Powerful, honest and unapologetic.
With shimmering, watermelon-tinted hair, a finely tuned pink aesthetic and often clad head to toe in bubblegum pink attire, it could be easy to forget that Peach PRC is an artist who just released the profane, dark-humour-laced single God Is A Freak and describes herself as a “pink obsessed, mentally ill musician”.
With tongue-in-cheek tracks aimed at the hypocrisy of religion, vulnerability and about getting ‘railed on the couch', there’s far more beneath the surface for the Adelaide-born, Sydney-based artist who not only continues to churn out some of Australia’s best pop music to date, but subverts traditional expectations about what a “pop star” should be.
With a back catalogue littered with shimmery hyper-pop bangers - often juxtaposed by heavy subject matter - it’s easy to see why Peach PRC boasts several million followers online, and tens of millions of streams. While her latest release God Is A Freak is without a doubt one of the best tracks released this year, it’s hardly likely it’ll be the best thing we hear from the effortlessly memorable and catchy queen of Australian pop.
Despite being in the infancy of her career and only gracing the world with one song to date, Darcie Haven, the nineteen-year-old wunderkind from Perth, is already proving herself as an Australian indie-pop staple in the making.
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Just over a month after the release of her debut single, the self-described perfectionist, whose music had largely been kept a secret until I Wanna Be literally dominated the airwaves and music sites across the country, is turning heads. And for good reason; with irresistibly catchy, relatable indie-pop, drenched in hazy tones and lyrics that explore toxicity and jealousy, it’s easy to see where comparisons to Soccer Mommy, Holly Humberstone, Angie McMahon and Phoebe Bridgers have come from.
Outside of a select number of interviews, very little is known about Darcie Haven at this stage in the game, but with writing sessions with an undisclosed ARIA-winning producer and new music rumoured to be on the way, it’s unlikely to stay that way for long.
Born in Nairobi and originally hailing from the Nilotic tribes of Kenya before migrating to Australia at age seven, Adelaide-based artist Elsy Wameyo is far from a newcomer to the Australian music scene. While early singles Intuition and Outcast, which were heavily rooted in a rich combination of silky neo-soul and smooth R&B and gained her underground notoriety, Wameyo’s recent foray into hip hop, with tracks like Nilotic and her incredible new single River Nile, have seen a meteoric rise in popularity both at home and abroad.
Inspired by Kendrick Lamar, Little Simz and Ludwig Göransson – who travelled around Africa while on composer duties for the 2018 film Black Panther, in order to strike a balance between traditional African instrumentation and classic orchestrals - Wameyo’s sound similarly ebbs and flows through both traditional sounds of her home country and more modern, westernized genres. Assertive and powerful, Wameyo’s work is infused with her historic roots and informed by a childhood spent singing in church choirs. Thematically, her work spans issues of community, culture, race and police brutality and audibly, wouldn’t sound out of place alongside some of the best hip hop voices in Australia.
Dameeeela is a powerhouse. A Yuggera woman and mainstay of the Brisbane music and culture scene, Dameeeela has been slowly racking up praise for years, with sets at some of the country's biggest events, including Splendour In The Grass, Listen Out, Falls Festival, Groovin The Moo and Sugar Mountain helping solidify her as one of the countries best and most innovative tastemakers behind the decks.
Having just recently signed to Nina Las Vegas’ NLV Records (in the company of Anna Lunoe, 1300, Ninajirachi and Vegas herself) and only just releasing her highly anticipated debut single The Shake Up, the quick ascent of the long time queen of underground dance music in so-called Australia marks a moment in local dance music, a changing of the guard and the beginning of an artist that is set to take over the world.
“I listen to everything but country” is a quote you can swiftly attribute to lazy music fans. It’s a genre that doesn’t get the time or attention it deserves in Australia, which is hard to believe when we’ve got artists like Rachael Fahim on home soil. For the past few years, the Sydney-born pop-country auteur has been churning out magnetic, fascinating, and incredibly catchy pop songs that range from anthemic, stadium-ready releases like Crush and her latest release Darts In The Dark (which was somehow made in just six hours) to broody, melancholic hits like Brake Lights.
