Australian singer 2019

Australian singer 2019 DEFAULT

After an interesting week where palpable talent was overshadowed by the elucidating presence of misogyny in the music industry, we can’t help but take a step back and reel in awe at the prevalence of magnificent Australian female artists.

Just when we appear to be making steps forward, Angie McMahon was wolf whistled on tour last week for simply taking off her jacket. Whereas Maggie Rogers was told to take her top off over the weekend because, ‘you cute though’. In a seemingly progressive social landscape these occurrences are no rarity with artists like Moaning Lisa (DZ Deathrays), Camp Cope and Thelma Plum calling out discrimination in the past year alone, and those are just the incidents that hit the headlines. Let’s not forget a recent debacle with Good Doogs.

While a tide of tongues is perhaps the most powerful proponent for social change we are taking a moment to acknowledge the most influential Australian female artists overcoming the odds and releasing incredible music.

Here are 15 women killing it in the music scene right now.

Australian female artists

Girls to the front! Here are our top 15 Australian female artists defying gravity and owning it in the music scene.

15. Angie McMahon

As mentioned above Angie is no stranger to the destruction of male misogyny, but my god she’s a talented songwriter! From Pasta to Slow Mover and Keeping Time, McMahon’s debut album is a veritable force to be reckoned with, solidifying her as one of the most endearing and talented voices in music today.

Don’t let those bastards grind you down Angie.

14. Jen Cloher

Melbourne singer-songwriter Jen Cloher released one of the greatest albums of 2017. The self-titled record is a collection of poignant meditations on love and purpose as she wallows in rock n roll, borrowing humbly from her partner, Courtney Barnett.

From the guitar to the wordplay, it’s fascinating to draw comparisons between the two poetic heavyweights. Where Courtney will write pages Cloher will write one word and both are equally as poignant.

13. Odette

Georgia Odette Sallybanks exploded onto the Australian music scene with her debut album To A Stranger. The record is a poetic tapestry of melancholy soul and powerful pop ballads.

The skilful instrumentation draws attention to the space between the notes and Odette’s magnificent set of lungs. Her soaring voice and poetic ruminations are nothing short of remarkable.

12. Carla Geneve

The effortless wordplay and storytelling of Carla Geneve is drenched in Australiana and distinctly nostalgic. Her punchy vocals and knack for song-craft weave tales that are conversational and very relatable.

Coming off the back of a successful North American tour, Geneve is quickly carving out her place among Australia’s greatest songwriters.


11. Jack River

Jack River, aka Holly Rankin, crafts magnificent tales of high fantasy from her own tragic origin story. But melancholy music has always been the most endearing, earning Jack River a considerable fanbase.

River performed a this year’s mammoth Climate Strike at the Domain and blew everyone away with her cautionary tale of our destructive habits.

10. Stonefield

The Melbourne sibling outfit hit a stroke of psych excellence on Far From Earth and have been soaring ever since. Stonefield kill it in every sector. They are signed to Flightless, they tour the world and they fucking rock!

Not afraid to get heavy on the riffage, Stonefield are smashing the notion that psych-rock is a male dominated landscape.

9. Amyl & The Sniffers

Much like Stonefield, Amy Taylor is one of the hardest rocking people on the face of the planet. Harkening back to the glory days of blood-spitting, sweat dripping punk, Amyl & The Sniffers are making waves globally as they ride on the crest of a punk renaissance.

A masterclass in not giving a fuck, Amy Taylor is doing it her way and we love it.

8. Tkay Maidza

Adelaide based rapper Tkay Maidza combines rapid-fire flow with forward thinking production and downright hip hop funk.

After exploding onto the scene with Brontosaurus, Tkay has taken the Australian music scene by storm, breathing new life into the lungs of Australian hip-hop.

7. Thelma Plum

Ever on the forefront of progressive change, Thelma Plum combines current socio-political issues with catchy hooks to create some of the most infectious tracks we’ve heard in years.

Listen to the glistening gems of Better In Blak and Clumsy Love and trust me, you’ll be singing defiantly as you stroll down the street too.

6. Stella Donnelly

Beware Of The Dogs is a masterpiece I’m just going to say it. Stella’s voice is pitch perfect, her storytelling poetic and her songwriting is nothing short of perfection. Every minute of this album is masterwork and it’s not often that comes around.

Stella Donnelly also possesses a razor sharp wit which she displays affectionately in her live show. An all round Australian knockout, Stella has the makings of one of the greats.

5. Mojo Juju

Third times a charm. When Mojo Ruiz de Luzuriaga aka Mojo Juju dropped her third album Native Tongue she took the world by storm. The singer turned heads as she spoke to a large number of Australians who had experienced immigration, racial discrimination or both.

Mojo Juju illuminates a number of destructive of ingrained institutional structures in Australia, lending music it’s very powerful roots in social change.

4. Julia Jacklin

The moment Julia Jacklin dropped her 2016 debut Don’t Let The Kids Win Australia knew she would be a star. Earlier this year Jacklin dropped another album of hand-made, honey-coated heartbreak songs and it’s nothing shy of magnificent.

Her poetic poignancy is instantly relatable from tracks like Body to Don’t Know How To Keep Loving You. They are both masterpieces and they are both intrinsically Julia.

3. Camp Cope

Camp Cope led a veritable revolution after they dropped their 2018 record How To Socialise & Make Friends. The powerful lyricism of Gorgia Maq have elevated her among the pantheon of great Australian songwriters.

When they played at the Opera House last year The Opener received a standing ovation before Georgia even stepped up to the mic. It rips the bandaid off of a huge problem within the Australian music industry and ultimately is a song that touches a lot of people.

2. Sampa The Great

Sampa The Great is on another level. The Zambian singer-songwriter and rapper is a lyrical genius who draws on political consciousness and does so with a ferocity that is near godlike. Even she knows how great she is!

Her 2018 album The Return is a collection of wall-to-wall bands start to finish. If you havn’t witnessed Sampa live yet we highly recommend you catch her next show.

1. Courtney Barnett

Every now and then an artist joins the ranks of musicians whose caliber puts them in the league of the undying. With the release of her 2015 debut Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, Courtney Barnett catapulted to these heights.

Her careful wordplay is as illuminating as it is extraordinary, capable of churning through 10 current world issues in 10 lines. Barnett’s constitution to touring relentlessly and dedication to her craft has crowned her as one of Australia’s leading female voice in music.


New music 2019: The 10 Australian acts you should be listening to right now

This was published 2 years ago

In 2019 new music reaches the world with a single upload and careers can take shape in vastly different ways. The only rule still pertinent in assessing the next wave of Australian musicians is whether they have the talent to make a difference, something that's a possibility with all 10 of these artists. Whether still on the local touring circuit or getting ready to take on the world these diverse acts will get you up to speed on the music headed your way.


For fans of: Beck and Grimes

Current track: Drink Too Much

In February 2018, Melbourne electronic musician Georgia Flipo put her first song as G Flip, the bittersweet About You, up on Triple J's Unearthed website; in February 2019, G Flip played to tens of thousands of people across Australia as part of the Laneway Festival. In between, the multi-instrumentalist and self-taught producer picked up record deals, fans and a lack of creative inhibitions. "I never start a song thinking that it will be a pop song or super-edgy," Flipo says. "I just do what my ears like, and when I say yes to something I roll with it. I think my genre is in the pop world because I love catchy melodies, but it's a rough kind of pop." While S's cover star is still getting used to photo shoots – "I don't know what to do with my face," she happily admits – Flipo's mix of bouncy beats, tender melodies, and confessional lyrics has struck a chord. Her debut album is almost finished, with just some final tinkering from its perfectionist creator required. "It's made me realise," Flipo says, "that I could be doing this for a very long time."


For fans of: The Ramones and the Slits

Current track: Monsoon Rock

Fronted by Amy Taylor, one of the most dynamic larrikins in Australian music since AC/DC's Bon Scott strutted the stage, Melbourne punk quartet Amyl and the Sniffers have become underground sensations over the last 18 months. Their raucous sound has propelled them from house parties to international touring, with Gucci's head designer Alessandro Michele insisting Taylor and bassist Gus Romer model for the storied label at a recent Milan fashion week show. "It's all so crazy at this point it's becoming normal," says the laid back Romer. "It was just putting the right people together and then making something quickly that worked with Amy's craziness and her abilities as a songwriter and a lyricist." The first taste of a debut album set for release in the middle of the year, their new single Monsoon Rock, puts a touch of studio polish on their raucous guitar, bass and drums sound. Already wild shows now feature fans imitating the band's look, complete with throwback denim and 1970s sharpie haircuts. "I'm sporting quite the sharpie mullet at the moment," Romer says. "Short on the top and a little flavour at the back."


For fans of: Robyn and Sam Smith

Current track:Bite My Tongue

"I'm obsessed with pop music and songwriters like Tove Lo and Charli XCX," says impish Melbourne pop musician Sam Bluer, and his trio of introductory singles – Shift, Body High, and now Bite My Tongue – reveal that he's been paying close attention. Bluer makes beat-driven pop songs that have a lush texture, insinuative rhythms, and a knack for lyrical revelation. "I really like writing about uncomfortable situations with other people or relationship issues that I wouldn't discuss face to face," he says. "No one's ticked me off about it yet, but I definitely love talking about things that aren't the easiest to talk about in person." Bluer's next single will move on from the three-in-the-morning grooves he's previously made, with the aim being to move from left-of-centre pop music to the anthemic centre-stage. An upcoming writing trip to Britain and Sweden should deliver his next creative goal: "I want to go the full extreme of pop music and see what comes out of it."


For Fans of: Courtney Barnett and Billy Bragg

Current track: Tricks

Stella Donnelly is impossibly cheerful in person and has a whimsical edge to her dreamy folk-pop songs, but at the same time she's supplied the soundtrack to society's turning points, beginning with 2017's scathing Boys Will Be Boys, an account of her friend's sexual assault that encompasses the culture of victim-blaming and cliched excuses. "As tough as it is singing Boys Will Be Boys five nights a week I've accepted it and let it be with me and hopefully have it do some good," says the 26-year-old singer-songwriter from Fremantle. A teenage punk rocker who never imagined she'd have a solo career, let alone one that would give her a glowing international profile, Donnelly has comfortably leapt past the merely promising stage with her assured debut album, Beware of the Dog. "Contrast is really important, in music and in the everyday. If I sat down opposite you and yelled in your face about what should be done to fix the world, I feel like I'd only get one-tenth of my message across to you," Donnelly says. "Sometimes you have to create a comfortable space for what's uncomfortable."


For fans of: Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Devo

Current track: Dare You Not to Dance

"We're pop, punk, hip-hop and electronic," says Mie Nakazawa, one-third of Sydney art school disco collective Haiku Hands alongside her sister Claire, and Beatrice Lewis. "What we have in common is a lot of energy, a lot of opinions, and that comes out in the performance and the writing. We've taken this opportunity to be loud and that resonates with a lot of people." If the set-up is conceptual, the songs are deliriously fun, all chanted lyrics, banging beats and an undercurrent of social critique, shared via live performances that start from a choreographed structure and often embrace chaos. "It's become very serious, very quickly," says Mie, speaking from a hotel room in Austin, Texas, where the trio were a few hours away from playing their first gig at the influential South by Southwest music festival. Their manager has assured them American audiences can deal with a few expletives, and now it's just a matter of turning crowds onto tracks such as Work on It, and its chorus "You can be my man bitch". "People sing along to it and then get confused about finding it so catchy," says Mie proudly.


