KCRW’s Global Beat is a new series highlighting emerging artists from around the world. We’re kicking the series off with our friends in Australia by partnering with The Australian Music Alliance and the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (Amrap), a uniquely Australian organization designed to support Australian music on public radio.
KCRW DJ Raul Campos hosts along with Amrap Manager Andrew Khedoori for this week’s Aussie artist spotlights on Freya Josephine Hollick, Miiesha, and Dallas Woods. Catch up on all the artists from the series with our Global Beat: Australia playlist.
Freya Josephine Hollick - “The Real World”
Andrew Khedoori: “Freya Josephine Hollick is out of Ballarat. For many years, she shaped herself as a distinctive, country-style troubadour, but more from that cosmic end of country that got really popular in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s from the likes of Gram Parsons and the Birds. All that mapping of U.S. musical history, maybe Nashville via California.
Freya is back with a new single called ‘The Real World,’ and it's an interesting development for her. Definitely her most luscious-sounding work yet. And interestingly enough, it was recorded right in the heart of the sound that she perfects, the Joshua Tree desert in California. And I think a lot of artists, when they make this music, just like Babatha that we heard from a couple of weeks ago, they do it with those rose colored glasses on. There's a lot of nostalgic kick going on. There's a bit of escapism going on.
But here with Freya, she is pitting the song right in the middle of 2021 and all of the concerns that we share, or should be sharing, about the destruction of our planet. So while you're being seduced by this laid back, creamy, country, trippy type of sound, you're also getting a hit of, shall we say, the real world.”
Miiesha - “Damaged”
“Miiesha is from the small Indigenous community of Woorabinda in central Queensland. Her debut album, ‘Nyaaringu,’ took in the influence of soul and gospel into the perspective of a First Nations Australian, and it's a sound that connects her story on a global scale. She was 20 when she released that album, and it had the feel of a family affair, with her grandmother speaking on the opening track of the album and elsewhere. Her cousin plays didgeridoo.
It ended up being nominated for five ARIA awards, our equivalent of the Grammys. And a lot on that record was what it's like to be a First Nations Australia in 2020—what's changed, what's not changed, but also how these stories are getting out into the world now, as well as a really strong artistic vision, and a greater deal of Australians who are acknowledging that they need to listen to that vision and check it out.
‘Damaged’ is a new single from her. It ups the pop and the R&B vibe that she's flirted with previously, and keeps in the family way about being about her relationship with her mom. It's very much warts and all, with the only sugarcoating being the music itself. The track is produced by a guy called Simon Cohen, who you may not have heard of, but he also worked on a little track that you may have heard of called ‘Love Again’ for Justin Bieber.”
Dallas Woods - “Stranger” (feat. Kee’ahn)
Dallas Woods is an indigenous rapper up from the Kimberley region of Western Australia. He has co-written a lot of hits in Australia with Baker Boy, and his own brand of hip hop hits a little harder in sound and vision. I think of Public Enemy and their mantra of ‘party for your right to fight’ when I hear Dallas Woods. It's from that end of socially conscious hip hop that he's drawing.
His latest track ‘Stranger,’ which also features the incredible soulful vocal of Kee’ahn. She's a newish singer, and she took Song of the Year at last year's National Indigenous Music Awards with her debut single ‘Better Things,’ and she makes the song's message really cut through when she features. It's about the idea of being true to yourself and not feeling like you need to play a role for anyone or any situation that you find yourself in.”