele-Boyce works within the Events team at City of Gold Coast, producing a range of events whilst also overseeing the music programming. A passionate music lover, Adriana is dedicated to providing local artists with opportunities to showcase their talents at City-led events. Adriana previously worked at Surfers Paradise Alliance where she produced events such as SeaFire, VIVA Surfers Paradise and Surfers Paradise LIVE. It was during this time she first met the Gold Coast Music Awards  team, collaborating with them to successfully execute the first Awards  event held at Surfers Paradise Beach in 2017.
Sunny Luwe

Dani Teveluwe

Sunny Luwe

Dani Teveluwe is a proud Weilwan woman, artist, educator who is best known for her impressive pop soul project Sunny Luwe.She has written and recorded with multiple ARIA Winners, Grammy-nominees and was a finalist for the Queensland Music Awards in 2023. In October that year she released her highly anticipated debut album Flowers in the Sky with a sold out launch show. Creating with the earth in mind, her music project is carbon offset via conservation non-profit Gondwana Rainforest Trust.

Kuki Tipoki

Musician, Music Director for Live Productions

Kuki is a music director, multi-instrumentalist and performer who has worked in many national and international tours, radio, tv and musical theatre productions including performing for Taylor Swift, Craig David, Nathaniel, Stan Walker, Timomatic and Jessica Mauboy. Other productions include School of Rock, Once on this Island, Mamma Mia, the international tour of Hamilton, American Idiot, The  Boy From Oz starring Hugh Jackman. Grease – The Arena Spectacular starring John Farnham, The Man From Snowy River, The King and I, South Pacific and many more.


Christian Tryhorn

Beats Cartel

Christian Tryhorn is well known around these parts. As one of the three masterminds behind one of the Gold Coast’s favourite venues Mo’s Desert Clubhouse, Christian has been a big supporter of bands and local acts through all stages of their careers. As the owner and director of Beats Cartel Christian puts his twenty plus years of music industry experience by providing booking, management and publicity services to artists, bands and events. Along with Mo’s and Beats Cartel Christian also curates and directs the outrageously tasty lineups that are Mojo Burning and Aftermath Festivals and sits as the creative director for Dead of Winter Festival. If that resume doesn’t satisfy your craving for live music, you might have to catch Christian in one of his own musical ventures; Transvaal Diamond Syndicate, The Black Armada and Rinser.

Andrew Very

TripleM (Southern Cross Austereo)

Andrew Very has been in the radio industry for over 25 years as an Announcer, Music Director and Program Director in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Newcastle and the Gold Coast. His love for radio was driven from a passion of loving and celebrating music. Andrew’s current role is heading up National Music Projects for the Triple M network based here on the Gold Coast. “We take pride in supporting Australian Music from new talent through to the stalwarts who’ve shaped the Aussie music landscape”.

Karen Waters

Red Rebel Music

Karen Waters is a respected member of the Australian music industry. Starting her career in 2005, she has worked alongside and been mentored by respected music business professionals including the late CM Murphy (INXS manager) and Stuart Coupe (former Paul Kelly Manager) as well as working with artists such as Lee Kernaghan, INXS and The McClymonts. She currently manages the award winning & ARIA Albums Chart #1 artists Melody Moko and Darlinghurst. Karen is Vice Chair of the CMAA (Country Music Association of Australia).

Benny D Williams with drum

Benny D Williams

BDW Music Production Creative

A true multi-instrumentalist and often known as one of the ‘original loopers’, Benny commands an audience with his high energy performance, beautiful harmonies and hypnotic rhythms. Benny D was at the forefront of extensively using live loop pedal tech well before in became commonplace. Before this, Benny cut his teeth performing at Dracula’s Cabaret and Movieworld and was a member in a heap of local live bands including The Aphrodisiacs, Pip’s Migraine, Mutha Funk, The Flapping Plastics, Harmonium, TwoUp, Tokyo Beef and many more). He graduated with a Bachelor Popular Music from Griffith Conservatorium of Music and was a three-time GCMA finalist between 2016 and 2020. He has now added production to his repertoire producing, playing, mixing and mastering a multitude of successful releases for local, national and international artists including Burger Joint, Gesticulations, Eddie Ray, Richard Neill, Amy Elise and others. He still finds time to perform solo and accompany other artists such as Jeff Martin (The Tea Party), Gesticulations and These Idle Hands.

Mandi J Windus

MJ Music Studios

Mandi J is a South Sea Islander, NZ born performing arts creative, a prolific songwriter/composer, vocal and acting performance coach and artist development mentor based on the Gold Coast. After working with producers across Australia and international vocal coaches, Mandi J defined her composing craft as a Soul~R&B~Funk artist, collaborating with many artists, and creating EPs and single releases. Her studio space in the Gold Coast on Kombumerri Country provides the ambience and breathing space all creatives desire – a truly creative revolution. Working with multi-talented artists, actors, and singers has Mandi J booming in her desire to expand her studio experience to the world.