For fans of: Cocteau Twins and The Sundays

Current track: Without a Blush

Two weeks ago Hatchie – aka Brisbane singer-songwriter Harriette Pilbeam – opened for American alternative rock figureheads Death Cab for Cutie. A week later she opened for pop icon Kylie Minogue. Somewhere in between those two poles you'll find her sound: reverb-drenched guitars, dreamy production, and swooning choruses. Her songs have a dramatic flourish and a sense of certainty – they're how Pilbeam puts her worries to right. "When I'm upset about something music is a really good way to compartmentalise it, to put it in a box even as I'm emotionally dealing with it," she says. "It means I don't have to dwell on it." The 25-year-old spent much of 2018 introducing herself to European and North American audiences, a deep-end dive for a self-confirmed pessimist who came back with the determination to take control of the recording sessions for her debut album, June's Keepsake. "I'm still always open to trying other ideas, but if I don't want something now I just say so," Pilbeam says. "I think I'm doing alright."


For fans of: Chance the Rapper and Hilltop Hoods

Current track: Bless

Homeward Bound is a side project made good. Really good. As Jimblah, Northern Territory-born and Adelaide-raised MC James Alberts made several well-received hip-hop albums, but the stress was starting to outweigh the satisfaction. "I felt boxed in with hip-hop, especially as we have a real purist mentality here in Adelaide," Alberts explains. "That's cool, and I grew up with that, but I've always liked all different kinds of music so with Homeward Bound I wanted a space to explore all kinds of sounds." Giving himself a new creative identity as Jimblah, and more importantly a collaborator in long-time live vocalist and partner Goji, Alberts created a vehicle to bring himself back from the edge. Homeward Bound's relaxed, joyful mix of hip-hop, soulful hooks and electronic arrangements is a paean to optimism that finds voice on the duo's current single, Bless. "A lot of this is about bringing it back towards the light and knowing that the darkness is there for a reason," says Alberts, who has the group's debut album ready for mid-year release. "The big message for us is that we want to bring some love to the table."


For fans of: Roxy Music and Abba

Current track: Heather

Mixing vintage synthesisers, soft rock licks, arty flourishes and pure Abba harmonies – not to mention an accompanying video clip that is heavy on the white outfits – Sydney quartet I Know Leopard hit a glam slam on their new single Heather, which is the precursor to a debut album, Love is a Landmine, due out in less than a fortnight. "The influences that are coming out now have always been there – I grew up listening to '70s soft rock and Abba – but this album is the chance to let it all out and share our love affair with this music," says frontman Luke O'Loughlin. The singer, along with bassist Rosie Fitzgerald, guitarist Todd Andrews, and keyboardist Rosie Fitzgerald, sees the album as a way of allowing classic sounds to find a new home in the contemporary music scene. Encouraged by producer Jack Moffit (the Preatures), they've made an album that draws sharpened reactions: after an introductory listen or two people often either love or loathe what they're hearing. O'Loughlin has no problem with such a dramatic choice. "Fortune favours the bold," he says.


For fans of: Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Ferg

Current track: Clouds

Another act headed to South by Southwest – he checked in with S just after he finished packing – Sydney rapper Kwame has been the next big thing in Australian hip-hop since he blew up Triple J's Unearthed a year ago with Wow, a dexterous hip-hop track that showcases his assured flow and lyrical invention. The song doesn't sound like a stepping stone, rather a statement of intent. "I don't look at it as my career, I look at it as my passion," says the dedicated but excitable 21-year-old. "I wake up every day knowing that I'm blessed with the opportunity and the ability to inspire someone's life with my artistry. I never take that for granted." A Hills District resident in Sydney's north-west since the age of two, when his Ghanaian parents moved here from New Zealand, Kwame discovered Kanye West when he was 12 and never looked back. Right now he's politely avoiding the many offers for recording contracts that are coming his way, staying independent and taking pleasure in changing the expectations of his music with each new track. "That's the excitement of doing something unknown. I love the unexpected," says Kwame, who is still coming to terms with his public profile. "I still see myself as a regular kid. It's crazy when people know I am."


For fans of: Taking Back Sunday and Good Charlotte

Current track: Everything You Wanted

Melbourne pop punk band Stuck Out have done the Hume Highway drive north to Sydney and back so many times in the last year that the five-piece have a favourite food stop: the Wodonga outlet of Mexican cafe chain Zambrero. "It's one of the few things that hasn't changed for us in the last 12 months," says frontman Joshua Walker. "We used to write a song and that was it – we either liked it or we didn't. Now we take a measured approach and we're not afraid to chop and change and we know the sounds we want." Pop punk has its highs and lows as a genre, and right now Stuck Out are positioning themselves for the next upswing with a busy touring schedule that will draw hundreds of dedicated fans to all-ages daytime shows. "As a five-piece punk band we're not ground-breaking, but we still have to stand out. That comes down to our live performances – we pride ourselves on the energy we put in," Walker says. "We want people to walk away from our shows having experienced something better than they're used to."

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10 Australian Female Singers Loved All Around the World

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10. Courtney Barnett

Best Known For:Pedestrian at Best, Avant Gardener

Courtney’s unique blend of singer-songwriter garage pop has brought her international acclaim, earned her a handful of Grammy nominations, and netted her a whole bunch of ARIA Music Awards, including an award for Best Female Artist of 2015. 

9. Jessica Mauboy

Best Known For:Never Be the Same, Pop a Bottle (Fill Me Up)

Jessica Mauboy may have only been the runner-up on Australian Idol, but she’s been one of the most successful Australian singers of the last decade. 

This Darwin-born and Sydney-based singer has had multiple number one albums and singles, with her debut album, Been Waiting, being the second best-selling Australian album of 2009. She’s also won two ARIA Music Awards – one for Best Selling Single and another for Best Female Artist. 

8. Missy Higgins

Best Known For:Scar, Where I Stood

Missy Higgins’ sound is a unique blend of all her musical influences, which include Nirvana, Sarah McLachlan and even Sigur Rós.  The combination of this unique sound and her emotional lyrics has led her to the top of Australian charts in the early 00s, and to nine ARIA Music awards.

This Melbourne native doesn’t have any new albums coming out anytime soon, but she did release a new song in 2019 on Mother's Day, which talks about the emotional rollercoaster of motherhood.

7. Iggy Azalea

Best Known For:Fancy, Black Widow

She may rap with a southern US accent and live in L.A. today, but Iggy Azalea was born and raised in New South Wales. She moved to the US at the age of 16 and has grown to become one of the most famous Australian musicians of all time. 

Since her debut in the American hip-hop scene, she’s been nominated for four Grammys, won multiple awards from Billboard and MTV and has even started her own record label.

6. Delta Goodrem

Best Known For:Lost Without You, Born To Try

Ever since she made her debut in 2001, Delta Goodrem has been killing it! She produced multiple best-selling albums and makes frequent appearances #1 spot of the top 40. On top of all of that, she’s won multiple ARIA Music awards, MTV awards and World Music awards.

In addition to her successful music career, the Sydney-based pop star has also been all over Australian TV. She’s been on Neighbours as Nina Tucker, and she’s even portrayed fellow Aussie singer Olivia Newton-John in a miniseries based on her life. Also, for the last couple of years, she’s been a judge on The Voice Australia.

5. Natalie Imbruglia

Best Known For:Torn, Wishing I Was There

Though she’s lived in London for a large part of her life, this talented lady was raised Aussie; she was born in Sydney and grew up in Berkeley Vale. Her career has earned her three Grammy nominations and awards from ARIA, MTV and Billboard.

4. Sia

Best Known For:Chandelier, Titanium

While she was born and raised in Adelaide, Sia’s been active in multiple music scenes all around the world. She’s done vocals for bands like Zero 7 in the UK and collaborated with the biggest pop stars in the US.

On top of all of that, she’s broken out as a solo artist with songs like ‘Chandelier’ and ‘Cheap Thrills’. All of this led her to ARIA Music awards, MTV awards and Grammy nominations.

3. Kylie Minogue

Best Known For:Can’t Get You Out of My Head, I Should Be So Lucky

She may be a London resident and an officer of the Order of the British Empire, but the Melbourne-born Princess of Pop is still one of Australia’s most beloved female pop singers. Not only is she one of the best ‘90s female singers of all time, but she’s also won Grammys and ARIA Music awards. On top of all that, she’s also been inducted into the ARIA Music Hall of Fame in 2015. 

2. Olivia Newton-John

Best Known For:You’re The One That I Want, Physical

Olivia John got her start early! Her performance in Grease paved her way to becoming one of the most revered and famous ‘80s female singers of all time. In addition to her amazing music career, the Cambridge-born star is also known for her work as an environmental and animal rights activist and as an advocate for cancer research and wellness.

The Grammy award-winning singer has been recognised as a Companion of the Order of Australia for her contributions as a singer and her philanthropic work.

1. Tina Arena

Best Known For:Burn, I Want To Spend My Time Loving You

What else can we say about Tina Arena, that hasn’t already been said? She’s one of Australia’s greatest singers, a member of the ARIA Hall of Fame, and one of the few musicians that have been active in the music industry for more than 40 years. From her humble beginnings as the adorable Tiny Tina all the way to starring in Opera Australia’s production of Evita, the Melbourne-based singer has done it all. 

And just last year, another accolade was added to her already long list with Support Act awarding her the Excellence in Community Award last May.

And That’s Our List!

With every passing year, the list of great Australian female singers just keeps getting longer and longer.

We may only have a modest population of 25-million, but in terms of musical talent, we’re putting the rest of the world to shame!

RELATED:10 Famous Australian Women & Why They’re Famous

Ladies of Soul 2019 - Full Concert Livestream

Meet the next generation: 19 artists to watch in 2019

Over the past couple of years, we've named a handful of acts you should be watching in the year ahead. Our electronic-centric 2017 list included a bunch of names at the forefront of the dance music scene - Ninajirachi, MOZA and Nyxen among them - and in 2018, we predicted the rise of acts including Carla Geneve, Carmouflage Rose, Eilish Gilligan, Good Doogs and SŸDE with only a track or two under their respective belts at the time. Now, we enter 2019 with the most exciting next generation yet, a collection of 19 acts that we believe will make a killing in 2019, some of them already making their mark in the first week or two of the year.

Like the 2018 compilation, this year's ensemble of artists are spread across a range of genres and sounds, guaranteeing that there's gotta be something for everyone. On the electronic side of things are Future Classic signees and high school attendees Erthlings, Haiku Hands member Beatrice Lewis and her Beatrice solo project, WA producer-on-the-rise WYN and more, while hip-hop - a genre set to dominate 2019 - is well-represented through Perth's Toyotomi, rising name Xavier Mayne and Genesis Owusu, admittedly one of the bigger and more established names on the list, but one definitely set to put up a fight in 2019. The Gang of Youths-approved Charlie Collins is a more indie-leaning act to have your eyes on, while bands such as Wollongong duo Cry Club and Sydney group Sports Bra represent the heavier side of things with thrashing guitar riffs and powerful vocals.

