Here’s a hot fact we can all agree on: First Nations artists make banging music.
Anyone who knows anything about Australian music will tell you that Indigenous artists consistently push the envelope and set the direction of Australian music, as well as having the most unique and distinctive styles. Them’s the facts.
Recent years have also seen the rise of more and more musicians who write and perform in language—like 2019 Young Australian of the Year Danzal Baker (aka Baker Boy), who’s blown up for his lightening-quick bars in Yolngu Matha and English.
It’s an exciting time in Indigenous Australian music and here, Syrup is highlighting 10 acts we’re loving in 2020.
Indigenous hip-hop artists are some of the best in the scene, and an exciting new voice in that scene is T Breezy’s.
Originally from Inverell in country NSW, T Breezy has made Western Sydney (and the pantheon of hip-hop in this country) his home. He’s blown up like few others have, and demonstrates that he’s un-ignorable. His debut album 2360 is hot af so add it to your playlists.
Ok so you probably have heard of Thelma Plum but we’d be doing you a disservice not mentioning her if you haven’t. A Gamilaraay woman and one of Australia’s most exciting musicians PERIODT, Thelma’s debut album Better In Blak stood out as one of the best albums of 2019 in a year that was already stacked with killer albums.
Give it a listen if you haven’t already.
Pitjantjatjara/Torres Strait Islander woman and one of Australia’s hottest new RnB talents, Miiesha’s voice is decadent and beautiful.
She spent most of 2019 on tour playing festivals like BIGSOUND, Lorne Falls and BlakHEART—let’s hope that’s given her plenty of inspiration for new music.
X Factor may be over but Isaiah Firebrace sure ain’t. The Gunditjmara/Yorta Yorta man, best known for winning the competition in 2016 and then going on to represent Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2017, shows no sign of slowing down.
The wholesome, charismatic singer just oozes with talent and I hope 2020 brings us a new Isaiah Firebrace project.
Melbourne-based multi-instrumentalist Allara is a force to be reckoned with. After a long career as a gigging musician for the best part of two decades, she wowed us in late 2018 with her emotional single ‘Wala Is Life’, featuring atmospheric instrumentals paired with beat poetry-like vocals in English and Yorta Yorta.
Looking forward to seeing more from her in 2020.
Yuin man and endlessly talented rapper from NSW’s South Coast, Nooky is one of Bad Apples Music’s (A.B. Original, Alice Skye, Kobie Dee) hottest signings. Combining technical, aggressive flows with pointed social commentary and tight beats, Nooky (real name: Corey Webster) is one of the best in the game.
His latest single ‘Liberty City’, a slapping love letter to Grand Theft Auto, was one of my fav tracks on 2019.
Wiradjuri / Gadigal woman and super talented singer, songwriter, actor and activist, Akala Newman’s got a lot of feathers in her cap. Her beautiful voice and dramatic music is just the sorta thing you need to add to your playlists ASAP.
Check out her beautifully choreographed music video for her latest single “Burnt For You” above.
Luma Luma woman, creme de la creme of indie rock, global star… Tia Gostelow needs to be a name on your lips in 2020.
Signed to US label Anti Fragile (home to fellow Aussies Montaigne and Dan Sultan), we’re anticipating even bigger moves from the legendarily-good-live artist in 2020.
We mentioned him earlier: we couldn’t make this list without this legend. The “Fresh New Prince Of Arnhem Land”, Baker Boy is one of the hottest properties in Australian hip-hop.
A bilingual rapper, expert dancer and king of good vibes, his latest single with killer NZ rapper JessB ‘Meditjin’ is his tightest shit yet.
Another deadly Melbourne act to keep your ear to the ground for is femme electronic duo The Merindas. Funky, fresh and irrepressible, their tracks are certified club-fillers. Known for their amazing choreographed live performances, we hope they bless us with more heaters in 2020. Give their single ‘Before Daylight’ a spin (or several).
Lead image via Bad Apples Music.