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.
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.
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.
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.