Each connected by their promise and potential, these are 19 artists we genuinely believe will shape Australian music in 2019 and beyond, so introduce yourself to them all below:



She's only put out one single thus far, it's but already obvious to see that Beatrice has a bright path ahead of her. Also known as a crucial member of the Haiku Hands ensemble and of indigenous group Kardajala Kirridarra, Beatrice is the solo project of Sydney musician Beatrice Lewis who, earlier last year, burst out the gates with Grid - a thumping slice of electronic that united a thick, Jon Hopkins-esque house pulse with waves of shimmering synth and vocal cuts. It's a single that marries the light and dark side of house music, with complex synth textures and intricate patterns swelling in what's a break-out single within our electronic world.

Charlie Collins


She's a somewhat obvious choice for this collection of artists, but she deserves her spot. The Sydney-via-Tamworth storyteller emerged in 2018 as one of the country's most promising, with her debut single Wish You Were Here introducing us to a musician combining brilliant songwriting with soft indie instrumentals, something her triumphant second single Mexico - a personal favourite for 2018 - only solidified. She supported Gang of Youths on their national tour run and has fans in everyone from Courtney Barnett to Amy Shark, and with plenty more to come in 2019 and beyond, it wouldn't surprise me to see Collins grow just as big as these names in the future.

Cry Club


When it comes to explosive Australian punk debuts, enter right of stage Cry Club. The Wollongong queer-punk-pop two-piece made one hell of an entrance with their debut singleWalk Away mid-last year, combining the accessible and captivating vocals you'd expect from a slick pop release with a charging punk-rock instrumental that despite its short two-minute duration, still manages to pack a major punch. In a live setting, however, this fiery charge only becomes amplified, with their set at last year's BIGSOUND standing out among the rest thanks to its sheer power. They've managed to make an impact with only one song, so don't be surprised to see them get big when they release their next few this year.

Denise Le Menice


Perth musician Ali Flintoff is an artist that may very well be on your radar already, best known for fronting the always-incredible Perth punk band BOAT SHOW. Denise Le Menice is a new solo project for Flintoff that gives her an avenue to flesh out the pop sensibilities that often lay behind BOAT SHOW's razor-sharp vocals, taking on a dreamy, indie-pop-esque sound comparable to names like Hatchie thanks to its glistening guitar melodies and soft, accessible vocals. She only has two singles under her belt already - her debut Addiction and its stand-out follow-up Heart - but she's already become one of the country's most exciting - something a set at this year's SXSW Festival is sure to lock-in.



From the second that slick bass guitar riff and punchy kick drum meet in the opening seconds of their debut single Bridges, it was clear that Erthlings have a bright, bright future ahead. The Sydney teen four-piece are an obvious shoo-in for this 'one to watch' category, with the recent Future Classic signees offering a genreless, mature sound beyond their years on their debut, which on Cuts & Bruises late-last year, only became truer - uniting a thick, house-pop-leaning bass line with catchy vocals and sun-soaked songwriting for a late contender of one of the year's best songs. Their BIGSOUND performance was one of the week's best too, "bringing stripped-back indie tunes and promising, pop-centric epics alike as they delivered one of the most densely-packed crowds to BIGSOUND in its second day."



Over the last 24 months or so, Newcastle has become a coastal hot-spot for incredible music, pushed forward thanks to city flag-flyers along the lines of RAAVE TAPES, who you'll regularly see plugging local favourites. 18-year-old newcomer FRITZ is definitely one of these Novocastrian highlights, who with her single Biggest Fool in the World, gave us an introduction to a light-hearted and playful musician on-the-rise that you should definitely be across. They're fuzzy, DIY-shaded gems of surf-rock-pop and with Biggest Fool's late-2018 follow-up Summer Holiday only cementing her place as a one-to-watch, it won't surprise me to see FRITZ explode throughout the new year.

Genesis Owusu


Although definitely one of the bigger and more established names on this list, I haven't been more excited for an Australian hip-hop act than I am for Genesis Owusu since the early rise of Sampa The Great. His 2017 single Sideways definitely put him on the map, but throughout 2018 he went from strength to strength to become one of our country's most important and exciting names, from the chilling awomen amen - an "an ode to the female in all of her grace, elegance, nastiness, power, rebellion, boldness and ferocity" - to the slick, Anderson .Paak-esque groove of his latest Wit' Da Team. Each single has been better and more impactful than the last, something that is definitely going to continue into 2019.

Keelan Mak


Last year was a big one for home-grown pop newcomers, and a large part of that is Brisbane rising star Keelan Mak. Arriving with an infectious slice of Troye Sivan-esque pop confidence in Weigh You Down, the 20-year-old singer-songwriter/producer/writer has relentlessly teased an exciting future, with his second single, Flicker, only cementing this. "Immediately capturing your attention with a swelling, bass-driven production, Flicker maintains that bright and confident pop sound that Keelan Mak debuted with his first single but does so in a way that seems more emotive and personal," we said on the single's release. "It's a ripper song though that demonstrates a bit of versatility - something we're definitely keen to hear more of as he continues on an upward path into 2019."

Milan Ring


Sydney master-of-all-trades Milan Ring has been in the game for a while, but in 2018, the musician truly set her foot forward. It began by a three-peat of sensational singles - Unbounded2063Obscured - before she properly burst out the gates with Drifting, a unique, part-soul, part-R&B, part-electronic and part-indie mish-mash of genres that utilised her strengths in... well, everything. The next single, Green Light, only saw her grow, and she's got so much on the way that it would be dumb not to feature her on this list. She's worked with names including DRAM, The Social Experiment (Chance The Rapper's band) and Cosmo's Midnight and we'd expect this to continue in the future alongside her own music - she's gonna be everywhere.



In mid-last year, we met Melbourne group murmurmur, and were immediately swept away by the promise and potential they held in their debut single, Cable Car. It was a single that combined the haunting vocal of frontman Will Fletcher, who on the single sings about "the fear of change and eventually learning to let go," with emotive, touching guitar melodies to form one of the year's most impressive debuts. In the time since they've only grown, teaming up with songwriting weapon Oscar Dawson (from Holy Holy) for a four-track collection of brilliant, diverse singles they're sure to build upon in 2019.

Rachel Maria Cox


Another strong Australian artist to grow in 2018 was Rachel Maria Cox, the music project of the rising Newcastle singer-songwriter perhaps more recognised for their work leading Sad Grrls Club - a group trying to push for diversity, safety and inclusivity in the music industry through events and their record label, Sad Grrls Club Records. When it comes to music, RMC's brand combines mature and honest songwriting and lyricism with soft indie and pop sensibilities that together, create songs - such as last year's Time - that feels good on the ears while pulling at your heartstrings at the same time. They're a wonderful artist and one of the most important out there, and we can't wait to see them grow more in 2019.



There's a lot to love about Ro. She was raised in the south-west of WA before relocating to Melbourne a while ago, and despite how long ago it was, this DIY-shaded, homegrown feeling that you'd expect from an artist growing up in regional WA is more than present in her music. F**ked Up Over You, her stand-out second single, combined this grassroots feeling with powerful songwriting and catchy melodies that you'll love if you adore artists like Jack River, bringing back poetry to lyricism without sacrificing catchiness or accessibility - which is a really, really hard feat to do. "F**ked Up Over You is the perfect entry point into a musician who, like the easily-comparable Jack River before her, could easily become one of the country's most-celebrated songwriters when her debut album rolls around - whenever that may be," we said when the single dropped, and we're looking forward to seeing her continue her rise to the top this year.

Sports Bra


You're not going to find an Australian band that works as hard as Sports Bra. When the Sydney-based alt-punk band aren't releasing their debut album – last year's Sports Bra – or a pair of brilliant, powerful singles in 2018 – Survival and Little Beast – they're more likely touring the country, something that's probably not going to be stopping anytime soon as they bound towards their second album later this year. The aforementioned singles act as the first taste of their second album and it showcases their growth and maturity as a band, mixing important lyrical themes on trans rights and resilience with emotive punk instrumentals shaded slightly with pop-centric songwriting. They're onto something very, very good, and I completely expect their second album to take them onto the next step – it was also created alongside Cry Club's Jonathon Tooke, and we've already explained why they're one to watch this year. 

The Kid LAROI.


He's jumped up on stage with Manu Crook$ and Tkay Maidza, played shows with Juice WRLD and THEY., has collaborations on the way with 6LACK and Lil' Skies, and his latest single – Blessings / Boss Up – sits with around 830k plays on Spotify. Oh, and he's also only 15-years-old. By far the youngest person on this list, Sydney rapper The Kid LAROI is one of the most exciting names in the scene, with Blessings cementing this status thanks to its heaving, bass-fuelled production and LAROI's light-hearted, but quick-firing vocal pace. It's fun and catchy, yet contains the focus and precision that has seen some of hip-hop's biggest rise in 2018, and considering the strength of the genre even locally as we head into 2019, all eyes are on The Kid LAROI. to push his sound into the limelight this year.



When we first met Melbourne producer Tobiahs, he was following the path of Christopher Port with the percussive garage-house of his first major single, Through to You, back in 2017. It was a single that although admittedly overlooked at the time, introduced to us an artist who, the year later, would find his prime in sun-soaked house-pop, something his 2018 success story Sculpted saw the producer refine and polish for a track that could easily be blasted over the radio for months. It's accessible and catchy with a brightness and heat matching the Australian summer, mixing pop-centric vocals and simplistic (yet effective) house-leaning productions for instantly-replayable gold. He kicked off his 2019 playing alongside Nicki Minaj and Mura Masa at FOMO Brisbane, but that's just the start - there's plenty more to come.



One of the more unique acts on this list, Toyotomi is a Perth rapper who has become somewhat of a local staple over the last year thanks to his uncommon, hazier approach to hip-hop. In saying that, he's quickly going national, getting the applause of triple j Unearthed and Origin Fields - who added him to their two-day lineup, and singles including the MAX BLACK-featuring Wasted are gaining traction at a rapid pace thanks to its meeting of old-school boom-bap hip-hop instrumentals and forward-thinking flow, which sits somewhere closer to an Earl Sweatshirt-esque vibe with its dark and menacing feel. He's one we're closely watching on a local level this year, and he's definitely someone everyone else should be keeping an eye on too.



Rising out of the Feels-led WOMPP (Women in Music Production Perth) crew, WYN is a Perth-based artist we've been watching for a while now, with her first major single Never Be catching our eyes thanks to its warped experimentalism and genre-bounding feeling. It was a single that marked her entry into production after a long time DJing and it did it in great fashion, uniting the trip-hop bass of Mr Carmack with the intricacy and haziness of Clams Casino and Flying Lotus for a single that almost feels like it's crashing over each other, the waves of layers smashing together to create a sophisticated, swelling piece of electronic art we've had on repeat basically ever since. She's just played Origin Fields, like Toyotomi before her, but we can see her going heaps further in 2019.

