ENTERTAINMENT

The Indigenous Australian Musicians Who Will Take Over The Industry

They should be on your top playlists.
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The music industry as we know it is largely based out of Los Angeles, which is considered the mecca of success. New York also has some clout because if you can make it in the big apple, you can make it anywhere.

WATCH: Baker Boy performs Play School intro for NAIDOC Week.

Yet when you zoom in on our corner of the world of Australia, if you know where to look, it’s perhaps the most intriguing hub for music.

Our young artists are pushing the boundaries of pop, indie, and in microcosms of Sydney’s West and other neighbourhoods, rap is taking on a new journey on the side of our footpaths. 

While it isn’t easy to pick out one exact reason why our unique industry is so amazing, we are unarguably spoilt with talent.

Our Indigenous Australian artists are among the musicians making evocative, moving, and sonically inspiring music.

To celebrate their poignant influence on the industry, here are five artists making their mark.

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“There was absolutely no representation in mainstream media.” (Credit: Instagram)

Thelma Plum

In 2012 Thelma won Triple J’s National Indigenous Music Award competition, and she received a nomination Deadly Vibe for in Most Promising New Talent in Music.

Her deep voice is soothing but demands attention and her honest prose reflects on her Indigenous roots and her experience of womanhood. 

Thelma’s song Homecoming Queen outlines how she feels about growing up in rural Australia and not seeing Black women reflected in media.

In an interview with ABC, she spoke about the lack of representation in Australia’s mainstream media.

“There was absolutely no representation in mainstream media,” she said. “That really does something, really skews your idea of beauty. I had to teach myself how to love myself, that I was beautiful and good enough.”

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“We need to develop a country of critical thinkers.” (Credit: Instagram)

Ziggy Ramo

Ziggy, 25, is a rapper who is inspired by New York’s hip hop scene and artists like Jay Z and Kanye West.

His debut album released in 2020, Black Thoughts, deals with race-related issues and is rooted within Indigenous culture.

In conversation with Triple J, Ziggy discussed why he’s passionate about the topics his music discusses and why those issues inspire him to make a change.

“My whole life, I’ve been extremely passionate about Indigenous rights.

“Unfortunately, in 2016 in Australia, we still don’t have equality. This drives me, and this drives me to create change,” he explained at the time.

In a profile about Ziggy published by The Monthly, he made an essential stance on Australia’s inability to really navigate the issues he raps about.

“Because the real conversation that I want to have isn’t in this record,” he said.

“This is not where I’m trying to get us to. We need to develop a country of critical thinkers, who can think for themselves.”

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“I want to see more people from all the remote communities around Australia do that.” (Credit: Instagram)

Baker Boy

Baker Boy, 24, aka Danzel Baker, is a force in the music industry who has captivated the nation with his high energy performances.

The rapper has received a lot of well-earned attention from the media, and in 2019 he received several ARIA nominations for his song Cool As Hell.

In the same year, he became the Young Australian of the Year, and in his speech he spoke in English and in his first language, Yolŋu Matha. 

He is rightfully outspoken about his advocacy for young Indigenous Australians, and he infuses his culture within his work by singing in his mother tongue.

In an interview with The ABC, Baker Boy discussed how his music has affected his community and why he wants to see more people come through the industry with a similar background.

“Most of the time, a lot of people come up to me and say, ‘It’s really good to see people represent their culture and also try to keep the language strong’.”

“I want to see more people from all the remote communities around Australia do that,” he said.

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Her voice will transform you to other realms. (Credit: Instagram)

Alice Sky

When Alice sings, her sweet voice commands your ears to listen with purpose because her lyricism is stunning.

Hailing from Western Victoria, her music is influenced by Regina Spektor, The Cranberries and Missy Higgins.

In 2020 she began to receive more recognition when her work caught the attention of Moby, Midnight Oil and The Avalanches.

Her sophomore album, I Feel Better But I Don’t Feel Good, is her first project that infuses English with her language of Wurega Djalin.

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He considers Justin Bieber a close collaborator. (Credit: Instagram)

The Kid LAROI

He is a kid from the Sydney suburb of Waterloo, which isn’t usually a corner of the world that leads to massive international success.

But against the odds, this 17-year-old rapper has a US number one under his belt for his project Fu*k Love – it made him the youngest person other than Billie Eilish to achieve such a feat.

Kid LAROI has been creating music since 2015, but he started to get attention in 2019 when his music video Let Her Go was published by Lyrical Lemonade.

His unique emo-rap, R&B, and hip-hop sounds are synonymous with Australia’s growing rap scene, which is slowly becoming more prominent thanks to Kid LAROI’s work.

The rapper’s recent collaboration with Justin Beiber on the song Stay is doing crazy things on the international stage and TikTok – so, watch this space.

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