Recently crowned the second-highest streamed female country artist in Australian history, after Australian music royalty Kasey Chambers, there’s no denying that there’s about to be a new queen of country music in Australia, ready to take her throne.
Hailing from the most isolated city on earth, a slick combination of mesmerising harmonies, smooth melodic layers, beautiful arrangements and pop hooks have already helped Perth three-piece Dulcie win hearts in the far reaches of Australia. While their debut hit Fall, a piano-driven neo-soul earworm, quickly became one of triple j’s break-out hits in 2019, it’s a new year and this is a whole new Dulcie.
The release of tell ur friends (described as a track about “realising and appreciating one’s own self-worth, both in and outside of a relationship”) slides away from suburban indie pop and doubles down on balls to the wall, certified pop, reminiscent of early Tswift and Olivia Rodrigo. It’s only been a few years since they broke onto the Aus music scene, but Dulcie have already confirmed what everyone was already thinking “this band knows how to write a catchy as fuck song”.
Do you have a devilish desire for chaos? A taste for genre-bending pop music from some form of dystopian future? How about a secret guilty pleasure for Bollywood soundtracks and So Fresh compilations? No? Your loss. For the rest of the world, Indian-born, Melbourne-based artist Ashwarya fills the void we didn’t know we’d been missing.
Officially launching her career in the midst of a global pandemic, it's taken less than a few months for Ashwarya to shift seamlessly from ‘new kid on the block’ to the ‘next big and innovative thing in Australian pop’. Thanks largely to the success of the dark, nightmarish-like hit Psycho hole, which strips influences from as far-reaching as early-childhood Bollywood films and deep cuts from the So Fresh CD catalogue, as well as several equally impressive follow-ups within just as many months, the Melbourne solo act has conjured the inevitable comparisons to Billie Eilish. But, fusing contemporary R&B and electronic samples with Bhangra drums and Hindi verses has helped carve out a unique lane; one that will no doubt run parallel with Elish in no time.
There’s a long list of exports that Toowoomba should be proud of; beef, dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables, pork and packaged nuts. But several months ago Deputy Premier and State Development Minister Steven Miles would have been shocked to find out that The Garden City's ultimate export is Cloe Terare.
Eagle-eyed readers might have noticed that Queensland rising star Cloe Terare graced the front cover of The Music’s very first ‘Cover Artist’ story early this year, which delved deep into the assent of the First Nations singer-songwriter; the creative process behind building emotive R&B electro-pop that veers into country and even metal and her relationship with empowerment and confidence. If you missed the story, do yourself a favour and head HERE to understand why Cloe Terare should be on your radar.
In March 2021, as people battled through the gloom of another year battling COVID, the world was introduced to the sunny, fresh face of Australian pop music, Charley.
Sydney-based, Gold Coast-born and raised in a family teeming with music lovers, the sporadic explosion of popularity around Charley has been anything but an overnight story; it’s the byproduct of years of strenuous songwriting and meticulously perfectly even minute details. And the payoff?
2021’s shiny, high-tier pop hit Hard For Me still remains one of the best pop tracks produced by an Australian artist. Period. Follow up tracks like Arizona and recent single I Suck At Being Lonely dip toes in darker, moodier genre pools and show the breadth of a young songwriter producing music well beyond her years
Zheani is to 2022 what Alice Glass was to 2008; vibrant, irreverent, powerful, authentic and totally unique. Her uncompromising vision and unfiltered approach has quickly made Zheani - whose real name is Zheani Sparkes - one of the country’s most exciting new rap names. Fiercely independent in her approach and guided by self-assurance, the Wallaville Central Queensland-born, NSW-based artist, whose sound ebbs and flows between abrasive gothic electronica, Witch house, early 2000s hardcore and chaos rap, has amounted a ridiculous number of fans in a ridiculously short amount of time.
Zheani’s rise is made even more impressive by the fact that she’s managed to do it on her own; a DIY, self-made approach has sidelined any potential major-label politics and allowed her to expand organically. With several million streams under her belt this early in the game, it’s hard to question her approach.
These are just 10 local artists we’re loving right now; for more amazing talent, head over to our Females In Focus playlist on Spotify.