After staging in Western Sydney, South West Brisbane and Outer Perth in its first national year, the GRID Series (Grass Roots Indie Development) recently returned to its original home – Outer South East Melbourne.

Melbourne has the global reputation as a live music centre, with more music venues per capita than any other city in the world, and with new talent supported at a grassroots level by a network of community radio network, street papers and booking agents.

GRID has established itself as part of this support system by tapping into the bubbling scene in the outer areas.

The four talents and their tracks are:

Jacki Tut – ‘Good For Now’

Jacki Tut is a South Sudanese Australian artist whose sound covers RnB, soul and hip hop with straight-to-the-point lyrics delivered by velvet tones.

On her debut single ‘Good For Now’, Jacki shows how adept she is at dealing with others when her priority is to accentuate her search for individually and not settle for anything but number one..

“So I don’t need to be stressing me,” she repeats, at one point asking, “Am I a bad guy in your eyes because I don’t know what I want?”

The piano and back beats remains subtle even when she builds up the atmosphere with great skill.

For all its beauty the message is clear: “don’t mess with me”.

‘Good For Now’ can be heard here:


Manny Lado – ‘Broken Promises’

Manny Lado emerged from the buoyant Outer Melbourne rap scene and quickly made a name for himself.

‘Broken Promises’, co-produced with Ecca Vandal and Kid Not features pulsating bass and atmospheric keyboards sonically offering light and shade as he rolls back the complexity of a romantic relationship.

“And if I apologise to you a hundred times, will that make a difference?/ If I apologise to you a thousand times would you forgive me indifference?”

In another couplet he opens up disarmingly: “Promise I ain’t tryna waste your time/ Plead the fifth about a million different times/ I know there’s still too many broken promises that still linger on your mind.”

Broken Promises’ is found here:


Lil Sriracha – ‘Arky’

Lil Sriracha, a first generation female Vietnamese-Australian fuses trap, hip hop and RnB relishing the role music has in her life of being a voice and letting her be free.

She has a no-nonsense k-swiss approach on ‘Arky’ that comes across more as a free-styling one-way conversation, and which strikes a chord with fans almost immediately.

“Girls I know that this is sudden but I just got my nails done and like…this girl wants to fight me. I should show her how my nails look shouldn’t I? They look pretty good. Dayum!”

With hard beats from Ecca Vandal and Kid Not’s production to understate the wisecracking tone of the track, Arky’ is heard here:


ELAURA –‘ Kingdom’

ELAURA is a singer-songwriter and guitarist with a sound that fuses jazz, soul and RnB with her Chilean roots.

The elegant tone is used to great effect on her debut single ‘Kingdom’ where she expertly creates a lyrical universe of her own.

“My kingdom comes to wash away my conditioning to separate me from my mind,” she murmurs.

In another instance, referring to the world that she creates in her mind as she heads on her spiritual journey, “Hide away from the deadly drama of the day.”

‘Kingdom’ bows out with a poem from her grandmother in her native Chilean Spanish.

Listen to ‘Kingdom’ here:


The four acts went through a weekend of one-on-one mentoring with music industry professionals; a song development session; guidance to producing a track; and video content.

The four tracks will be launched on Friday November 29, with the single launch show taking place at Colour, 229 Queensberry St, Carlton on Tuesday December 3.

GRID was set up in 2013 by Ariel Blum, a Melbourne-based producer who is also a film and TV composer. Blum has fronted bands as the 11-piece Pablo Discobar and the band Telescopes, and is currently half of trip-hop act St.Ives.

Those who’ve participated in GRID around the country have talked about the boost of confidence it gave them and how they learned so much in a short time; the feelings of empowerment they received; the business, strategy and marketing tips imparted to them to ensure they control as much of their career as possible – and the joy that some of them received from hearing their music on triple j.

Past GRID participants in Melbourne have spoken about the doors that opened. Daniel Elia, Alana Wilkinson, Manorism, The Fabric (fronted by Angie McMahon) and Niasha have gone on to recording careers .

Gordon Koang, toured Canada and won a $30,000 major prize at BIGSOUND 2019.

With strong backing from telecommunications provider Belong, GRID has additional support from APRA AMCOS and various music organisations.