The Australian music industry is a strange machine. For anyone plugged into the movements of independent Aussie artists, this much is clear. Beneath the seemingly impenetrable armour of major labels and distribution companies, there lies a community of artists slogging day-in-day-out, armed with nothing but good tunes and a passion for music. Gold Coast hip-hop artist J-EL is a perfect example of this.
Over the past couple of years, J-EL has released a string of consistently great singles, building upon his unique brand of music. Here is an artist who properly embodies independent spirit; someone who releases music on his own terms, and, in turn, is bypassing the pre-existing systems through which musicians have previously achieved success.
Salsa, the most recent single from Gold Coast artist J-EL, is an underrated hip-hop gem. Take it from us: you don’t want to sleep on this artist.
His most recent single Salsa, for example, is a genre-bending gem. Marrying sultry hip-hop rhythms with lush, acoustic tones, the song is brimming with imaginations and inventiveness. The lyricism is there, the production value is there, and accordingly, the song has amassed over 250,000 Spotify streams. Of course, this milestone has been reached on the sole basis of the track’s merit.
“I have worked as a sole trader for most of my time after school and university. When opportunities arise to grow, you can either take the bull by the horns or you can let them pass by,” J-EL says about his approach to music-making.
“The music industry is no different to any other industry, signed artists should be investing their own monetary gains back into their product and be working harder than they were before a deal was made. When I see opportunities being wasted, it’s disappointing. Imagine being given the opportunity to do what you love for a career and not giving that opportunity everything you have to give.”
Expectedly, this mindset has led J-EL to release some of the most promising new hip-hop tunes of the year. No industry backing; only pure dedication.
A couple of months removed from its release, Salsa holds up as one of 2020’s most underrated new tracks. If the industry refuses to support certain artists, it’s up to audiences to give all they’ve got to musicians who will return the favour. Do yourself a favour and listen to Salsa above.
“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”