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8 up-and-coming Australian musicians doing it for the girlies 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JORDAN MUNNS
WORDS BY ELIZA SHOLLY

The ones to know.

Discovering new music is a fun and important part of being a human being. Even more so when they’re women. Now, I’ll be the first person to admit that the ‘women in music’ trope is so yawn.


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Advancing equality, visibility and opportunities for women in the industry is not labour that should fall on us, but alas, it does, and alas, we manage to do it better. Go figure. So, while I am here, allow me to shout out some of my favourite local female musicians. These girlies are girling, and killing it as they do so. 

Elsy Wameyo

For fans of: Sampa The Great and Tkay Maidza 

Start with: River Nile

Topping my no-particular-order list is Elsy Wameyo. The first time I wrote about this Kenyan-born Adelaidian musician, I called her transcendent, and I stand by that assessment. Her self-produced debut EP, Niolotic, is a front-runner for my favourite project of the year, with its perfect mix of sparky, fire-fuelled frustrations. 

Although she’s been making music since 2018, 2022 is the year she truly arrived, effortlessly striding through notes of R&B, hip-hop and gospel with the confident finesse of someone doing exactly what they’re meant to be doing.  

Glo

For fans of: Milan Ring and IAMDDB

Catch her: In June at Mary’s Underground

Start with:Self Love’

Previously known as a dancer, choreographer and movement director, Glo’s foray into music was made notable byTransmute’, her first venture as a solo artist. For an average performer, genre-switching is an effort-filled feat. For Glo, it’s second nature. 

R&B, hip-hop, jazz, soul, neo-soul, house, afro house, vogue, dancehall – her self-assured, confident aura is not only compelling but incredibly contagious too. In June, she is curating a takeover for Vivid at Mary’s Underground in Sydney. 

Culture Re-set by Glo is a Black odyssey through space and time, delivered from the perspective of the Black diasporic experience. Venture into a night of Black-centric rhythms and take notes if you’re in town. 

Clews

For fans of: Wolf Alice and PJ Harvey 

Catch them: At shows throughout June and July

Start with:Lean Across’

Sisters Lily and Grace Richardson have the kind of performing ease that only shared DNA can bring. Hailing from Mollymook on the NSW South Coast, it’s almost impossible to file their considered songwriting and rock-inclined instrumentals into a genre, but if any of those words sound up your alley I highly recommend giving them a go. 

To coincide with the Loveluck Omens release last year, the pair released the Love Clews podcast. On it, they chat to folks – a la Spacey Jane, Brae Fisher and Alex Lahey – about the highs and lows of intimacy, affection and, well, love. If you’re in need of some dulcet tones in verbal form, check it out. 

Big Wett

For fans of: Sophie and Kim Petras

Start with:King Dick’

With a name like Big Wett, it almost feels like any written introduction will do a disservice, but I’ll give it my best shot. Arriving practically out of thin air, there’s a certain amount of mystique surrounding this one-woman show.

The beats – which she dubs “songs for sluts” – are hard, fast and a little NSFW, covering themes like money, power, drugs and her own brand of sexual fantastic-ness. Live, it’s giving chaotic realness. Inspired by the dark depths of your local dancefloor, strip club and drag show, Big Wett is for the girlies who want to have a fucking good time.  

Kota Banks

For fans of: Mallrat and Doja Cat 

Start with:Mutual XO’

Living in a lane all of her own, Kota Banks masterfully infuses infectious melodies with tongue and cheek lyricism. Not everyone can say they cut their teeth singing opera in Florence, which is what makes her spectrum of pop music so exhilarating: there’s no linear trajectory or influence. It’s just pure, unadulterated contagion.

Since the release of debut mixtape Prize in 2019, her growing catalogue has seen her do some pretty impressive stuff, including writing for Sophie’s Grammy-nominated album and accumulating over 40 million streams on Spotify. 

Sweetie

For fans of: Stella Donnelly and First Aid Kit  

Catch them: At Lost Paradise

Start with:Boundary Queen’ 

Punk band Sweetie was born because they had been sitting in a crowd too long and it was time to stand up. A true rarity, this collection of babes comes to you from all around Australia, theme-bending between femininity, strength, vulnerability and the tension of navigating those opposites. 

Their local following is devoted, with fans gathering at shows as if their lives depend on it. It’s a refreshing change of pace from the last two years of lockdowns, with the proof in the pudding that the Sweetie gang is going nowhere but the top.

Daine

For fans of: Charli XCX and Turnstile

Catch her: Supporting Mura Masa in July 

This Melbourne-based princess was doing emo-pop before it was cool. In fact, she grew up going to hardcore shows at the age of 13, coming home to trawl Tumblr for niche-celebrities in the subcultures she championed. I think we can all relate. 

As it turns out, the industry has been watching. Daine has long been mentored by Charli XCX, and recently jumped on a track with Bring Me The Horizon’s Oli Sykes. Her mixtape Quantum Jumping is an evolved lesson in hyperpop, with the visuals and all-round aesthetic to match. 

Maya Hirasedo

For fans of: Jhene Aiko and Bree Runway

Start with:Sinking’

Born in Tokyo and raised in Melbourne, singer-songwriter Maya Hirasedo soundtracks the moments when you’re keen to get in your feels. Over the past few years, she’s been making quite the name for herself in various Melbourne musical subcultures, signing as one of the foundational members of label Valve Sounds. 

As of right now, Maya’s brand new EP Times I Fell is doing the rounds to great reviews. It’s a soul-filled amalgamation that clearly comes from much introspection, filled with silky smooth slow jams you’ll find it hard to say no to. 

You can keep up with Eliza here.

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