Xavier Mayne


Once a member of a couple of budding indie-rock projects, Xavier Mayne is a Far North Queensland rapper we're glad decided to move into hip-hop, with his two collaborative efforts thus far - Shleepin', featuring Chase Atlantic, and Understand It, featuring GOON DES GARCONS* and Jay Cooper - showing some major promise early on. They're both conjoined by Mayne's woozy, R&B feel comparative to acts like Frank Ocean or The Weeknd, the latter particularly feeling present as he unites this dripping vocal with genre-defying, varying productions. He's already toured through Europe and the UK and played shows with Carmouflage Rose but that's only the start - he's got a lot more to come in 2019.



Any artist comparable to Robyn with their debut single is one worth celebrating. 20-year-old Byron Bay singer-songwriter Yorke did that exact thing with her first ever single First Light, a track that brought together the emotion and tenseness of the Swedish queen but with a more indie-leaning backing, melding together the worlds of pop, indie and electronica for a bittersweet debut that contrasts lyrics on self-care and love with a emotional tenderness. "It's the kind of song you’d imagine blasting in your car late at night," she said of the single on release and honestly, she's got the description down-pact, and we can't wait for many late-night drives accompanied by Yorke's music in 2019.


Singer 2019 australian

33 Australian Singers and Bands Who Made It Big in America

FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.

Aussie Singers and Bands That Made It Big in America

Quick. What do you think of when I say, "Australia"?

Perhaps you envision koalas, kangaroos, or venomous snakes. Your mind might venture to the effects of climate change, the outback, and the devastating bush fires. Or instead, maybe you consider Aussie slang terms, their unique accent, or even Vegemite, that curious Australian food spread made from leftover brewer's yeast.

However, the land down under is also famous for its talent. The island continent has famously exported a variety of entertainers who have become successful in America. For example, some of the biggest stars on the US Billboard charts are Aussies. Let's take a look at Australian singers and bands who made it big in the U.S.

Reader Poll

1. AC/DC

In 1973, Australian brothers Angus and Malcolm Young founded this legendary Australian hard rock band that has become known for its loud, pounding, simple sound and sexual innuendos. Rolling Stone saluted AC/DC as one of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time."

AC/DC got its name when the brothers saw those initials on a sewing machine and believed that the electricity-related abbreviation aptly captured their power-charged musical performances. The band has since landed over two dozen singles on the mainstream rock charts, in addition to three tunes on the mainstream pop chart, the US Billboard Hot 100:

  • "You Shook Me All Night Long" (1980)
  • "Back in Black" (1981)
  • "Moneytalks" (1990)

Over their four decades of making music, the band has survived a variety of real-life challenges, including:

  • bandmates' drug and legal problems
  • the firing, illness, retirement, and death of AC/DC members and
  • the accidental death of several fans at a concert.


In the band's early days, INXS considered becoming a Christian band and adopted the name "The Vegetables." Can you imagine?

One of the highest-selling artists in Australia, INXS has been called "the best live band in the world." From 1977–2012, this rock group landed seven singles on the Top 10 list of the US Billboard Hot 100, plus additional tunes on the mainstream rock and alt rock charts. Top 10 pop hits included the following:

  • "What You Need" (1985)
  • "Need You Tonight" (1987)
  • "Devil Inside" (1988)
  • "New Sensation" (1988)
  • "Never Tear Us Apart" (1989)
  • "Suicide Blonde" (1990)
  • "Disappear" (1990)

Several years following the 1997 suicide of Michael Hutchence—INXS's lead vocalist and the band's centerpiece—the band searched for his replacement using a televised reality show competition.

3. Sia

Even if you aren't a fan of Sia's music, you probably recognize the indie pop artist by her trademark appearance. The Australian artist is known for craving privacy, particularly as her fame has grown. On stage and in videos she has typically opted to conceal her face from the viewer or audience by hiding behind an object or sporting an oversized bleach blonde wig.

Sia is a prolific songwriter. As of 2020, about 70 of the songs that she has written have been recorded, many times by other prominent musicians. The Australian singer-songwriter has penned songs for musicians that include Christina Aguilera, Katy Perry, Celine Dion, Rita Ora, Eminem, Kylie Minogue, Maroon 5, Fall Out Boy, and others.

As a singer, Sia has placed several songs in the Top 10 of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, including:

  • "Titanium" by David Guetta (featuring Sia) (2011)
  • "Wild Ones" by Flo Rida (featuring Sia) (2011)
  • "Chandelier" (2014)
  • "Cheap Thrills" (featuring Sean Paul) (2015)

4. Bee Gees

What would the 1970s have been without this trio of Australian brothers singing disco songs at the top end of their vocal register, sometimes in a quavery whisper? One of the best-selling musical artists of all time, The Bees Gees consisted of Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb. All were born in England but emigrated to Australia as children. They formed the Bee Gees in 1958, wrote all of their own hits, and are known for their three-part tight harmonies.

Recording primarily rock and disco songs, the band achieved an impressive 15 Top 10 hits on US Billboard Hot 100, nine of which reached the #1 spot:

  • "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" (1971)
  • "Jive Talkin'" (1975)
  • "You Should Be Dancing" (1976)
  • "How Deep Is Your Love" (1977)
  • "Stayin' Alive" (1977)
  • "Night Fever" (1978)
  • "Too Much Heaven" (1978)
  • "Tragedy" (1979)
  • "Love You Inside Out" (1979)

The brothers Gibb have also been prolific songwriters for other singers. At least 2,500 artists have recorded their songs.

The phenomenal success of this Australian group has been celebrated in a variety of ways. The Bee Gees were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, awarded both a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and Grammy Legend Award, and they were honored with a star on the Hollywood walk of fame.

5. Keith Urban

Born in New Zealand and raised in Australia, country music superstar Keith Urban is a citizen of both countries, in addition to the United States. Urban has been an extremely productive musician. From 1999-2019, he released more than four dozen singles that reached the Top 40 of the US country Billboard chart.

Further, more than 20 of his hits during that period crossed over to the mainstream pop chart and/or the adult contemporary chart. Examples of these ditties include:

  • "Somebody Like You" (2002)
  • "You'll Think of Me" (2004)
  • "Days Go By" (2004)
  • "Making Memories of Us" (2005)
  • "You Look Good in My Shirt" (2008)
  • "Long Hot Summer" (2011)
  • "Somewhere in My Car" (2014)
  • "Raise 'Em Up" (featuring Eric Church) (2015)
  • "Blue Ain't Your Color" (2016)

Urban gained notoriety in 2002 when he posed nude for Playgirl, a decision he later regretted. In 2006, he married actress Nicole Kidman, also an Aussie. The Grammy Award-winning singer served as a judge for American Idol and was honored by being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.

6. Rick Springfield

Australian singer Rick Springfield is best known for his #1 single, "Jessie's Girl" about a guy's crush on his best friend's girl. This catchy number snagged him a Grammy Award. He recorded additional hits that also made the US Billboard Hot 100 and crossed over to both the adult contemporary and mainstream rock charts. Singles reaching the Top 10 included:

  • "Jessie's Girl" (1981)
  • "Don't Talk to Strangers" (1982)
  • "Affair of the Heart" (1983)
  • "Love Somebody" (1984)

Born with the name Richard Springthorpe, the Australian musician changed it for performing purposes. Springfield has battled depression throughout his life and attempted suicide when he was 17.

During the height of his career, he played the character Dr. Noah Webster on the ABC soap opera General Hospital. He has also acted in film and a variety of television shows. The "Jessie's Girl" singer has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

7. 5 Seconds of Summer

This Aussie boy band with a punk-pop vibe got its start in 2011 on YouTube then toured with both One Direction and The Chainsmokers. A success in their own right, 5SOS has landed a variety of songs on the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, including:

  • "She Looks So Perfect" (2014)
  • "Kiss Me Kiss Me" (2014)
  • "Everything I Didn't Say" (2014)
  • "Amnesia" (2014)
  • "Good Girls" (2014)
  • "She's Kinda Hot" (2015)
  • "Youngblood" (2018)

8. Men at Work

Living in a land down under
Where women glow and men plunder
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder? (Ooh yeah)
You better run, you better take cover (we are).

Because of their hit, "Down Under," Men at Work may be among the first musicians whom you associate with Australia. This Australian group was formed in 1979 as a pop-rock band with a new wave flair. Their most successful songs included contributions to the Top 10 list of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart:

  • "Who Can It Be Now?" (1981)
  • "Down Under" (1981)
  • "Overkill" (1983)
  • "It's a Mistake" (1983)

Additionally, their songs appealed to international audiences and found popularity on US adult contemporary and mainstream rock charts. The band has periodically revived playing over the years.

9. Iggy Azalea

In listening to rap/hip-hop artist Amethyst Amelia Kelly (Iggy Azalea's given name), you wouldn't know that she is a young white woman from Australia. That's because the rapper has the accent of a black woman from the Southern United States. This discrepancy has caused some critics to express concerns about cultural appropriation. Others, however, contend it's not that deep.

Iggy Azalea dropped out of high school and headed for America to pursue her passion for rap when she was on the cusp of 16 years old. In 2014, the rapper made music history when she became only the second act in music history (after The Beatles) to simultaneously occupy both the first and second spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Azalea dropped several songs that made it to the Top 10 list on the mainstream pop chart and crossed over to international charts:

  • "Fancy" (featuring Charli XCX) (2014)
  • "Black Widow" (Rita Ora) (2014)
  • Problem" (featuring Ariana Grande) (2014)

10. For King & Country

American Songwriter applauded For King & Country as "Australia's answer to Coldplay" while Billboard described the Grammy Award-winning group as being "on a passionate pursuit of joy." After emigrating to Nashville, the Australian band burst on the American music scene and built a loyal following in the contemporary Christian music space.

They released a string of Top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot Christian chart, including:

  • "Busted Heart (Hold On to Me)" (2011)
  • "The Proof of Your Love" (2012)
  • "Fix My Eyes" (2014)
  • "Shoulders" (2014)
  • "It's Not Over Yet (The Encore)" (2016)
  • "Priceless" (2016)
  • "Glorious" (2016)
  • "Little Drummer Boy" (2017)
  • "Joy" (2018)
  • "God Only Knows" (2019)
  • "Burn the Ships" (2019)

Brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone comprise this Christian pop duo. The Australian band temporarily adopted two unremarkable names—"Austoville" and "Joel & Luke"—before settling on "For King & Country." What inspired their group's name was the battle cry of English soldiers who were willing to lay down their lives for their king and country.

11. Vance Joy

During the height of Vance Joy's fame, I once drove my eager teen to a concert of his four and a half hours away. Vance Joy is the stage name for Australian James Keogh, who picked his pseudonym from a novel. He became an international sensation with his 2013 single, "Riptide," an indie folk song.

This love ditty is an enigmatic, upbeat love ballad that peaked at #30 on the US Billboard Hot 100 but was one of the longest-charting songs in chart history. Additionally, the song crossed over to rock and adult alternative charts. In spite of this success, however, Vance Joy, has yet to follow up with another such hit, thus making him a one-hit wonder.

