22-year-old rapper, musician and dancer Danzal Baker has been named Young Australian of the Year, in recognition of his contribution to the arts.
Baker, also known as ‘Baker Boy’, is the first rapper to achieve mainstream success rapping in the Yolngu Matha language.
He was born in Darwin and grew up in Milingimbi and Maningrida, in Arnhem Land. He rose to prominence after his single ‘Marryuna’ was voted onto Triple J’s Hottest 100 for 2017, where it placed 17th.
In addition, his debut single, ‘Cloud 9’, won the Triple J Unearthed competition in 2017.
Baker has signed a record deal with Select Music, and has performed as a support act for Dizzee Rascal, 50 Cent and Yothu Yindi & The Treaty Project.
Accepting his award, Baker said:
“With love and respect, we have the power to shape the future and make Australia a place where we all are proud, where we all belong and where we stand united.”
He also thanked his fans on social media for their support.
Chair of the National Australia Day Council, Danielle Roche OAM, said of Baker:
“Danzal Baker is an inspirational young Australian, an outstanding musical talent and dedicated advocate for Indigenous Australian culture. Through his music, he inspires young Indigenous Australians to embrace their heritage while sharing his own cultural stories with a wider audience here in Australia, and around the world.”
His latest single, ‘Cool As Hell’, was released on Thursday, and is a collaboration with Thundamentals.