Melissa Cowan discusses five of her current fave Australian musicians.
There’s so many talented female musicians in Australia’s music scene. Why, then, is it still a boys club? One stat that shocked me was that of the 73 artists and music industry figures inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, not one is a female instrumentalist. These five amazing artists are changing the face of the industry, just by doing their own thing.
1. Courtney Barnett
This Melbourne punk-poet is pretty awesome. Her music oozes strength and makes me want to rebel (like maybe I’ll drink an extra coffee today or something). There’s a lot of variation between songs, from the more chilled ‘Depreston’ to the rocking ‘History Eraser’. It takes skill to take lyrics about mundane everyday life (“Now we got that percolator, never made a latte greater, I’m saving $23 a week”) and make them into fascinating snapshots of Australian life. As a guitarist-singer-songwriter, she’s giving an (unfortunately) rare example of female instrumentalists breaking through in the industry. We’re hoping it’s just the beginning of great things for Courtney.
2. Phebe Starr
Phebe Starr’s sweet, synth pop songs are perfect Sunday morning material. This upcoming Sydney muso has been compared to Lykke Li and Sia, a comparison that makes sense to me. ‘Alone With You’ makes me want to curl up on the couch with my boyfriend and a tea and soak in the loveliness (“Your whispers they show me, I belong next to you…I wanna be alone with you.”). These are love songs that show the complexity, struggles and beauty of being in love. Plus, there’s glitter and a spiky crown in the below video clip, which gets a tick from me.
Founding member of the band Magic Dirt, rock musician Adalita has been doing it on her own since 2011, much to her fans’ delight. Her music is a little dark and stormy, with the lyrics (“Our trust is rust. Maybe love is not enough”) striking a chord for anyone who’s been through a tough break up. Speaking up about the sexism present in the music industry, Adalita says, “Let’s smash that bias! We can toe the line or say ‘F@#* that’. I am not going to let that dictate anything or get into my psyche.” I’m with you, Adalita.
Get some serious indie street cred by getting into MYAMI…or you know, just enjoy her music. She only burst into the music scene in 2015, but judging by how ‘Soldier’ has me bopping along at my desk, it’s only a matter of time until this talented singer songwriter is in serious demand. There’s a bit of a catchy fun Kimbra feel to some of the songs, while others really challenge you to relate emotionally. I’m loving new release ‘Take Me’, a mature and honest ballad – it’s easy to see MYAMI has lived through what she writes about (“Lost to myself while you gave up nothing”).
5. Meg Mac
Meg Mac was announced as Triple J’s ‘Unearthed Artist of 2014’, recognition that is seriously deserved by the bringer of such a huge voice and talent. Epic ‘Never Be’ is balanced by the more gentle ‘Roll Up Your Sleeves’, with passionate and strong vocals being the common denominator. Her lyrics are brave and vulnerable, like in ‘Every Lie’ (“That’s the sound of the sadness moving in, I can’t stand the state of my skin”). I’m seriously in love with Meg Mac’s tunes.
Do you have any more Aussie musos for me to discover?
Featured Image: Meg Mac by Mallory Turner via Live Nation TV