After sifting through a whopping 1,400 entries, triple j has chosen their five finalists for Unearthed High 2021. 

Teenagers are literally amazing. I don’t understand how they’re juggling surviving high school, in a pandemic, whilst still feeling creatively inspired. It takes all the strength I can muster to convince myself to have a shower every day.

If you woke up this morning and decided that you want to do everything in your power to feel really bad about yourself, listening to these wunderkind’s will guarantee you’ll spend the next half hour considering all your shortcomings. Truly amazing stuff.

triple j Unearthed Music Director Dave Ruby Howe has given us the skinny on the finalists, check out what he had to say below:

edith – Who Cares (Brigidine College Randwick, NSW)
“Spotted in Unearthed High 2020 under a different artist name, Sydney teenager Abby Taylor a.k.a. edith put the work in between competitions, writing new songs and developing the vision of this project. What she’s come up with sounds no less than stellar, with a charming lightness that feels readymade for a free-spirited summer playlist.”

Jacob Biermann – Red (JMC Academy, QLD)
“When Gold Coast teen Jacob Biermann first entered Unearthed High as a prodigious 14-year-old in 2019 he drew praise from triple j presenters and industry alike – not to mention comparisons to powerful modern pop voices like Ruel and KIAN. Back now with ‘Red’ and Jacob’s made it official; this is slickly grand with a ringing emotional centre that can only be executed with a voice that good.”

KAYPS – NUISANCE! (Helena College, WA)
“Young Walmatjarri and Bunuba artist KAYPS, originally from Broome and now living in Perth, has been in electrifying form over the last 12 months. Already making a name for himself on the underground 6K rap scene in WA the 16-year-old is on the eve of dropping his second mixtape of speedometer-breaking bars and on single ‘NUISANCE!’ his cadence and flow is simply electrifying.”

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The Rions – Night Light (Barrenjoey High School, NSW)
“What do you get when you mix the charismatic rock n roll sneer of the Arctic Monkeys with the steely guitar anthemics of Spacey Jane? A festival force in the making, better known as The Rions. A listen to key single ‘Night Light’ announces that they’re on the right path, with an assured indie strut to match the frontman-mode energy of vocalist Noah.”

TIA – Conversations (Strathmore Secondary College, VIC)
With a voice like Melbourne singer TIA, when you sing people will take notice. The right people too – the 17-year-old joined Tones And I’s backing choir live earlier in 2021, unleashing her vocals to large crowds in even larger rooms. With original songs to back it up like ‘Conversations’ we know it won’t be long before she’s back in that setting.

KAYPS has also been named the winner of the Unearthed High Indigenous Initiative. The budding musician will receive ongoing mentorship from the Association of Artist managers, and a songwriting workshop at his school hosted by APRA AMCOS Songmakers program.

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