The 2016 ARIA Awards nominations have brought a happy surprise for ANU School of Music honours student Louis Montgomery.
Louis recorded the vocals for all but two of Australian electronic band SAFIA's debut album, Internal, including the song that is the basis for SAFIA's nomination for Breakthrough Artist. He also recorded piano, keyboard, and guitar for some of the other songs on Internal, and provided backing vocals on one track with fellow School of Music alumna Rose Costi.
Louis said that SAFIA's nomination is a testament to the quality of their songs and creative capacity.
"My involvement is partially luck, and then I somehow managed to convince the band to keep working with me," he said.
"I feel proud to have been involved in the project and the album as a whole."
The musical collaboration resulted from Louis and SAFIA lead singer Ben Woolner being in the same School of Music circles. Ben attended the School in 2012 but left as the band's fortunes climbed.
Louis credits the School with equipping him with the skills that enabled him to contribute to Internal.
"I don't think I would have done as good of a job if I'd learned my skills from a different institution," Louis said.
"ANU has done a good job of facilitating an education that I feel allows me to offer a quality of recording that is high enough to receive an ARIA nomination."
He added that the School offers a good mix of teaching both recording techniques and music theory and composition.
"Plus you have access to musicians that are studying their instruments seriously in classical, jazz, and contemporary styles.
"You don't find that mix in the same place as recording practice being taught often - at least not from what I've observed."
"Make them wheels roll" has been the best performing track on their album Internal, peaking at #45 on the ARIA charts. The album itself reached #2 in Australia, with SAFIA's tracks having been streamed online more than 20 million times.
The collaboration continues, with SAFIA providing backing vocals for the latest song from Louis' own band, Canberra favourite Slow Turismo. "You were dead" is slated for release in November.
The winners of the 2016 ARIA Awards will be announced on 23 November.