12. Little River Band

Formed in 1975, the Little River Band remains one of Australia's most noteworthy musical groups. Having been unable to gain traction for their music in the United Kingdom, the rock band looked instead to the American market and found remarkable success. In fact, their songs often charted higher on Billboard's mainstream pop and adult contemporary charts in the United States than in their home country of Australia.

Over a handful of years, Little River Band landed six Top 10 hits on the US Billboard Hot 100:

  • "Reminiscing" (1978), their highest charting single at #3
  • "Lady" (1979)
  • "Lonesome Loser" (1979)
  • "Cool Change" (1979)
  • "The Night Owls" (1981)
  • "Take It Easy On Me" (1982)

The band has undergone more than 35 changes to its membership over the years, and none of the current members include the original members from the 1970s. The Little River Band endures, however.

13. Gotye

Although Gotye was born in Belgium, his family emigrated to Australia when he was only two years old. Based on a single phenomenally successful 2011 indie pop song, "Somebody That I Used to Know," Gotye was recognized by The Australian newspaper on their list of the "top 50 most influential Australians in the arts." He both wrote the song and collaborated with New Zealand singer Kimbra in singing it.

"Somebody That I Used to Know" is about an unhealthy, now-defunct love relationship. The narrator's girlfriend dumped him and although she assured him they could still be friends, she has cut him off emotionally, avoiding him and even dispatching her friends to collect her belongings. He feels like he has been punched in the gut. Whereas they once seemed like a good love match, now they are mere strangers.

14. Air Supply

If you grew up in the 1980s like I did, then you probably fell in love and nursed your broken heart listening to Air Supply songs. Half of this powerhouse soft rock duo—lead vocalist Russell Hitchcock—is from the land down under.

The group was formed in 1975, and in the first half of the 1980s, they had a string of sentimental love songs that hit the Top 40 of the US Billboard Hot 100. An impressive list of eight Air Supply songs reached the mainstream Top 10 in the early 1980s. These included:

  • "Lost in Love" (1980)
  • "All Out of Love" (1980)
  • "Every Woman in the World" (1980)
  • "The One That I Love" (1981)
  • "Here I Am" (1981)
  • "Sweet Dreams" (1982)
  • "Even the Nights Are Better" (1982)
  • "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" (1983)

Don't these songs bring back the memories?

15. Natalie Imbruglia

Australian-born Natalie Imbruglia is talented in several realms. Initially, she modeled for L'Oreal and Gap and appeared as an actress in the Australian soap opera, "Neighbors." She also starred in the 2003 spy action comedy film Johnny English and several subsequent movies.

In 1997, Imbruglia launched her singing career with the Ednaswap number, "Torn," a pop ditty about a bad breakup. "Torn" was Imbruglia's first song and highest-charting single. It became a worldwide hit and was nominated for a Grammy. Unfortunately, due to changes in how the US Billboard Hot 100 was tabulated, "Torn" reached only #42 on the chart. Imbruglia enjoyed only moderate follow-up success with her 2002 follow-up song, "Wrong Impression," which reached a peak spot of #64.

Imbruglia has additionally been a philanthropist for the cause of obstetric fistula. She became a British citizen in 2013.

Even More Australian Singers and Bands Who Made It Big in America

ArtistExamples of Popular SinglesGenre(s)

16. Tame Impala

Elephant (2012), Feels Like We Only Go Backwards (2012), Patience (2019), Borderline (2019)

psychadelic rock

17. Midnight Oil

Blue Sky Mine (1990), Forgotten Years (1990)


18. Sick Puppies

You're Going Down (2009), Odd One (2009), Riptide (2011), There's No Going Back (2013)

hard rock

19. Olivia Newton-John

If You Love Me (Let Me Know) (1974), I Honestly Love You (1974), Have You Ever Been Mellow (1975), Please Mr. Please (1975), You're the One That I Want (1978)

soft rock, pop

20. Jet

Are You Gonna Be My Girl (2003), Cold Hard B*tch (2004), Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (2006), She's a Genius (2009)


21. Kylie Minogue

I Should Be So Lucky (1987), The Loco-Motion (1987), Can't Get You Out of My Head (2001), Into the Blue (2014)

pop, dance

22. The Vines

Get Free (2002), Outtathaway! (2002)

alt rock

23. Divinyls

I Touch Myself (1990)

pop rock

24. Helen Reddy

I Am Woman (1972), Delta Dawn (1973), Angie Baby (1974), Ain't No Way to Treat a Lady (1975)

pop, adult contemporary

25. Wolfmother

Woman (2006), Love Train (2006), Joker & the Thief (2006)

hard rock

26. Savage Garden

I Want You (1996), Truly Madly Deeply (2007), I Knew I Loved You (1999)


27. Crowded House

Don't Dream It's Over (1986), Something So Strong (1987), Chocolate Cake (1991), It's Only Natural (1991), Locket Out (1994)


28. Dean Lewis

Be Alright (2018)


29. Cody Simpson

On My Mind (2012), Pretty Brown Eyes (2013)


30. Tina Arena

Chains (1994)


31. Jamie O'Neal

There Is No Arizona (2000), When I Think About Angels (2001)


32. Troye Sivan

Youth (2015)


33. The Seekers

I'll Never Find Another You (1965), A World of Our Own (1965), Georgy Girl (1966)


© 2020 FlourishAnyway


FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 08, 2020:

Steven Coddington - Hey, but thanks to you they are on there now! I appreciate the add.

steven coddington on September 08, 2020:

you forgot the one band that made it all possible. the only ausie band to showcase on the ed sulivan show . that led the way....the seekers

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 19, 2020:

Skyler Mo - Thanks for the awesome suggestion. He was born in South Africa but seems to largely identify as Australian, so I've added him. I appreciate you. Have a good weekend and stay safe.

Skyler Mo on July 16, 2020:

Troye Sivan!! He is an Australian singer who recently moved to LA to further pursue music - most of his songs are pretty high in the charts and he's hit no #1 twice! And he's starred in a movie alongside Nicole Kidman and has 2 new movies coming out.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 20, 2020:

Genna - Those Aussies are very talented! Glad you enjoyed the list.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 20, 2020:

Bob - Thanks for stopping by!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 20, 2020:

Readmikenow - Thanks for the read. I'm glad you enjoyed this and learned something from it. There were a couple of surprises, huh?

Robert Sacchi on February 19, 2020:


Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on February 19, 2020:

Hi Flourish --

So many greats on this list! What a beautiful shout-out to our Australian friends and the many talents the Land Down Under has blessed us with. Thank you. :-)

Readmikenow on February 19, 2020:

Interesting article. I never realized so many of my favorite bands came from Australia. Enjoyed reading it.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 19, 2020:

Bob - I wasn't familiar with him, looked him up and read all about his history, including the allegations that ended his career.

Robert Sacchi on February 18, 2020:

Did you consider "Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport" by Rolf Harris? It was a big hit back in the day.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 18, 2020:

Bob - Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate you! Have a terrific week.

Robert Sacchi on February 17, 2020:

Thanks for another interesting list. Never realized some of these Australian entertainers were Australian.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 13, 2020:

LaustCawz - Thanks for that tidbit of information on SplitEnz.

LaustCawz on February 11, 2020:

Before Crowded House, the Finn brothers (Neil & Tim) had formed Split Enz, which had songs such as "Hard Act To Follow", "Six Months In A Leaky Boat" & (their biggest hit, I guess), "I Got You".

Ann Carr from SW England on February 06, 2020:

Thanks. You too!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 05, 2020:

Ann - I appreciate your kind praise. I'm glad this list appealed to you. Have a wonderful week!

Ann Carr from SW England on February 05, 2020:

I'd forgotten all about Helen Reddy! She had a great voice.

I suppose here in Britain we think of The Bee Gees first, then AC/DC and Men at Work. Of course Olivia Newton-John and Kylie Minogue are two more success stories.

I saw a statue of one of AC/DC by the sea in Perth but I can't remember the name.

You've done a great job here, as you always do, with names out of the past and your amazing research. Lots of memories here too!

Thanks, Flourish!


FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 01, 2020:

Peggy - I'm glad the fires have been quelled now. I appreciate your stopping by! Have a good weekend.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 31, 2020:

I knew some of these singers, but thanks for introducing me to others. In many cases, I did not realize that they came from Australia. So glad that the fires down there have abated somewhat because of them getting much-needed rain.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 27, 2020:

Dora - It was a lot of fun. Thanks for reading!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 27, 2020:

Heidi, The words to that song are so odd, especially if you look at the slang terms. But I love the tune. Unforgettable! Quintessentially 1980s!

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on January 27, 2020:

My sister was a huge Air Supply fan back in the day! And, of course, being the 70s funky fan I am, The Bee Gees are my fav UK/AUS super group. But the Men at Work song is the one I think we ALL remember most "from the land down under." Great list! Will look forward to the "O, Canada!" edition!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 27, 2020:

This is good information. Thanks for the research and presentation which is educational from more than a musical point of view. This must be a great fun activity for you!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 27, 2020:

Linda - Canada is next! Stay tuned!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 27, 2020:

James - The British get credit for a lot of things! I sure love Olivia Newton-John!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 27, 2020:

Clive - Glad you liked it!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 27, 2020:

Doris - I can see you head bobbing to AC/DC! Glad you enjoyed this!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 27, 2020:

Liz - I was a young kid when they were popular in the 1970s. I remember learning to disco in gym class to their music!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 27, 2020:

Raymond - Thanks for this addition! You're lucky to have seen some of these in concert!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 27, 2020:

Bill - Maybe we could all visit John and he could do a poetry reading on his porch.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 26, 2020:

I used to love the Bee Gees. I've heard of a few of the other singers but didn't know that they were Australian. As always, thanks for sharing the information, Flourish.

James C Moore from Joliet, IL on January 26, 2020:

Olivia Newton John was the only name that came to mind when I first read the hub title. I assumed INXS and the Bee Gees were from England. I didn't know so many musicians came from Australia. New info for me.

Clive Williams from Jamaica on January 26, 2020:

interesting...never knew some of these were Aussies

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on January 26, 2020:

Flourish, I learned a lot I didn't know from this list. AC/DC was one of my favorites, but I'm not sure I knew where they were from. I'm more familiar with the older ones from the 60s, 70s and 80s, like Olivia Newton John, the BeeGees and Helen Reddy. Today I don't pay much attention to pop music, but I enjoy country Keith Urban. Then there's Russell Crow who has a band, but I think more of him as an actor than musician. Anyway, good job!

Liz Westwood from UK on January 26, 2020:

The Bee Gees were my first thought. It's a tribute to their enduring popularity that there have been so many covers of their songs. So sad that only one is now left.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on January 26, 2020:

Helen Ready was one of the first artists I saw live in concert. Thank you for the Australia Day wishes too.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on January 26, 2020:

My first thought was of Men Down Under and Keith Urban. I had no idea that AC/DC, Air Supply, INXS, or even the Bee Gees were from Australia. I would love to visit someday.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 26, 2020:

Linda Lum - It's funny what we don't know about some of the most famous artists and bands. I mean, what's more American that Helen Reddy, haha? Glad you like this. Have a great week, and wish John a Happy Australia Day!

