Borders remain closed across Australia but that wasn’t going to stop the 2020 ARIA Awards from putting on a Helen Reddy tribute, celebrating the work of the iconic singer who died earlier this year.
Introduced by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard during a short but spine-tingling speech, some of Australia’s best female artists then took to the stage, backed by others performing virtually, to create a beautiful rendition of I Am Woman.
Julia Gillard opened the performance by sharing what the song and Helen Reddy meant to her.
From there, artists including Jessica Mauboy, Amy Shark, Tones And I, Christine Anu, Delta Goodram, Marcia Hines, Montaigne, The McClymonths. Kate Ceberano and Emma Watkins came together to recreate the song. They were joined by a choir of 30 singers from across Australia.
“I had just turned 12 when Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman made its way to the top of the charts,” Gillard said.
“The soundtrack of your youth always becomes the most special part of the soundtrack of your life.
“I was carried away by her power and potential as she sang, ‘You can bend but never break me, because it only serves to make me more determined to achieve my final goal’.”
Gillard also recalled Helen on stage at one of the massive 2017 women’s marches. “A grey-haired woman much nearer to the end of her life, but there was still power in her punch she threw into as she sang into the air, I am strong
“These moments teach us what it means to be sustained by a cause.
“That the power of purpose comes both with the vitality of youth and the experience of age.
“I want to acknowledge the strong women who have come before me. The strong women stand beside me. And the ones I look forward to meeting, the women of our future. I hope they can have the freedom to take their place, to own their voice, and to write their story without limits.”