First Nations artist, Barkaa is ensuring that she speaks truth to power, one song at a time.

If you’re yet to get acquainted with her music, once you do you’ll soon find that she’s all about tapping into her vulnerability to write and rap her truth to create music that “lives through generations”.

Barkaa is an absolute force to be reckoned on our local music scene and it’s no wonder that she’s one of panellists to be speaking at the upcoming BLAKSOUND virtual event.

BLAKSOUND is so-called Australia’s first dedicated Indigenous music event led by youth and broadcasting globally online from Meeanjin.

We were lucky enough to be able to have a chat to the ‘King Brown’ artist on empowerment, what the future holds for her music, as well as what she’ll be speaking about at the upcoming BLAKSOUND event.

You’ve been rapping and making hip hop from quite a young age, were there any artists or songs in particular that inspired you to get into hip hop and writing songs?

2pac is one of my biggest inspirations as an artist and had a huge influence on me growing up. He has a song for every emotion that I was going through as a Blak woman in so-called Australia.

I also really love Lauryn Hill and she had a massive impact on me growing up too. My mum used to play Tracey Chapman religiously and I grew up listening to these staunch artists making music for the revolution.

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You speak truth to power through your music and your powerful lyrics, particularly in your song ‘OUR Lives Matter’, is there a level of vulnerability that you tap into when doing this?

Yes, extreme vulnerability and emotions go into those tracks, especially songs about the injustice of my people… I cry a lot when I write these songs and feel quite upset and angry, but I know when I write those songs with such raw emotion my people will feel it too.

It’s not easy bringing up or writing about those things, but this is our reality as First Nations people in this country. 

You’ve experienced some truly heartbreaking moments so early on in your life, do you think you will further explore those experiences in your future music?

Yeah for sure, I really want to keep it real with my art form, I always want to write and rap about my truth and what it’s like for me and what it once was.

I feel like it’s a part of my healing, writing my truth out and speaking about those things. I can’t wait for everybody to hear what I’ve got in store and I know a lot of people will relate, it’s all too familiar story for us as First Nations people in this country. 

I want to create music that lives through generations and generations of my people, I want to create music that lives on after I’m gone, I want to create songs for our revolution and hope that my people feel heard with what I create. 

Your latest song, ‘King Brown’ is an absolute anthem of Blak excellence. Was it your favourite thing about being able to deliver such an empowering message and song to the world?

I wanted to paint a picture of First Nations women in this country taking no shit, which is what I’ve grown up around… strong Blak empowered women who are the back bones of our community.

All too often we’re painted as these silent victims who are easily stood over, which is far from reality. I wanted to create a song where my sisters feel empowered, where they feel staunch, worthy and strong in their feminine power. I also wanted to let my ex no that he didn’t stop NOTHING! 

While ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests have cooled off in Australia right now due to Covid restrictions, what are you encouraging those who want to ensure the conversation stays open to do?

To keep raising and amplifying Blak voices in the community, to listen and read what Blak people are sharing and their lived experiences. Come to those marches, come to those protests when it clears up, come and sit down at our table and listen, don’t talk over us or speak for us. 

If you see injustice happening, talk about it, stand with us and stand on the right side of justice. 

We’ve been talking about these issues since colonisation, if we stand together we can chip away at this racist system piece by piece together. 

The upcoming Blaksound music conference is such an awesome event. What does it mean for you to speak in such a forum?

It’s HUGE! It’s about time that we’ve had something like this… usually in this industry they’ll get one First Nations panelist to yarn just to tick the box.

So it’s amazing that I get to be a part of something like this and that we get to hear from individual Blak artists, because although we stand together, we all are so different and have so much to teach and learn from each other. 

Are you able to give us a preview of some of the points you’ll be addressing at the Blaksound conference?

We’re having a yarn about what it’s like being the youngest generation of the world’s oldest living culture. It’s a huge yarn, so much depth and knowledge will be shared. It’s an honour to be a part of that. 

BLAKSOUND is set to kick off on September 6th, featuring curation by Sycco, Jem Cassar-Daley, Dobby and Loki Liddle. Click here to register.

Listen to ‘Magic’ by Rico Nasty with Barkaa and MADAM3EMPRESS:

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