Passionate, energetic, and of course, talented, are three words that can define one of Australia’s new rising stars, Justine Eltakchi. Over the past 18 months, Eltakchi has been on fire – releasing two EP’s and six singles and she’s scheduled to drop some brand new material with her single ‘Demons’ out this month.
Representing a foray into a new sonic palette, ‘Demons’ sees Eltakchi deep in the world of pop, experimenting combining her unique storytelling with sounds that verge on hyperpop. The singer says, “‘Demons’ is about putting yourself first even when it hurts, learning how to stop trying to fix everyone else’s problems and focus on your own needs.”
The talented musician previously worked on the other side of the lens, she’s written songs for the likes of Casey Donovan, Alanna Vullo and Jasmine Rae. Despite being born legally blind, Eltakchi is determined to use her disability as an advantage.
“Having a disability has naturally made me a trusting person and through my life has left me vulnerable. I think part of empowering myself as someone with blindness, was finding my independence and self-assurance within my mind first, and my music is really an exploration of this next level of growth and self-empowerment.”
How did your artist name come about?
It is my real name! My music and writing are personal to my story and family background, so it felt natural to release under my actual name.
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How would you describe your music to your grandma?
I would probably say “This music is inspired by all the strong women in my family and you are one of them.” My grandmothers were immigrants to Australia post-war, who started with nothing and gave our families everything.
Tell us about a few of your tracks; their titles and what they’re about?
I have a few singles in the pipeline this year. “Demons” is the first of them and they all surround topics of healing, growing and changing. For me, I realised trying to make everyone happy and happy with me, was the source of a lot of my suffering. Unlearning and exploring this revelation is such a vivid topic in my new music, and with that came a new approach to production. I am super excited that my new music is delving into a pop realm, with experimental sounds and feel good moments.
What do you love about your hometown?
I spent most of my life in the Blue Mountains. For me, it was the perfect place to become creative and explore music. I spent a lot of my time immersed in the natural environment, even in school, so I was used to space and quiet. I love that the Blue Mountains has always been a place for creatives to base themselves and that I always felt I could be whoever I wanted to be. The Winter Magic Festival in Katoomba was one of my first gigs when I was 16, and it basically epitomises what it is to be “from the mountains”.
Career highlight so far?
Attending the song camp SongExpo in Norway in 2019 was rad. It really inspired me to kick things up a notch when I came home and get serious. It made me believe in myself again and that the music world is accessible to me, not just an anomaly!
Fave non-music hobby?
I could lie and say reading, but I won’t. Food is life. Eating is my hobby. There’s definitely a Woman vs Food doco on the way.
What’s on your dream rider?
John Mayer naked and a buffet of El Jannah (Lebanese chicken from western Sydney).
Dream music collaboration?
Did I mention John Mayer? Also, H.E.R, Alicia Keys and of course Stevie Wonder.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Writing music, raising little mini-boss-Justines and still eating as a hobby.
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
I can’t take karaoke seriously, so instead, I sing like an unprofessional singer butchering the Spice Girls “Wannabe”.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Can I add in the worst because there are some BANGERS – “you need to sing more like an 18 year old Swedish girl”, “don’t wear glasses as an artist”, “you need to write happy songs”.
The best advice I ever received was “Hold your vision”. It is the simplest yet most effective three words I have ever heard. I remind myself of that every time I doubt myself or what I am doing.
What’s one obsession you have that no one would guess after listening to your music?
I am pathetically romantic, despite my recent aversion to love songs.