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lip top 10: amazing aussie songstresses

Image: Mandy Hall

Image: Mandy Hall

I’ve been going on a massive new music binge of late, combining old favourites with some new discoveries. Telling you I’m doing so, but not sharing, would be a tease, so this week I’m bringing you a top 10 list of Aussie songstresses from the last ten years or so. Some you may not have heard of, and others you probably have, but they’re all great.

1. Thelma Plum
I was actually a little ashamed I hadn’t heard of her until earlier this month. 18 years old and out of Brisbane, Thelma Plum was nominated for both Best New Talent in Music at last year’s Deadly Awards and Triple J’s Unearthed J Award. Beautiful voice with a classic Aussie folk sound.

2. Abbe May
Abbe May’s music is sexy. Not in a Tom Jones kind of way. Sexy in a ‘oh my, it’s rather warm in this sex dungeon and by the way how much latex is too much latex?’ kind of way. YouTube ‘Karmageddon’. If you’ve listened to Triple J once in the last month you’re bound to have heard it and dang, it’s goooood.

3. Kimbra
I know, I know, she’s from New Zealand, but I’m doing that Aussie thing we do where we claim successful Kiwis as our own, and only give them back if they do stupid things like throw phones at people’s heads, or play Javier in Les Miserablés. While it is really thanks to Gotye that her career is really taking off, let’s all just take a moment to remember that she was an artist in her own right before that collaboration came along.

4. Zoe K
Take Aretha Franklin, bring her forward a few decades, add a twist of ‘lady sings the blues’ and you have Zoe K. A combination of my Newcastle bias and her being a friend’s cousin might be the only reason I even know who she is, but she’s fantastic. Check her out on YouTube. Trust me.

5. Lanie Lane
Even if you haven’t heard her by name, you’ve probably heard her music before. You know that song that was theme for the ABC show, Crownies? Yeah, that’s her. A bit bluesy, a bit jazzy and a little bit country but not in an annoying way, she makes you want to dance in slow motion.

6. Kira Puru
If you put ‘sass, style and the blues’ into Google it should only give you one hit – Kira Puru. Admittedly, it may be my Newcastle bias rearing its head again, but she has a voice that will knock your socks off. It’s smooth and just rolls all over you.

7. Sophie Koh
This is another lady I’m claiming as one of ours, even though she was raised in both New Zealand and Singapore. She rose up through Triple J Unearthed, which is as Aussie as everything that is Aussie, ergo, she is now ours. I call her lazy Sunday music. She’s the kind of person you put on when you’re sitting in the sun, reading the paper, preferably nursing a Sav Blanc and occasionally glancing out to your ocean views. I’m relaxed just thinking about her.

8. Holly Throsby
There a lot of ladies floating around the Aussie music scene, but amongst all of them Holly Throsby is someone who managed to stay completely unique. Her lyrics are as stripped back as her melodies, and even when songs on her third album brought in a full backing band, it sounded as completely raw as her first album. She is someone I will never tire of.

9. Mojo Juju
Eat your heart out, Tom Waits. Also, Newcastle.

10. Washington
Now, I know you know her. And if you don’t, you should. To put how great her voice is in perspective, you know how no one should really try to cover ‘Hallelujah’, because after Jeff Buckley’s version you’d only be left wanting? Well, Megan Washington could do it. She’s also got a couple of ARIA Awards under her belt. No biggie.

9 thoughts on “lip top 10: amazing aussie songstresses

  1. Listened to everyone on your list. Found all but Zoe K. Thank you for turning me on to so many great artist. But if I was putting them in order Mojo Juju would be my Number 1. You said the least about her and the least is need to be said. It only took me one listen. Even if Clairy Browne was on the list, Mojo would still be #1.

    • Oh, awkward, I was saying I YouTubed Clairy Browne. I kinda forgot about the moderation and timing and the being out of order and the garghhh.

      Off to look up Rosie Burgess, Sam Lohs and Jenny Biddle now.

  2. Cool, never heard of Mojo Juju, and they sound awesome!

    You should also check out Melb-based Olympia. Caught her with Kira Puru last year

    • Can you link me to anything? Searching ‘Olympia’ takes me to Greece, ‘Olympia music’ takes me to music used at the Olympics!

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