From our perspective, we feel like we’re neck-deep in talented musical acts in Australia – a horde of bonafide geniuses making some of the best tunes on the planet. But even then, it can be tough for bands from our secluded island to crack overseas markets and show the rest of the world what we’re about.
We’ve had some huge successes over the years, of course. Which rock band won’t point to AC/DC when mentioning their influences, or our pop queens like Kylie or Olivia Newton-John. But who are our new generation of big names flying the Aussie flag?
Here’s a roundup of some of the bands currently stuffing Australian sounds into the eardrums of listeners the world over.
Ever since James Keogh first popped up in 2013 and topped the Hottest 100 with his infectious ‘Riptide’ (which sold well over 2 million copies in the US), we knew he was going to be a big deal. Fast forward five years later, and Vance Joy has just released his second studio album, Nation Of Two, and is undoubtedly looking back at just how crazy the previous years have been.
With sold-out tours around the globe, a debut album that went Platinum in the US, Canada, and Australia, a support slot on Taylor Swift’s world tour (after she covered his biggest hit), a #1 slot on the Billboard charts, and having won the Grand Prize in the International Songwriting Competition for ‘Riptide’, there’s no denying the success and global influence that Vance Joy has had.
Nation Of Two continued his dominance locally, once again topping the ARIA Albums Chart – but it’s also cracked the top 10 on the Billboard Chart in the U.S. as its singles surge into the rock rankings. There’s no telling if it’ll break the 1,000,000 mark and nab a Platinum plaque in the U.S. like its predecessor did, but he’ll definitely be playing to some voracious crowds when he heads over to tour the record, picking up the mantle of Australia’s tradition of brilliant singer-songwriters.
A couple of years ago, it was impossible to look at music news without seeing Courtney Barnett’s face splashed all over. With her laidback approach to her life and music, the US market went crazy for her, even giving her a nomination at the Grammy Awards for Best New Artist alongside James Bay and the ultimate victor Meghan Trainor.
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Back in 2016, we took a look at how many record Courts had sold after she scored a #1 spot on the US charts. With 26,000 copies of her debut album being sold in the first week alone, that says volumes about the initial and continuing success that she’s had. Now, with a new album getting ready to drop, you can be sure that you’ll be seeing plenty more of Courtney Barnett in the world of international music media pretty soon.
He might’ve been born in South Africa, but Troye Sivan is as Aussie as a Vegemite-flavoured Chiko Roll. In fact, he’s one of the few on this list with a successful career in music and film, doubling his chances of being a huge hit internationally, but it’s his music that people have fallen in love with. With one album, four EPs, and countless singles to his name, Troye Sivan has cornered the younger market, who have ensured plenty of his releases go Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
Sivan has also seen considerable success during award season too, with the 22-year-old picking up numerous accolades including three MTV Europe Music Awards, a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award, a YouTube Music Awards, and countless more nominations for his spectacular work.
Much of the last decade has seen Adelaide’s Sia rule the world of popular music overseas. With a staggering amount of hit singles and writing credits to her name, this kooky Aussie has been one of the most prominent figures in popular music for quite a while. With plenty of chart-topping singles (including 2016’s smash ‘Cheap Thrills’), Sia has also scored herself close to 200 awards nominations in her time, making her one of the most-nominated Australian musicians of the current era.
Over the years, Nick Littlemore has soon huge success thanks to his work in groups like PNAU and Empire Of The Sun, proving that he himself could be considered one of our most successful exports. However, PNAU’s fame has managed to be boosted by one of the most unlikely people. With awards for their first four albums coming at them faster than they could realise, a collaboration with Elton John in 2012 saw PNAU become one of the most respected groups in the world of electronic music, both here and abroad.
5 Seconds Of Summer
Starting off as YouTube celebs back in 2011, 5 Seconds of Summer quickly became one of the biggest pop-punk bands in the world, having sold well over two million copies of their two studio albums since they were released, and even scoring that sought-after #1 debut on the Billboard charts. While the group have been a little quiet in recent times, they’ve just released a new single, meaning that things are about to kick into gear once again for these talented Aussie lads.
While some people claim that rock is dead, others point towards Tame Impala for their counter-argument, and we can understand why. In just over a decade, Tame Impala have gone from a humble rock band to one of the most in-demand groups in the world. With countless sold-out shows here and abroad, collaborations with the likes of Mark Ronson and ZHU, and numerous Grammy, NME, and MTV Music Awards nominations to their names, it seems like Tame Impala can do no wrong.
When Flume burst onto the scene just over five years ago, we knew he was special, but we never knew he’d be considered this special. At only 26, Harley Streten has taken the world of electronic music by storm, headlining international festivals, and even winning the Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronic Album. With plenty of his singles going both Gold and Platinum here and abroad, there’s no doubting that Flume is on track to be considered one of the world’s biggest musicians for many years now.
Tash Sultana is arguably one of the biggest rising stars in Aussie music today. One could argue that she’s already cracked the big time with her sold-out performances around the world, and US TV appearances, but we have to remember, she’s yet to even release an album yet. Imagine how much that will change when her debut record drops?
Gang Of Youths
Like Tash Sultana, Gang Of Youths are one of those groups whose success is set to only rise. With two very well-received albums their belt (including a #1 spot on the ARIA charts), some sold-out US tour dates on the way, and a debut US TV appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers slated for next week, Gang Of Youths are set to take over the American market in a huge way.
While their albums haven’t sold quite as well overseas as they have locally, you can be sure that this is all set to change once the group again show American audiences what good ol’ Aussie rock is all about.
VANCE JOY – NATION OF TWO AUSTRALIAN TOUR
Friday 14 September
Hordern Pavilion | Sydney, NSW
ticketek.com.au | 132 849
Saturday 15 September
Rod Laver Arena | Melbourne, VIC
ticketek.com.au | 132 849
Tuesday 18 September
Thebarton Theatre | Adelaide, SA
ticketmaster.com.au | 136 100
Friday 21 September
Riverstage | Brisbane, QLD
ticketmaster.com.au | 136 100
Sunday 23 September (Queens Birthday Holiday Eve)
Fremantle Arts Centre | Perth, WA
18+ (minors to be accompanied by a parent or guardian)
oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545