Rising Meanjin artist Dean Brady was announced today as the inaugural winner of the Dennis ‘Mop’ Conlon Scholarship, amongst an incredible list of First Nations’ finalists including Bryte, Cloe Terare, GLVES and Rudy Matoy.

Presented by QMusic and proudly supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, the Dennis ‘Mop’ Conlon Scholarship honours the extraordinary musical legacy of Uncle Mop, and awards $15,000 to support an emerging Queensland-based Indigenous Australian artist. 

The decision was made by a panel including family member Dennis Conlon Junior "Moppy", QMusic First Nations Officer Sue Ray and BIGSOUND Goolwal Goolwal Cultural Lead Dan Rennie, with Mop Conlon Jr noting that “Dean’s journey and connectivity to his culture and the community on top of his ability, stood him out from the pack.” 

Accepting the award Brady said, “I am proud to be the first recipient of the Dennis ‘Mop’ Conlon Scholarship. I’d like to thank QMusic and Arts Queensland for this opportunity and for their support, it really means so much to me, and in years to come, will be such a great opportunity for many other First Nations artists and bands. 

“Dennis ‘Mop’ Conlon was a legend and pioneer to all Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people, particularly to my father JUNGAJI who played his first ever gig in 1990 with Mop and the Dropouts but also their close affiliation with my Brady family in the SEQ regions. So, it is an absolute honour to be a recipient of this deadly scholarship and to have the opportunity to create new music, represent this legacy and showcase it to the world.” 

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said Queensland has a First Nations contemporary music heritage which continues to produce and inspire extraordinary talent. 

“Congratulations to Dean Brady - the inaugural winner of the Dennis 'Mop' Conlon Scholarship. This scholarship recognises his remarkable musical talent and supports him in continuing to create exceptional music that resonates with global audiences,” Ms Enoch said. 

“The Queensland Government is proud to support the Dennis 'Mop' Conlon Scholarship, honouring Uncle Mop's legacy and providing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists in Queensland to thrive and share their stories. By nurturing and supporting artists like Dean, we are building a vibrant and inclusive arts sector that celebrates the unique voices of Queensland's First Nations communities.” 

Descended from the Gugu Yalanji and Birrigubba people and the Matabele Zimbabwean people, the Brisbane-born singer and songwriter’s debut single ‘Falling’ dropped in February 2023. Capturing all the heartbroken showmanship of the Motown era while nodding to modern producers like Kaytranada and Anderson .Paak, the track showcases a fully formed star at the earliest stage in his genesis - the response since has been unequivocal. 

BIGSOUND Goolwal Goolwal Cultural Lead Dan Rennie noted The Dennis ‘Mop’ Conlon Scholarship joins QMusic’s annual suite of scholarships and encourages all First Nations artists to apply for the 2024 award. 

“Dean Brady is a rare talent in an extremely talented group of 2023 applicants, who we have no doubt will do amazing things. I encourage all First Nations music mob to keep an eye out and apply for the 2024 scholarship when it opens later this year and follow in the footsteps of the legacy of creators who came before us.” 

QMUSIC acknowledges the many Traditional Custodian groups all across what is now referred to as Queensland. We pay our respect to all elders: past and present. As a peak body we also acknowledge the important role that music has played and continues to play on these lands since the very first sunrise.