Virtuoso didgeridoo player and composer William Barton loves to walk the bush and feel the breeze, seeking inspiration other composers have felt. He misses the rugged beauty up Mount Isa Way, the Argylla and Selwyn mountain ranges of Queensland’s north-west, in the Kalkadoon country where he grew up, where his father Alfred was laid to rest.

Watch this exclusive video interview with William Barton for Limelight Artist of the Year 2021.

Writing and practice take priority right now. Barton has been based in Brisbane for the latter part of the lockdown, and has an extraordinary year of commissions and collaborations coming – although last June he did make it some 600 kilomteres west to Charleville, in south-central Queensland, working with the Bidjara people, including his mother, the poet and singer Aunty Delmae Barton, and Kate Miller-Heidke, all performing a night of star-gazing chamber music.

Barton reached a birthday milestone that same month. “Turning 40, I see the next several or 10 years as my prime,” he tells Limelight via video conference. Certainly, he begins his new decade with Limelight’s Critics’ Choice Award for Best Australian Artist, just months after gaining the Don Banks...