Global Beat Australia: Odette, Izy, and Babitha

Written by Andrea Domanick

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 Odette, Izy, and Babitha.

Odette - “Amends

“Born in Bath, England to a mom from South Africa and dad from England, Odette moved to Sydney's inner west at age 3 where she developed her musical chops,” says Amrap Manager Andrew Khedoori. Photo by Giulia McGauran.

KCRW: Tell us a little bit about Odette. She’s originally English born, but now is in Sydney, right? 

Andrew Khedoori: “Yes. She was born in Bath in England. Her mother is South African and her dad is English. She's known to her mom and dad as Georgia Odette Sally Banks. And she grew up in the Inner West of Sydney. It's an area where a lot of young creative people congregate, and they also feature a lot of the live music venues that make up the live music scene in Sydney. So she found herself in the right place to make great music. 

Her first album came out in 2018. And she was immediately seen as an artist on the rise. This new second album for her, it’s called “Herald,” it follows the electro-soul vibe that she played out on the first album, but really here she has kind of fully realized that, to me. She has firmly embedded herself into that vibe. 

And the interesting thing for KCRW listeners is that some of the album's tracks have been produced by Hermitude, who have had a consistent run on the station with some amazing tracks. They're absolute producers that have been really innovative and really immediate with what they do. And they've lent that sensibility to other people, including Odette. I think she has really fully arrived on this record and is following a trend for females in Australian music. She's gloriously open with her heart on her sleeve, but she's also really in command of her songs. They feel so powerful and sound so very sweetly soulful. I think you'll hear that from her track “Amends.” 

Izy - “ No Further Than You

“Pronounced ‘eye-zee,’ Izy a trio with Indigenous roots originally from Cairns in Australia’s tropical north, now based in Melbourne making what they describe as ‘soul music for soul people,’” says Khedoori. Photo by James Morris/Cook Up Sessions. 

“Izy is a Melbourne-based trio. … The amount of great soul and funk bands that come out of Melbourne, Victoria on a regular basis is really staggering. And these bands are really starting to put their own spin on things in the way that they're mixing it up. Izy are originally from the tropical north of Australia, but they moved to Melbourne for the obvious reason, which is to connect with that activity a lot more. 

They've got a really nice, modern update on harmony-laiden soul music. You can hear the tradition in it, but they're not afraid to bend it around a bit. … It's kind of like Bill Withers meets D'Angelo, at least on this track “No Further Than You.” And maybe that early doo wop sound that Curtis Mayfield launched himself on way back in the late 1950s and early 1960s. 

“No Further Than You” had preceded an album which has just been released. It's called “Irene” and it's named after one of the band member’s grandmother. … Warrigo Tyrrell is the bassist and vocalist in the band. He has enlisted his brother to play on the record as well. So you've got a really fantastic scenario going on there and very proud young Indigenous musicians making great music in this country.”

Babitha - “ Golden Hour

“Sydney-based folk artist Babitha brings the Laurel Canyon sound that LA developed back across the Pacific with a dreamy new release,” says Khedoori. Photo by Jordan Kirk. 

“Babitha is a Sydney singer-songwriter called Imogen Grist. She does a sound that I think is pretty familiar for a lot of Californians out there. She's really mining that soft rock and country sound perfected in California in the mid-to-late 1970s. I'm thinking Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell, or more recently, someone like Pearl Charles on her latest album, and I think that she just does it in a really heavenly way. 

I reckon she writes with rose-colored glasses on. She's got that slightly hazy psychedelic feel going on. This one comes to us from a long-running label in Australia called Spunk Records, who have brought us some really amazing songwriters, people like Holly Throsby and The Middle East. So there's a track record there, and they're staking some hype on Babitha to deliver some really incredible songs as well. We've got an EP here called “Through the Light,” and this one from it is called “Golden Hour.”

And check out our on going playlist:





Raul Campos, Adam Burke