The Australian female artists changing the game
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The Australian female artists changing the game

We’re taking a look at the best Australian female artists of the last few years and how they have totally changed the industry.

We wanted to take a step back and reel in awe at the prevalence of magnificent Australian female artists so we’re looking at the best Australian female artists of the last few years and how they have totally changed the industry.

Just when we appear to be making steps forward, Angie McMahon was wolf-whistled on tour only a couple of years ago for simply taking off her jacket. Whereas Maggie Rogers was told to take her top off over in 2019 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 few years, and those are just the incidents that hit the headlines. Let’s not forget a recent debacle with Good Doogs.

australian singers female
Credit: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

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.

It wouldn’t be much of a tribute to female musicians without acknowledging a few of the girls that came before the last few years and set things up for these queens.

Old school influences for female Australian music artists

Chrissy Amphlett

Chrissy Amphlett was one of Australia’s first female rock icons. Leading the Divinyls, Chrissy was well-known for her blunt natural, humorous lyrics and openly sexual persona, paving the way for the queens kicking it today.

Deborah Conway

Another rock legend, Deborah Conway founded her band Do-Ré-Mi in the 80s then proved to the world that women can do it all.

Along with being an Aussie singer-songwriter and guitarist, Deborah had a career as a model and actress AND had three children, really setting the bar high.

 Jessica Mauboy

Jessica Mauboy is one of the greatest performers Australia has ever seen and arguably one of the biggest pop stars the country has produced since Kylie Monogue.

Jessica has changed the changed the course of music history not only for women but for First Nations women as the first indigenous woman to top the ARIA charts three weeks in a row. She was one of the most highly regarded Black female singers 2019 and continues to only further her stardom.

Yet somehow, Jessica remains one of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet according to multiple sources.

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

Australia’s best female artists 2019

Here is a list full of women that have been killing it in the music scene over the last few years.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Courtney Barnett

Every now and then an artist joins the ranks of musicians whose calibre 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 voices in music.

Australia’s best female artists 2020

Tones and I

Even though Tones and I blew up all over the world in 2019, it’s wasn’t until 2020 that the artist began to show everyone she’s more than a one-hit wonder. 

The singer admitted to only having just picked up music, not long before Dance Monkey dominated the radio proving that every journey looks different, paving the way for australian pop singers.

Vera Blue

Seven years into her career things really started to kick off for Vera Blue after quite a decent genre shift.

Vera Blue, born Celia Pavey dropped a folk album in 2013 that performed fantastically, reaching number 14 of the ARIA charts but by 2015, the songstress started to leave into dreamy electronic pop.

After her huge hit All The Pretty Girls in 2019 and Lie To Me in 2020, Vera Blue became a household name for indie pop lovers.

Emma Donovan

A proud Gumbaynggir and Yamatji woman, Emma Donovan brought an Indigenous perspective to funk and soul like Australia had never seen before.

After already having a long and powerful solo career, Emma played alongside The Putbacks, releasing their 2020 album Crossover in which the singer instills her culture and language.

Mallrat

Mallrat is making waves as the most poignant Australian pop lyricist in recent history.

Her 2018 release Groceries really popped the singer into the scene as a welcomed refreshment from the usual repetitive and occasionally thoughtless pop songs.

Miiesha

Miiesha quickly became one of Australia’s best female R&B singers of 2020.

Soon after releasing her debut album Nyaaringu, Miiesha received the New Talent of the Year at the 2020 National Indigenous Music Awards and won the ARIA Award for Best Soul/R&B Release at the 2020 ARIA Music Awards.

Eves Karydas

Only three years after doing a cheeky re-brand and name change, and two years after a whirlwind tour supporting Dua Lipa, Eves Karydas, who used to perform as Eves the Behavior, dropped Complicated and the banger has stuck around till this day.

Haiku Hands

Haiku Hands are the alternative girl group that we can thank for making live music so much fun again.

The band were recognised for their decorative masks, before COVID made it cool and of course their synchronised dance moves (before COVID ruined dancing for a while).

The girls dropped their debut self-titled album in 2020 and brought back some of the incredibly grungy dance sounds of 2010 but with the impeccable production of 2020.