Raymond Philippe from The Netherlands on January 26, 2020:

Wow. Brings back memories. I saw several of them perform in Holland (inxs) Belgium (crowded house) and Germany (ac/dc & wolfmother). Crowded House is absolutely my favorite australian band.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on January 26, 2020:

My younger daughter was absolutely obsessed with Savage Garden. I think she wore out all the CDs she owned. A few of these surprised me. Air Supply? Helen Reddy? Who knew (apparently you did LOL)? Fun topic and great start to the week.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 26, 2020:

Bill - That's an interesting first answer. Glad you liked the list. Wish John a Happy Australia Day.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 26, 2020:

Devika - It's interesting how some of these artists were primarily popular in America, Australia and New Zealand. I think the rest of the world missed out on some good talent! I'm glad you liked this list. Have a fabulous week ahead, and thanks for reading and commenting.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 26, 2020:

Pamela - I'm glad that you had fun with this and recalled some of these musicians. Have a wonderful week! Today is Australia Day!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 26, 2020:

Oddly, the first I thought of was Little River Band....I had forgotten a couple...had no clue that AC/DC was from could I not know that?

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 26, 2020:

I am familiar with these song list and had no idea of their background. Definitely got me wondering of more of the songs and you created a challenge here for us to work it out.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on January 26, 2020:

This is a good group of muscians and I was familiar with most of them. Thanks for your hard work putting this all together. I sure remember the Bee Gees from long time ago.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 26, 2020:

Lora - I'm so happy you enjoyed this! I had a blast putting it together. It was a walk down memory lane.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 26, 2020:

Nithya - Sometimes the English try to claim them, but that's what I give explanations. Aussies. Thanks for reading! I love the Bee Gees too. It's sad that there's only one left.

Lora Hollings on January 25, 2020:

A very interesting list, Flourish. I never knew that the Bee Gees were Australians and half of the singers on Air Supply who was one of my favorite groups of all times. Down Under by Men At Work was one that I certainly remember well. I didn't know that Helen Reddy was an Aussie either. Awesome songs from the "Land Down Under!" Thank you.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on January 25, 2020:

A great selection, my all time favorite is The Bee Gees! Next I enjoy Keith Urban songs.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on January 25, 2020:

Lol thank you Flourish.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 25, 2020:

John - I thought of you as I wrote this!

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on January 25, 2020:

This is a great list Flourish. Would you believe I didn't even know a couple of these were Aussies. It sometimes surprises me those who made it is the USA and those that didn't. Some of these, as you mentioned. like Little River Band were more popular in the USA than in Australia. Did you know their original name was Mississippi?

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 25, 2020:

Umesh - I appreciate your kind comment. Thanks for reaading! Have a fabulous weekend. Canada is next.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 25, 2020:

Kelly Ann - I'm glad you enjoyed the song. Hope you are doing well tonight.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 25, 2020:

Shannon - He's great. I hadn't heard of Sherrie Austin, so thanks for mentioning her. Hope you're doing well.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on January 25, 2020:

Excellent, detailed and well researched. Good reading.

Kelly Ann Christensen from Overland Park, Johnson County, Kansas on January 25, 2020:

I was expecting a little different article when I first clicked on this, but thank you for presenting Time for a Cool Change tonight. When I was young, working full time, going to school full time, going through childhood sexual abuse therapy, raising my child, and trying to date, I hit burnout and there came a time when my priorities changed. It was Time for a Cool Change, and indeed it is again.

Shannon Henry from Texas on January 25, 2020:

Who doesn't love Keith Urban???? Another country artist from Australia that was popular particularly in the 90s was Sherrie Austin.

Unforgettable (Australian singer 2019)

50 game-changing women of Australian music

The artists who shifted the needle in our local scene

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that the following article contains the names and images of people who have died.

There are musicians in my life who, when I heard their work, opened a world of possibility.

It might have been tied to memory; a moment I saw something that hadn’t existed before. Or a bolt of excitement when someone today cast an invisible line, and I witnessed the path they’re forging into the future.

To be a game-changer is to leave the world a different place than how you found it. And in doing so, to show those in your wake that they can too.

Our list of 50 game-changing women and gender diverse artists is far from definitive, but it captures just some of the incredible creators who have changed the sound and scene in Australian music.

It captures the heavy hitters and quiet achievers. It jumps across time, genre, and geography. All of them have changed the game in some way, and we are indebted to their talent and tenacity. Without them, Australian music would sound very different. – Zan Rowe

Tune in to Double J on Monday 8 March to join a day-long celebration of the 50 game-changing women of Australian music. Here's how to listen.

Subscribe to the 50 game-changing women of Australian music playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.




Adalita is an axe queen with a major wild streak.  Ever since Magic Dirt blazed their way out of Geelong, her raw power and rock chops have provided major thrills. She's given us poise and poses, squalls of feedback, savage riffage, moody melodies, fierce emotions and the occasional unhinged stage dive.

She screamed 'If you touch me, I'll kill you' on 'Rabbit With Fangs', and we channelled our frustration and rebellion through her feisty stage presence, full-throated rock anthems and effortlessly cool tattooed femininity.

Adalita has always felt deeply authentic as an artist and that's a powerful thing in a music industry that so often exploits and commodifies women. With Magic Dirt and as a compelling solo artist, Adalita has shown over three decades that, with determination and self-belief, it's possible to carve out a career on your own terms. For legions of aspiring girls in music, that's a huge gift. – Karen Leng

Alison Wonderland
Alison Wonderland


Alison Wonderland

There is no one like Alison Wonderland.

She went from playing cello in the Sydney Youth Opera to becoming one of the hardest names in EDM.

Her music cuts through, not only because of its badass production, but also because the personal experiences she puts into her art makes it both so raw and relatable.

There are not many people with almost a million Instagram followers who will leave their DMs as open as she does.

She's there for her fans as much as they are for her. And that is something truly special. – Andy Garvey

Amy Taylor
Amy Taylor


Amy Taylor

I'll never forget the first time I saw Amyl and the Sniffers, fronted by Amy Taylor, a self-confessed typical Capricorn who likes being in control.

She was fierce, fearless, angry and literally spat in the face of the 'chill girl' archetype: it was inspiring and riled me the hell up. She writhed around on stage, jumped on monitors, let loose in the crowd, but was always in control.

Her shows are a masterclass in commanding a room. She stares down the pit and launches into the belly of the beast, where non-males are encouraged to thrash among the dudes.

Amy proves punk can be assertive, sexy, feminine and aggressive, all while throwing a middle finger to the boys' club. – Lucy Smith

Anna Lunoe
Anna Lunoe


Anna Lunoe

Sydney born Anna Lunoe has spent much of the last decade becoming one of the top global dance music authorities.

Her move to Los Angeles in 2012 coupled with the release of her debut EP Anna Lunoe & Friends, featuring Flume and Touch Sensitive, were the catalyst for it all getting very real very fast.

She's since spent her time writing club anthems, touring the international festival circuit and being the host and curator of Apple Music's danceXL show.

Always at the top of her game, it was seeing her playing to tens of thousands at Coachella whilst eight months pregnant that in my eyes solidified her as one of the baddest women in club music. – Andy Garvey




Without the pioneers of the 80s and 90s, we wouldn't have the fertile and diverse electronic underground that exists today across the country.  

B(if)tek – Canberra duo Kate Crawford and Nicole Skeltys – were less inspired by raves and DJ culture as they were by radiophonic composition pioneers like Raymond Scott and Delia Derbyshire. Firmly looking to the future, they mused on whether "machines could do the work" decades before robotic and algorithmic automation became reality in our work and play. 

Over 20 years later, they are still game-changers: Nicole is an active composer working with the Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio while Kate has become one of the world's foremost AI ethicists. – Tim Shiel

Camp Cope
Camp Cope


Camp Cope

Camp Cope's music is the gut-punch, scream-your-heart-out, lump-in-your-throat kind. Georgia Maq's raw voice could blast through a dam and her lyrics are equally powerful. Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich's basslines are bold and catchy as hell, and Sarah 'Thomo' Thompson steers the ship effortlessly on drums.

While their two incredible albums and commitment to making music on their own terms is enough to land the Melbourne trio on this list, their efforts to challenge the status quo is what cements them as a total force. Just chuck on their 2017 single 'The Opener' and you'll hear it.

Their unending fight for equality, not just for women but for all marginalised people, has been truly inspiring. – Rhosian Woolridge

Chrissy Amphlett
Chrissy Amphlett


Chrissy Amphlett

Chrissy Amphlett arrived and persisted on stages for decades because she was truly a star: someone who you could never believe did anything dull in her entire existence.

No-one commanded a stage like Chrissy. She was the boss. In her eyes was a fury, passion and intent that in some alchemical mystery didn't juxtapose with her timeless beauty. Watch any performance: you cannot take your eyes off her as that voice fills your veins and imagination.

In a car park, as she leant on her walking stick, luminescent in the darkness the year before she died, I was granted presence before her. We talked of writing a stage show. As she turned to leave, she fixed me with those eyes and said quietly, but with intent, as a true star who had never done anything dull in her existence would: "Work on it".

Work on it. Work on it? I would have gone into battle for her. Long Live The Queen. – Tim Rogers

Christine Anu
Christine Anu


Christine Anu

Christine Anu is a force.

In an era where pop music in Australia was largely imported and First Nations artists were seldom heard in mainstream circles, she found fame and success not just as a pop star, but as a powerful voice for Indigenous Australia.

She was responsible for some of the biggest moments in Australian pop music history, which saw Christine show many the enduring strength of Indigenous culture and language.

Her impact and influence on new and emerging Australian artists to this day is immeasurable. – Luanne Shneier




As a music-mad punter in the early-'90s, it felt like blokes with guitars dominated the booming Australian indie-rock scene. Jodi Phillis and Trish Young, frontwomen of indie band Clouds, smashed the flannel ceiling and made a massive impact, paving the way for more gender-diverse line-ups into the grunge era.

Jodi and Trish were (and still are) mesmerising frontwomen. Their distinctive shoegaze-indie sound was tough, raw and feminine. They were singing about the female 'Bower of Bliss' nearly 30 years before 'WAP'.

Seeing them on stage, hearing those perfect harmonies soaring over their swaying guitars, felt like a new language, inspiring other women to pick up a guitar, get on stage and be a part of it. – Meagan Loader

Courtney Barnett
Courtney Barnett


Courtney Barnett

Courtney Barnett's voice and storytelling style has become synonymous with a new chapter of Australia's songbook. Her stream of consciousness writing, matched with witty wordplay and honest delivery made her an artist to watch circa-'Avant Gardener', but the way her work has developed in the years since has proven her versatility and longevity.

Her debut album introduced us to Barnett at her most affable, on its follow-up, she pulled the veil back and presented different facets of her artistry. She made melancholy charming and frustration feel euphoric.

