New Music

Breakthrough 2022

Barkaa: Using razor-sharp lyrical potency to speak her truth

We're shining a spotlight on the best new artists set to dominate the year ahead. Meet Ticketmaster's Breakthrough 2022!

With her singles ‘Our Lives Matter’ and ‘I Can’t Breathe’ sound tracking Black Lives Matter protests around the country, and her undeniable single ‘King Brown’ turning heads in 2021, Sydney artist Barkaa has well and truly cemented herself as one of the most exciting and powerful rappers in Australia.

Barkaa – born Chloe Quayle – is a proud Aboriginal woman of the Malyangapa and Barkindji people, and she uses her music and her voice to speak her truth and highlight issues affecting First Nations people, while sharing pride in her people and histories, fighting against injustices, and honouring bright Indigenous futures.

Hers is a story of resilience, determination, and of overcoming. For years, she battled addiction, homelessness, and incarceration but after giving birth to her third child while serving time in prison, Barkaa was ready to turn things around.

Taking her moniker from the Barkindji word for the Darling River, now she uses her own lived experiences to inspire others, using music as a vehicle for healing and empowerment – for both herself and her community.

Barkaa – Blak Matriarchy

She has been rapping since childhood, writing and performing to her high school classmates – performances that would become the foundations for the powerful artist we hear today.

Years later, after putting her kids to bed, Barkaa would sit up recording raps on a camera in her bedroom and posting them online. It was one of these videos that caught the attention of rapper and record-label owner Briggs, who quickly added Barkaa to his Bad Apples roster.

Through the label she released her debut EP Blak Matriarchy’ – a record that is unapologetically truthful, politically potent, and extremely personal – in December.

Dedicated to the powerful Blak women in her life – to their stories and their strength – and to the women she describes as the backbone of this country past, present, and future; across its six tracks, Barkaa crafts hard-hitting raps atop huge grooves and tightly crafted production that celebrate generations of Blak women, her own motherhood, and taking back control of your life.

Barkaa – King Brown (Official Video)

Ever since the release of her debut single ‘For My Tittas’ almost two years ago, Barkaa has continued to mark her place as one of the most needed and respected voices in the local hip hop community, and now with a much-celebrated EP under her belt there is only one direction Barkaa is heading – and that’s up.

With her seamless flow and razor-sharp lyrical potency, Barkaa’s is a voice that needs to be heard. Never shying away from the most uncomfortable truths, there is a strength and a power in her and her artistry that is only just coming to the surface.

And it seems the industry agrees. Kicking off the year with her single ‘King Brown’ landing at #177 in triple j’s hottest 200, the achievement tops of two years of highs for Barkaa.

She has been labelled ‘the new matriarch of Australian rap’ by GQ, featured on billboards across New York, Los Angeles, and London as part of YouTube’s Black Voices Music Class of 2022, won FBi’s 2020 SMAC Award for the ‘Next Big Thing’ and the 2020 PUMA Rookie Of The Year Award for Acclaim Magazine, and saw Blak Matriarchy land in the top 10 of ARIA’s hip-hop and R&B charts. Now, with a calendar filling up with live shows around Australia, 2022 is set to be Barkaa’s year.

BARKAA – Our Lives Matter (Official Audio)

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View the full Breakthrough 2022 list here.