Time to expand your musical horizons? Discover the artists and new releases that will define 2018.
BASENJI - “Mistakes”
Among the volley of songs that came raining over the net before we called time on 2017, Sydney producer Basenji served up “Mistakes”, the vocal duties for which came courtesy of the continually exceptional Tkay Maidza. Their combined display of production mastery and songwriting intelligence here can confidently stand beside electronic pop luminaries the likes of Calvin Harris and potentially represents a new musical high-water mark for all involved.
Image by @kirapuru via Instagram
KIRA PURU - “Tension”
Melbourne natives and patrons of modern soul will be no stranger to vocal powerhouse Kira Puru owing her tenure on the local scene with imitable backing-band The Bruise and successful collaborations with Paul Kelly, Urthboy and Illy. 2017 saw Kira return armed with “Tension”, a tune produced in the spiritual homeland of pop musical goodness Los Angeles, which effortlessly weaved its way onto Australian radio and generated a heady air of intrigue surrounding what’s next to follow.
Image by @ninajirachi via Instagram
NINAJIRACHI - “Pure Luck feat. Freya Staer”
While most 2017 school-leavers were terrorising locals at seaside resorts along the Australian coastline Sydney’s Ninajirachi was rubbing shoulders with Future and Mac Miller on the national LISTEN OUT festival. Her pristine debut offering “Pure Luck” and a discreet signing to Jay-Z’s entertainment management group Roc Nation suggest the stage is set for further musical triumphs both here and abroad.
KAIIT - “Natural Woman”
Few artists will ever succeed in writing something as pure, thought-provoking and instantly memorable as “Natural Woman”, let alone on their first attempt. Papua New Guinea born Melburnian Kaiit proved the clock hasn’t run out on penning timeless classics when she blessed us with this thing of sonic beauty (and a glorious video to boot.)
STELLA DONNELLEY - “Boys Will Be Boys”
Among other things, 2017 was a year defined by the #metoo movement, which so happened to coincide with the emergence of a Perth songwriter by the name of Stella Donnelly. Initial love for the angsty single “Mechanical Bull” soon gave way to reverence for a particularly poignant song embedded within her debut EP, the spine-tingling “Boys Will Be Boys”. With widespread acclaim coming from all corners of the local industry expect big things from this socially-conscious storyteller from the West.
Image by @samsaruh_music via Instagram
SAMSARUH - “Beautiful Killer”
Another artist who inspires significant “what have I done with my life?” feels in the author is precociously-talented nineteen-year-old Samsaruh. Having been at it since the tender age of sixteen the Melburnian singer chose 2017 to make her mark at Australian radio with successive singles culminating in the ethereal “Beautiful Killer”. Recent tour dates with Dean Lewis and an appearance at Falls Festival over New Year suggest she’s well on the path.
E^ST - “Life Goes On”
An artist who has consistently challenged the throne of Australian pop sovereignty at every turn in her young career, E^ST unapologetically fired her most decisive musical shot across our bow in 2017 with “Life Goes On”. The single spared no time amassing a few million streams and claiming its rightful place at rotation on Australian radio and was a rare and welcome local contribution even on the commercial side of the dial.
Image by @iameastofficial via Instagram
BARO - “LAY U DOWN / SEXY”
The new wave of home-grown hip-hop that’s been threatening to unseat its polarising predecessor for a minute now has an unlikely folk hero in the form of Melbourne emcee Baro. His cult following, veritable wrecking-crew of a live band and recent tutelage from fellow rapper Remi all point to his looming preeminence. The heartbreakingly honest 2017 EP, “Just Problems You Need To Know” evokes the frustration and fragility of the prodigious Frank Ocean and rumours of international collaborations on the near horizon foreshadow Baro’s impending ascendence.