Her global success positions her as a definite game-changer when it comes to contemporary Australian rock music. She's one of the most significant and important female voices of the past ten years. – Sose Fuamoli

Deborah Conway
Deborah Conway


Deborah Conway

Deborah Conway was a founding member of trail-blazing 80s group Do-Ré-Mi, both thought provoking and commercially successful with images of 'pubic hair' and 'penis envy'. By the late-'90s her successful solo career faced a setback with a music industry struggling to find a place for a woman who wasn't a certain sound or look (or age).

In the 2000s, Conway created her own opportunities. She played Patsy Cline on stage, went direct to fans with house concerts, championed women through the Broad Festivals and explored her Jewish faith over three albums.

Deborah Conway admits to breaking rules without really knowing what they are. She is outspoken, tenacious and courageous. – Dorothy Markek

Emma Donovan
Emma Donovan


Emma Donovan

Emma Donovan is a soulful powerhouse. A proud Gumbaynggir and Yamatji woman, she comes from an impressive family of legendary Indigenous Australian Country singers.

Emma's had a huge career as a solo artist, as part of the Stiff Gins, The Black Arm Band, and most recently slaying it alongside The Putbacks.

She instils her culture, language, and songlines into so much of the work she creates. She brings an Indigenous perspective to funk and soul music in a way that has rarely been heard before in Australia.

In her recent work, her stories and lyrics live within a genre that celebrates Black culture, and this new fusion gives it such profound meaning. – Phoebe Bennett

Evelyn Ida Morris
Evelyn Ida Morris


Evelyn Ida Morris

Evelyn Ida Morris is a non-binary artist who identifies as neither male or female. A multi-instrumentalist who is constantly evolving, pushing their art forward and inspiring others to do the same.

Starting as a drummer in True Radical Miracle and Baseball, they earned acclaim with their lush, layered experimental pop as Pikelet. Then came 2018's self-titled album of largely instrumental piano compositions, a stunning expression of their experience in a non-binary body. They followed it up with an ARIA-nominated film score to the film Acute Misfortune.

In 2014, Evelyn co-founded LISTEN, an advocacy group that's been at the forefront of powerful discussion and action on gender diversity, inclusion and safe spaces in Australian music. – Caitlin Nienaber

Helen Reddy
Helen Reddy


Helen Reddy

Helen Reddy is a feminist icon whose success paved the way for global female empowerment. It wasn't an easy path: the Melbourne singer arrived in NYC as a single mother to a three-year-old, with just $200 in her pocket, overcoming years of struggle before becoming the world's top-selling female singer in 1973 and 1974.

Her best-known song, 'I Am Woman', became a poignant sociocultural moment. Released in 1972, it swept around the world, riding a wave of global feminism. It celebrated female liberation and became the anthem for women around the world and is still known and sung by many today.

Helen's ethos and legacy created a space for women in music to use their voice, and platform, as a change for good. – Phoebe Bennett

Iggy Azalea
Iggy Azalea


Iggy Azalea

Make no mistake, Iggy Azalea doesn't need Australia. She had a US number one with 'Fancy' and a Platinum record while existing completely outside the system most locals come through.

The Mullumbimby rapper left Australia as a teen, hooking in with artists from the US South, releasing freestyles, mixtapes, and eventually her 2014 debut The New Classic.

Her sound draws heavily from that Southern rap she came up through, prompting accusations of cultural appropriation.

But, as the first female act named an XXL Freshman, collabs with Lil Uzi Vert, T.I., Travis Scott and Jennifer Hudson, a Beyoncé tour support, and four Grammy nominations, Iggy is the first Australian rapper to achieve huge international commercial success, regardless of gender. – Hannah Thompson

Janet English
Janet English


Janet English

When Spiderbait took off in the mid-90s, it didn't get much cooler than Janet English holding things down on bass. Alternative music was exploding, and most of the bands were made up of guys. To have someone like English absolutely owning it on stage was massive.

She was a huge part of Spiderbait's success, which included topping the 1996 triple j Hottest 100 (the first Australian band to do so). Her vocal performance on 'Calypso' is one of the greatest moments in Australian rock.

As an accomplished visual artist, she also received multiple ARIA nominations for her awesome cover art. Then there's her work in the short-lived Happyland. English always held her own and Australian music is richer for it. – Gab Burke

Jen Cloher
Jen Cloher


Jen Cloher

As a listener, I admire Jen Cloher for her pure songwriting craft. She is one of the country's most thoughtful songwriters, and an incisive commentator on matters both personal and social. 

As an artist, I admire Jen's advocacy. Her steadfast dedication to artist rights and her unwavering drive to protect and nurture artists is continually inspiring. Publicly and privately, she campaigns for transparency and fairness in the music industry with a tenacity and clarity of thought that few others have.

If we want to work towards a better world for all artists, where artists feel supported and emboldened to make a difference no matter what their background or how they identify, it requires bravery and strength of character. Jen has both in spades. – Tim Shiel

Jenny Morris
Jenny Morris


Jenny Morris

In the 80s and 90s, Jenny Morris was everywhere. She was singing backing vocals with INXS on their world tour when writing her debut album Body and Soul, which went platinum. Her second album Shiver went triple platinum and her third Honeychild, went platinum again. A performer with both artistic cred and broad appeal, Morris toured with Prince and Paul McCartney around the world.  

Then Jenny lost her voice, a diagnosis of spasmodic dysphonia having a profound effect on her ability to sing and speak.

Since her diagnosis, Jenny has championed those in music who don't have a voice through her fund-raising for Support Act and Nordoff-Robbins' music therapy programs. Through her work as Chair of APRA, she advocates for musicians and songwriters, live music, local content and public investment in Australia's music industry. For someone without much of a physical voice, Jenny continues to make one hell of a noise. – Meagan Loader

Jessica Mauboy
Jessica Mauboy


Jessica Mauboy

Jessica Mauboy is one of the greatest performers this country has ever seen. Not many artists could so seamlessly transition from Australian Idol runner up, to touring with Beyoncé and singing for Barack Obama.

She is supremely talented. With her big, blistering voice, she’s effortlessly hopped from music to film to TV and back again.

She has performed at Eurovision twice, and made history as the first Indigenous woman to top the ARIA charts three weeks in a row.

Even with all these incredible achievements and the twists and turns of life as a pop star, Mauboy has remained completely grounded, one of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. – Gab Burke

Joy McKean
Joy McKean


Joy McKean

Described as the King and Queen of country music, Joy McKean was the backbone to Slim Dusty's career and commercial success. She was a wife, mother, singer-songwriter, performer and tour manager.

She was behind some of Slim Dusty's most popular works and won the first ever Golden Guitar for writing 'Lights On The Hill', a song which inspired acts like Paul Kelly, Kasey Chambers and Missy Higgins. Joy and Slim were trailblazers in the regional touring model still used today, and bridged the gap between rural and Indigenous communities with music.

They produced over 100 albums, sold eight million records in Australia and earned 45 Golden Guitars. She should be at the forefront of this narrative. An incredible woman, songwriter and pillar of country music in Australia. – Lucy Smith

Julia Jacklin
Julia Jacklin


Julia Jacklin

When Blue Mountains artist Julia Jacklin arrived around 2015, you kinda felt like she had been a star in a past life. Her precise observations and vintage vocal delivery were indicative of an artist at the tail end of a career, not one emerging in their early 20s.

Julia writes songs that are so carefully detailed that you'd swear they were pulled from your own life experiences of loneliness and upheaval, were they not so opaquely personal. She's helped inspire like-minded locals, such as Carla Geneve, Asha Jefferies and Middle Kids' Hannah Fitz, to write in their own vulnerable style.

On top of this, her global success through overseas touring has helped put the Australian vanguard of modern songwriters on the map. – Dave Ruby Howe

Julia Stone
Julia Stone


Julia Stone

When you think about the last couple of decades in Australian music, there aren't many voices, if any, that have been as ubiquitous and game changing as that of Julia Stone's.

As one half of the wildly successful Angus & Julia Stone, Julia has helped pen some classic moments in the great Australian songbook. It's no overstatement to say tracks like 'Hold On', 'Snow' and 'Big Jet Plane' paved the way for an entire generation of artists following in her footsteps. 

As a singer, Julia's vocal style was like nothing we'd heard before, spawning many imitations that all somehow paled in comparison to her unmistakable husky delivery. It all adds up to the simple fact that, without Julia Stone, Australian folk music would sound nothing like it does today. – Stephen Goodhew

Karina Utomo
Karina Utomo


Karina Utomo

Karina Utomo is a barrier breaker, with one of the fiercest voices of her generation.

Having cut her teeth fronting Canberra post-hardcore band Young & Restless, her screams would not truly find their place until the metallic punk roots of the Melbourne-based High Tension were planted in 2012. Countless national tours, a SXSW visit, ARIA nomination and a slot on Download Festival later, High Tension now stand as a pillar of forward-thinking extreme metal, thanks to the fearless leadership of their iconic frontwoman.

Through her lyrics, Utomo has taken topics once seldom dealt with in metal to the forefront, shining a light on female and POC empowerment, and even the historical struggles of her cultural homeland and our oceanic neighbour, Indonesia. – Lochlan Watt

Kasey Chambers
Kasey Chambers


Kasey Chambers

Kasey Chambers' game-changing blood runs deep. With country musician royalty Bill and Diane for parents, Chambers' propensity to blaze her own trail was perhaps inevitable.

Shaped by a life on the road and singing with her family in the Dead Ringer Band, Chambers' solo debut The Captain saw her win ARIAs for Best Female Artist and Best Country Album.

Chambers is unparalleled in the way she flipped the script on what it meant to be a solo female artist.

Hers is a seminal Australian voice that has broken down barriers (and brickwalls), paving the way for a more diverse sound and representation within country music and beyond in Australia. – Kath Devaney

Kylie Minogue
Kylie Minogue


Kylie Minogue

I was eight years old when I first met Kylie Minogue. She was a mechanic in overalls, and I mirrored her every move. Fast forward 35 years and her reboot of disco is the latest, always shifting, bookend to an extraordinary career.

Kylie gave so many Australian kids the green light to dream. To morph from pop to Impossible Princess, stun us with extraordinary visual concepts in video and on stage, take risks at a time when few dared to, and (just quietly) slay for more than three decades across trends, generations, and geography.

There is no more successful Australian female artist around, and yet every time she emerges with a new project it's less "I am the greatest" and more "What's next?". She is a Queen. – Zan Rowe

Lindy Morrison
Lindy Morrison


Lindy Morrison

You could point to the drums in 'Cattle and Cane' as sole evidence of Lindy Morrison's powers and be done with it. But this titan of Australian music has given endless proof of her impact on the sector through her 40 years of service.

The Go-Betweens would not have been the same band without her unassuming brilliance behind the kit and her role in the group's interpersonal dynamic. Her career since has been selfless: she's advocated for women in music for decades, worked in policy, education, and returned to her social work roots, most notably with music industry charity Support Act.

