Castlemaine Secondary College celebrated this morning after 16-year-old student KIAN was named the 2018 Triple J Unearthed High winner.
But before the good news arrived, it was just an average school day for the 16-year-old.
“I had the radio on because I thought they might announce it on radio,” he said.
“The night before I had messaged Triple J to ask what day (the winner would be announced). They said maybe at the end of the week.”
Triple j Breakfast hosts Ben & Liam snuck into the school disguised as firefighters responding to an alarm to surprise KIAN with the news.
KIAN was performing on stage at school assembly when the fire alarm sounded and students were “evacuated” to the football oval.
“When the fire alarm went off I thought it was embarrassing to have that happen while I was on stage,” he said.
“When the firetruck pulled up, and Ben and Liam got out, I was just speechless.
“I kind of had an inkling because there was film crew following them but as soon as I saw the red Triple J microphone there was a big smile on my face.
With the entire school on the oval, KIAN said everyone was as confused as he was.
“When they realised, people got around me and started clapping,” he said. “Even some people that I’m not that close with were celebrating, which was nice.”
KIAN was picked as the winner from five finalists including Bendigo musician yergurl and Burnout, Nancie Schipper and The Kid Laroi.
He will now fly to Sydney to record, mix or master his music, which will be played on triple j and triple j Unearthed. He will also work with a musical mentor on his tracks.
“There are a lot of different artists I would love to work with. Some one like (Castlemaine musician) DD Dumbo would be awesome,” he said.
In the meantime, KIAN is preparing to play at Bigsound Festival in Brisbane in September.
He will also perform locally at Castlemaine’s Theatre Royal on August 25 and White Night Bendigo on September 1.
“It’s awesome to be able to do those two local shows in towns that I have a connection with,” he said.
“I’m focusing on Bigsound as well and after that kind of just going with the wave. I’ll keep writing and have more adventures and shows to come.”
Triple j Unearthed Music Director Dave Ruby Howe said it was a near impossible task to separate the five finalists.
“In the end, KIAN stood out the strongest this year, emerging as one of the most promising voices in the country,” he said. “It feels like just the beginning of this young artist's story.”