Australia’s best female artists 2021

Emily Wurramara

ARIA Award- winning singer Emily Wurramara uses her stunning voice and soothing songwriting to educate and inform audiences in both English and Anindilyakwa language.

After years of successful releases, Emily has said she’s proud to be a part of Australia’s growing Blak music scene.

Alex Lahey

Although we had already been well-introduced to Alex Lahey with one pop-punk hit after another, 2021 marked the year that the powerhouse broke a new market, the world of cinema!

Alex Lahey composed a song for the Oscar Award-winning Netflix flick The Mitchells vs. The Machines. The Aussie rocker also had her music featured in Tony Hawk Pro Skater.

Cloe Terare

Cloe Terare really only just started to break out in 2021with her debut EP Burn Book (2018-2021).

Cloe perfectly represents the way American pop has influenced Australian music with her songs weaving between spoken word and singing, heavily influenced by hiphop and early 2000s pop/ R&B.

Barkaa

Barkaa marched onto the scene with a burning fire. She’s a testament to what can come from being discovered online as A.B. Original rapper Briggs saw a clip of the young rapper and signed her to his label Bad Apples.

Not only is Barkaa undeniably talented with an exceptional flow, she has taught so many that even if you’re caught up in a shit situation, things will get better.

KYE

KYE has stepped on the scene with the most flawless hooks and effortlessly skilful vocals.

Seeing KYE’s talents recognised by Sampa The Great is just one way we know this pop princess is about to pop off and change the game forever.

Nai Palm

Nai Palm has been around for some time as the frontwoman for Hiatus Kaiyote. The singer frustratingly (only to though who can’t play) taught herself her iconic guitar stylings locked away in a van and she hasn’t stopped showing off her skills since.

Nai Palm ventured off to produce a solo album in 2017 then went back to the band for further releases. Her jazz-laden harmonies are unmatched to this day.

Best Aussie female artists 2022

Montaigne

It’s safe to say you’d already know the delightful musical stylings of Montaigne but in 2022, she’s changing the game by becoming even more than a musical performer.

The singer/ Twitch streamer has recently appeared in comedy sketches and web series, making even more of a name for themself.

Anna Lunoe

Anna Lunoe is blowing 2022 up. The Aussie DJ, singer-songwriter and producer has moved to the US and already played massive shows the likes of Coachella, Lollapalooza, Ultra TomorrowWorld and Hard Summer.

The EDM queen knows how to set a vibe and just in time, that’s exactly what we need in 2022.

Karina Utomo

Karina Utomo is breaking down barriers as one of the few female vocalists who head heavy metal bands and do a damn good job screaming their guts out.

Karina, who truly found her fierce voice while leading Melbourne-based band High Tension has done countless national tours, played SXSW and received an ARIA nomination.

Currently playing in her new band Rinuwat, Karina uses her lyrics to highlight topics that aren’t often spoken about in the metal scene, like female and POC empowerment and the historical struggles of her homeland, Indonesia.

Jaguar Jonze

Jaguar Jonze has quilt become known for so much more than simply her super catchy tracks and flawless aesthetic.

The tireless advocate for victims of sexual assault in the Australian music industry even co-founded MusicNSW a group who lead The Music Industry Review in 2021, a briefing to review sexual hard in the Aussie music industry.

If that’s not inspiring enough, Jaguar creates rock pop that will fuel your body with motivation.

Vetta Borne 

Vetta Borne is producing sad girl music but making it damn fun.

The singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is putting out some of the prettiest tunes that will have you in tears but also killing it on the d-floor.

We’re absolutely living for the girlies who pump us up while allowing the emotions to flow.

A.Girl 

A.Girl is changing what female lead hip hop sounds like.

A.Girl is bringing the American drill sound down under with her insightful and articulate bars. That’s not to say A.Girl doesn’t also have a stunning singing voice, this girl is showing us you can do it all.

Hatchie

With all of this delicious hip hop dominating the scene, shoegaze pop still floats around just as much and the artist making sure we don’t forget the massive 80s drums and angelic vocals is of course, Hatchie.

Hatchie has continued to release music that is more vulnerable, more introspective and more insightful than ever.