We pick the hottest new live acts so you can tell your friends you heard them first. This week we have handpicked some of our favourite First Nations that we know you need to hear.
In Australia, we are incredibly lucky to have a wealth of talented First Nations artists sharing their stories, history, language and talents with us. From chart-toppers and festival mainstays like Briggs, Baker Boy and Thelma Plum to legends like Yothu Yindi and Archie Roach.
Now we want to introduce you to some of our favourite up and coming artists – get to know them now, before they are ruling stages everywhere.
Just because National Reconciliation Week is over, doesn’t mean the conversation should stop – while we have your attention, here are some great resources for education about Australia’s history: Reconciliation Australia | Change The Record | Places To Donate
Meet Miiesha, a strong, proud Pitjantjatjara/Torres Strait Islander woman, whose music – inspired by the sounds of R&B, gospel and soul, alongside the power of spoken word poetry – seeks to bring people together to help educate and inspire, sharing her truth and the stories of her community through her honest songwriting and storytelling. From the small Aboriginal community of Woorabinda in Central Queensland, Miiesha’s music and voice need to be heard and her most recent release puts her right on track to do just that. Her debut album Nyaaringu shares stories from her community and her life, interspersed with dialogue from her grandmother, with powerful messages about discrimination, empowerment, family, and freedom. There aren’t too many debut records that stand this tall.
There’s something incredibly calming about listening to Naarm-based Wergaia / Wemba Wemba woman Alice Skye perform. Her origins and roots, besides the sandstone mountains and wildflowers of the Grampians can be felt most her music – delicate and captivating, it’s easy to get lost in her sound. Her latest single, and first release for 2020, ‘Grand Ideas’ continues her marvellous run of releases, the bright, bubbling track underpinned by an indie-rock edge. Here, Skye’s soaring, floating vocal and impressive storytelling are on full display.
Independent Yorta Yorta producer and rapper DrmngNow (AKA Neil Morris) spends his time sharing understanding and reverence for land and country through music – whether it is on radio or via his own project. His catalogue of forward-thinking hip hop and R&B explores Morris’ own identity as an Indigenous artist, alongside Australia’s Indigenous history and Indigenous future. Poignant stories that highlight the injustices facing First Nations people, and music that brings his community together, DRMNGNOW’s is a voice that needs to be heard.
After winning triple j’s first Unearthed High Indigenous Initiative back in 2017, Becca Hatch firmly established herself as one of Australia’s most promising talents, and with every release she continues to prove why. She’s performed alongside Briggs and KIAN, and taken the stage at the Sydney Opera House and at the State of Origin. She leans into her mother’s Samoan heritage with her powerful gospel-choir vocals and tranquil sounds, while her Indigenous roots – her Dad is a proud Kamilaroi man – are embedded in her storytelling and poignant self-reflection. Confidence beyond her years, and grooves for days, we can’t get enough.
It would be an understatement to say that Ziggy Ramo’s continued voice in the Australian music circuit is important – his politically-fuelled hip hop is so much more than that; it is powerful, ruthless, and vita listening. From race relations to toxic masculinity, Ramo is taking no prisoners as he exposes Indigenous issues in this country, and he isn’t glossing over a single second of it. Growing up in remote Arnhem Land, regional NSW, Sydney and Perth and with family connections in Far North Queensland, his voice and experiences spread far and wide, as he gives a voice to those often unheard.
Hails from one of Australia’s most remote indigenous communities: the Warnindilyakwa mob of Groote Eylandt, an island in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Emily Wurramara’s soaring vocal and beautiful storytelling is enough to leave you plastered in goosebumps. Her debut album, Milyakburra, is performed in both English and her traditional language Anindilyakwa and is a beautifully poetic celebration of family, culture, and country.
The Merindas – the collective force of Candice Lorrae of Jawoyn and Thursday Islander heritage and Ballardong Whadjuk and Nyoongar woman Kristel Kickett – create glorious r&B-fuelled electro-pop that draws from their heritage and is dedicated to the preservation of Indigenous language and culture. Originally forming in Perth singing Motown hits for the premiere of The Sapphires film in 2012, the duo have gone on to sing alongside the likes of Brandy, Jessica Mauboy, Dan Sultan, and Mo’ju and work with young Indigenous women in building confidence and creative leadership. Their energy is infectious and their grooves will have you moving in no time.
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