It’s no secret that triple j Unearthed High has introduced us to some of Australia’s most talented artists.
While some went on to achieve major success locally and internationally, some faded out of the limelight in favour of other endevours.
We take a look at a couple of previous winners of triple j Unearthed High to find out what they’ve been up to in the years since taking out the title.
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‘My Heart Is On Fire’ was how audiences around Australia were introduced to Hobart’s Asta Binnie. Winning the 2012 Unearthed High competition, Asta became immensely popular on triple j, following up with ‘Escape’.
Asta’s kept up appearances with a steady stream of singles, including 2015’s ‘Dynamite’ which featured Allday and saw Asta’s popularity continue to skyrocket. Asta released the EP Shine in 2017, and her single ‘Want You To Know’ was released in 2019 to critical acclaim.
When triple j launched their Unearthed High program back in 2008, the lucky winner was a Sydney trio by the name of [is]. Realising how hard the name was to Google, they adopted the moniker Tom Ugly. After releasing a self-titled EP and the track ‘Cult Romance’ as a single, the group supported the likes of Sia, & Groove Armada, and the Sydney Morning Herald even considered the band to be the ‘next Silverchair’.
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Since 2008, the group has been suspiciously quiet. New music is promised, and news of a planned, but unreleased, EP have surfaced, with a single being released in 2011 and 2014.
In 2018, he went on to release singles ‘Villain’ and ‘Elegant Flesh and performed live at Supanova Expo in Brisbane and Adelaide. In June, 2019, he then dropped the single ‘They’.
You may know this face, but not by the name she went with upon winning Unearthed High way back in 2012. In 2013, Jess reinvented herself as Montaigne, inspired by the 16th-century philosopher and essayist Michel de Montaigne, and has since released a J Award-nominated album, and a slew of other successful hits, including ‘Technicolour’ and ‘Don’t Break Me’.
Her debut album, Glorious Heights, was released on 5 August 2016, which peaked at No. 4 on the ARIA Albums Chart. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2016 she won Breakthrough Artist – Release for the album and was also nominated for three other categories.
She also represented Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 with ‘Technicolour’, but did not qualify from the semi-final.
The winners of 2009‘s Unearthed High program, and the second band to change their name soon after winning. Following the release of their winning track ‘Blackout’ and a self-titled EP, Howl soon renamed themselves to Hunting Grounds. The Ballarat sextet followed up with their second EP Brothers In Violence, and a debut album Hindsight in 2012.
After a 10 year career which saw the band support bands like Yacht Club DJ’s and DZ Deathrays, they played a farewell show in December of 2014, with frontman Michael Belsar carrying the torch forward with Twinsy.
Forming in 2010 while the group was still in high school, the Melbourne ensemble made the smart move of entering Unearthed High in 2011, especially since they ended up winning it. After releasing a self-titled EP which featured songs like ‘Air’ and ‘Chimera’, and releasing the highly-popular ‘Dance Bear’ as a single, the group released their debut album ‘Sleep In The Water’.
The group celebrated the release of their debut by playing to crowds all over the country, and then in March 2014, announced their sudden split. Going out with a bang by releasing a compilation of demos (and re-releasing their debut on vinyl, which is now highly sought after), the group show no intention of reforming as yet. However, if you miss the band too much, fear not, as members of the band are still active. Frontman Sean Heathcliff performs under the name Kagu, and Phoebe Lou & Joey Clough also released music under the name Two People.
Lunatics On Pogosticks
After their track ‘Picasso’s Saddest Love’ won them the 2013 Unearthed High competition, Sydney’s Lunatics On Pogosticks buckled down to finish their studies.
Taking their name from the Red Hot Chili Peppers track ‘Apache Rose Peacock’, the indie-rock three piece have supported bands such as Dune Rats, British India, and the very first Unearthed band, Grinspoon.
Having released their debut album Sniffing Lavender in June of 2016, the group dropped their second record, Leave Your Worries At Home, They’ll Be There When You Get Back, proving that they plan to be pretty prolific.
The 2010 UEH finalists released a triple j Feature Album in 2013’s Halcyon Days, and even came in for a Like A Version after that, covering ‘Young and Beautiful’ by Lana Del Rey.
After the band went through some big lineup changes, a new iteration of Glass Towers played American festival South By Southwest in 2014.
After radio silence for several years, in June 2020 the band’s Facebook posted short clips of new music which was originally slated for an August 2020 release.
In the years since taking out Unearthed High, Arno Faraji has made a name for himself as one of the brightest stars in Aussie hip hop.
Following his track ‘Destiny’s’ being named 2017 Unearthed High champ, Arno said that “it literally changed the scope of everything for me. Everything just elevated!”
Arno went on tur with Mallrat, and played a big-time set at the Big Pineapple Music Festival, before playing more festival stages like Groovin’ the Moo, supported the likes of Little Simz and Rejjie Snow.
In 2018, he teamed up with REMI and Sensible J for ‘Bless (What It’s Like)’, and also worked with fellow Astral People family member, Milan Ring for ‘Scalin”, a track which she co-produced with him.