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Five Upcoming AUNZ Artists You Should Know

Traversing R&B, soul and more, here are five local artists with undeniable star power that you should have on your radar.

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With the amount of fresh talent brewing on the streets of Australia and New Zealand, there is an abundance of upcoming artists who are absolutely killing it in their area code. These rising local stars are a need-to-know, creating world-class R&B, soul and more. Check out the list below!

01. Lara D

At just 18 years old, this creative coming straight out of Sydney is carving her path as one of the freshest R&B talents emerging from the Australian music scene. Lara D incorporates elements of her Moroccan and Lebanese heritage into her artistic journey and believes that individuality and confidence in one’s own history goes a long way in determining a way forward. Marked by a unique sonic style, this singer-songwriter pulls inspiration from her world experiences, Lara D is creating her own brand of contemporary R&B as she embraces everything that makes her different,  from her style to her rhythm and the nuances in her production. Her first single of 2021 ‘No One’ is a fiery introduction point, but for those who have watched her career blossom, it is a fitting evolution.

Follow Lara D here for more.

02. Ms. Thandi

Debuting in 2019 with her soulful track ‘On The Table’, Ms. Thandi erupted into Australia’s flourishing scene as a standout artist, taking over the conversation concerning Sydney’s new wave of female creatives. Her early exposure to a multitude of creative influences like old soul, jazz music, 90’s hip-hop and R&B has created the singer-songwriter’s unique, nostalgic and sensual soundscape that compliments her ever-evolving sound and style. One of Ms. Thandi’s latest releases, ‘The Eyes’ is a staple of this enigmatic artist’s direction, showing her affection for love songs as she mesmerizes us with her sultry sound and beautiful aesthetics. Ms. Thandi has this undeniable groove and energy that can be felt through her charming lyrics and instrumentation.

Follow Ms. Thandi here for more.


The Nigerian-born, Melbourne-based newcomer burst into the scene earlier this year with the release of her debut single ‘too dang good’, a blissful mix of rap, pop and neo-soul. Written about self-love and knowing your worth, PICIE quickly caught the attention of tastemakers, leading to PRICIE being dubbed as an artist to watch. She also supported one of Australia’s most standout artists of 2021, Genesis Owusu on his sold-out national tour, leading to her latest single, the slick and soulful ‘FRIENDZONE’ featuring Genesis himself. With the amount of promise shown in such a short amount of time, PRICIE is indeed one to watch.

Follow PRICIE here for more.

04. Liyah Knight

Multifaceted and boundless, this Sydney vocalist is on a steady rise to the top. Liyah Knight has been writing music for a little over three years, having written for other vocalists and creating demos that caught the eye of acclaimed Australian producer M-Phazes (Madonna, Demi Lovato, Eminem) and Brisbane rapper Nerve who invited her to perform at Falls Festival 2019, long before she released her first single. Late last year, Knight shared her debut project Nesting, a fusion of multiple genres from soulful R&B to indie-leaning pop, coupled with poetry-like lyricism and a certain vulnerability which made for an intimate introduction. With an EP in titled Traveller’s Guide on the way, Liyah recently dropped ‘Moon Baby’, a taste of things to come.

Follow Liyah Knight here for more.

05. Nganeko

This Auckland-based singer-songwriter has made a lot of noise for only having one song under her belt. With the voice of an angel, Nganeko (FKA NEKO) first caught people’s interest with her unofficial Soundcloud releases and soul-shivering covers posted on her Instagram feed. In her last year of high school, the R&B songstress was scouted by Aotearoa heavyweights Church & AP to feature on their album ‘TEETH’, and before long Nganeko was opening the duo in front of a crowd of 55,000 and quickly commanding attention from all over the New Zealand music scene, all before she released her first track. Debuting last year with ‘Serious’, the Fijian-Māori artist mesmerised us with her smooth and sultry vocals for this nostalgic soul track, leaving us wanting more.

Follow Nganeko here for more.