In an industry often full of hot air, Lindy Morrison is a woman of action. A refreshing voice devoid of bullshit. Long may she push to change the game. – Dan Condon

Lisa Gerrard
Lisa Gerrard


Lisa Gerrard

Across her 40-year career, Lisa Gerrard has broken new creative ground while enjoying cult, critical and commercial acclaim.

Gerrard, whose three-octave vocal was integral to her band Dead Can Dance's lush arrangements, found inspiration from the Mediterranean music she heard through Melbourne's suburbs while growing up. Their worldly take on ethereal art-rock was dark, beautiful and sometimes challenging, with dense musical concepts and Gerrard's supreme voice ensuring their sound was peerless yet approachable.

Her film scores for global smashes like Gladiator and local films like Balibo and Burning Man, have earned her Golden Globe, ARIA and APRA Awards, but no statue can truly reflect the ambition and influence of this truly unique and creative writer and performer. – Dan Condon

Marcia Hines
Marcia Hines


Marcia Hines

Over five decades, Marcia Hines has been a trailblazer for women of colour across music, TV and theatre. Dominating the mid-70s to early 80s with a record breaking run of hits, she was a regular on Countdown, hosted her own TV show and was crowned Queen of Pop three years running.  

Yet in 1969, when the 16-year-old left America to perform in the musical Hair, she didn't even know where Australia was. Four years later Marcia Hines became the first black woman anywhere to play Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar.

In a country that still struggles to reflect and celebrate diversity in popular culture, Marcia Hines is one of Australia's most inspiring success stories. – Dorothy Markek

Meg Mac
Meg Mac


Meg Mac

A 22-year-old talent called Megan McInerney uploaded her first song to Unearthed late in 2012. It was 'Known Better', and her shy, unassuming demeanour was at complete odds with that big soulful voice.

The 1970s gospel feel of 'Every Lie' came in 2013, and then from 2014 onwards, she's enjoyed no less than eight Hottest 100 hits.

Bred on the likes of Ray Charles and Sam Cooke, influences that few have channelled in recent times, Meg Mac's arrival has encouraged others to share their soulful sides.

After signing to Lyor Cohen's prestigious label in 2015, international doors started opening for others. And as powers that be saw Meg's massive pulling power at festivals, the likes of Amy Shark, Montaigne, Vera Blue and Odette have all benefited from her welcome arrival on the scene. – Richard Kingsmill

Missy Higgins
Missy Higgins


Missy Higgins

Missy Higgins is your Millennial older sister manifest. So relatable is she that she also embodies the aura of your Cousin With A Nose Ring, and, somehow, your mum as well. She is, to paraphrase Missy Higgins, one of the special one or two Australian songwriters in every generation who bridge the gaps between us. 

Her authentic relatability is her game-changing superpower. Through her sheer force of being, and in the tentacled way she has hugged the Australian zeitgeist for almost two decades, Missy Higgins has empowered a generation of Australian songwriters to be themselves.

What's more, she's empowered them to lean into it, by holding up a mirror to who we have been, and also reflecting who we might someday become. – Max Quinn




It's almost a disservice to call Mo'Ju a "game changer". Through her 15-year career, Mo'Ju has proven her ability to make the game completely stop, stand still, and really listen.

For many, 2018's 'Native Tongue' is her most potent work, as the vocal and lyrical powerhouse explores her Filipino and Wiradjuri heritage and unpacks themes of colonialism and cultural loss with an emotional weight that hits you from the very first hum. Cast your gaze wider and you'll see that, since 2006, Mo'Ju has shared her experiences as a queer, mixed-race woman with vulnerability, honesty and strength.

Not only is the game changed because of it, everyone who's fortunate enough to listen is too. – Abby Butler

Nai Palm
Nai Palm


Nai Palm

There's something superhuman about Nai Palm. You feel it in her voice; the way she makes gravity-defying melodies stroke the ear like velvet. It's in her virtuosity, capable of distilling compelling songcraft from complex technical wizardry. She's the phenomenal presence out front of Hiatus Kaiyote – one of music's most one-of-a-kind forces, Australian or otherwise.

Their music has been championed by Anderson. Paak, Erykah Badu, and Flying Lotus, and sampled by Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé and Jay-Z. That musical elite aren't just drawn to their style – it's the soul, and Nai's heart that shines.

She's challenged beauty standards, she's beaten breast cancer, and she's a constant source of inspiration, bravely carving her own artistic path in sound and spirit. – Al Newstead

Nina Las Vegas
Nina Las Vegas


Nina Las Vegas

It'd be easy to try and compartmentalise Nina Las Vegas' career, so expansive it's been over the past decade.

She's one of the most in demand Australian DJs and an incredible producer whose live performances have left me in awe. She's an essential figure in dance music discovery in Australia, particularly through hosting triple j's House Party where she cemented her status for taste and curation. Her NLV Records is home to some of Australia's most exciting electronic artists.

These may seem like separate achievements, but they're all part of her overarching position as one of the all-time champions of electronic music in Australia. Nina has made waves on a local and international level, always raising the bar for the genre through her vision and talent. Few have had an impact on electronic music in Australia like Nina. – Ebony Boadu

Olivia Newton-John
Olivia Newton-John


Olivia Newton-John

It's crazy to think Olivia Newton John's biggest hit 'Physical' was banned by some radio stations when it came out in 1981. Who would have thought the legendary film clip would set the tone for music video aesthetics for decades to come? Or that the sex-positive anthem would still be finding its way into pop songs 40 years later?

Most first met her as Sandy in Grease, as she transforms from shy nerd to leather-pant wearing queen. In response to criticism of the film's dated sexual politics, Olivia said "empowerment comes from calling your own shots and being who you want to be."

Offstage, she's spent decades campaigning for cancer research and treatment, and this boss response to rumours of her death in 2019 made us all love her even more. – Caitlin Nienaber

Renee Geyer
Renee Geyer


Renee Geyer

Draped in denim, tie dye and tassels, the '70s rock and pop scenes here were dominated by a flock of preening guys. One singer who squashed those show ponies with pure strength and soul was Renée Geyer.

A self-described 'white Hungarian Jew with the voice of an old Alabama black man', Geyer's husky vocal was a unique and memorable force of nature. Never one to play the game, the game back then wasn't quite ready for someone like Geyer either.

She did have hits though, relocated to the US, did a ton of sessions with some of the biggest names around, and maintained a career across five decades. All this while keeping 100 percent true to who she was. – Richard Kingsmill

Romy Vager
Romy Vager


Romy Vager

When you're in the company of RVG, there is nowhere to hide. I felt it, the first time I ever saw Romy Vager live. Every song she sang, I hung on to her every word.

Romy Vager Group, named for their uncompromising lead singer, encapsulate a sucker punch of jangly guitar melodies paired with lyrics that are a call to arms for something more. She has a knack for shaking you to the core while making you swoon; you could take these songs at face value but peel back a layer and you'll experience her power in telling, and owning, her story.

It allows us all to find a space. And once we're there, not to settle. Romy makes it okay to experience the shit times, while reaching for something greater. To feel, but also to hope. – Zan Rowe

Ruby Hunter
Ruby Hunter


Ruby Hunter

Ngarrindjeri/Kukatha/Pitjantjatjara woman Ruby Hunter's poignant debut song 'Proud, Proud Woman' and debut album Thoughts Within offered stories of place, culture, identity, language, and womanhood that were absent from the Australian music consciousness.

She was the first Indigenous woman to be signed to a major record label and Ruby's fearlessness to write and perform for the unsung – with empowered songs like 'Modern Day Girl' and 'Women's Business' – gave representation, aspiration, and momentum for indigenous voices, stories, and communities where there was none.

Her and partner Archie Roach collaborated on many arts and social change projects over the years, particularly working to nurture and care for disadvantaged youth. Ruby Hunter's contribution and legacy in Australian music is unrivalled and continues to inspire Indigenous and non-Indigenous women and men around the world. – Kath Devaney

Sampa The Great
Sampa The Great


Sampa The Great

Growing up in Australia with both Australian and Sierra Leonean roots, one of my biggest struggles was working out where I fit in. In my early 20s I searched for music to help with these questions, and found Zambian-born, Australian-based artist Sampa The Great.

Her music had effortless rap flows, deep, humming basslines, glowing backing tracks and even featured verses in familiar African dialects. The transfer of this energy in her performances made her even more alluring. Even reserved-looking crowds change when she busts onto stage - everyone starts dancing, smiling and clapping as she sings about self-empowerment, cultural pride and femininity.

When I go home and listen to these tracks, the lyrics turn into these personal mantras, like they are words from my distant ancestors rooting for me to keep moving forward. – Tanya Bunter

Sarah Aarons
Sarah Aarons


Sarah Aarons

Sarah Aarons is not only a game-changer in music because she is one of the most in demand studio collaborators for everyone (including Ruel, Khalid, SZA and many more) but because she's highlighted both the power of storytelling and the value of songwriting as a profession.

By sticking to her guns and embracing her own creative freedom, Sarah has proven you don't need to be on stage to succeed.

That lyrics are an artform in their own right. That you can still make it big by composing music for others to perform.

Most importantly, she has shown that you can still have a voice, even if you don't have a microphone. – Bridget Hustwaite

Sarah Blasko
Sarah Blasko


Sarah Blasko

It was clear from the beginning, Sarah Blasko makes music that sounds distinct. It's wintery, thoughtful and true to her, which means it forms a deep and real connection with the listener.

Sarah's songs are poetic and moving. Her six albums have grand qualities and a strong artistic vision and the orchestral elements that often feature only heighten this beauty.

The other quality that always stands out is her voice, which cuts through and is immediately affecting.

Whether it's her originals, covers or collaborations with Seeker Lover Keeper, you know a Sarah Blasko song when you hear one and chances are you don't forget it in a hurry. – Declan Byrne




Sia Furler's success as an artist and songwriter is in a lane of its own when it comes to Australian artists making international impact. She has threaded together hits across genres of dance, pop and R&B in a way not many others have.

She spent time in the UK before relocating to the US, where her career flourished, writing for artists like Beyoncé, Kylie, Rihanna and David Guetta. Her albums have shown her artistic individualism, her grasp on pop songwriting and her unmistakeable voice. From 'Breathe Me' to 'Cheap Thrills', there's been something proudly unique about Sia's approach to her music.

While her reputation as a public figure has oscillated between the weirdly intriguing and sometimes baffling, her musical impact is impossible to deny. – Sose Fuamoli

Stella Donnelly
Stella Donnelly


Stella Donnelly

In late 2017, the #MeToo movement would change the world. But Stella Donnelly was way ahead of the curve.

A tiny, angel-voiced woman with wit for days and a fearless tongue, her debut EP Thrush Metal playfully and powerfully reckoned with everyday misogyny. Its emotional centrepiece, 'Boys Will Be Boys', a devastating account of a friend's sexual assault, would become a timely anthem. When I first heard it, I was moved to tears. I felt sadness, rage and power and that's what Stella's songs have done for Aussie women all over.

On her album Beware Of The Dogs, Stella doubled down on running her acerbic mouth and no man was safe. She documented her experiences of sexism, with colourful and relatable Aussie details. Stella Donnelly changed the game, and she did it by calling it out. – Nat Tencic

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