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. Following up from part one, we take a look at five more rising local stars that are a need-to-know, creating world-class R&B, soul and more. Check out the list below!
With so much star talent coming from Down Under, here are five more local artists traversing R&B, hip-hop and soul that you need on your radar.
Western Sydney artist Billymaree may just be the next big R&B superstar to come out of Australia. With smooth-as-butter vocals and a signature slow-motion style in her visuals that set her apart, Billymaree shook the local music scene in 2020 with the release of ‘Down’, an intimate track with insane sensual energy complimented by lush production. The Samoan songstress also featured on Australia’s hip-hip heavyweight Hooligan Hefs album ‘Living In Sin’, alongside having various songs released on Soundcloud and Youtube, having built herself a highly dedicated fanbase. In 2019, Billymaree spent most of her time in Los Angeles developing her craft for her upcoming debut year by working with renowned producers and artists in the industry, having caught the attention of Punch from TDE (Kendrick Lamar, SZA) and the powerhouse that is P. Diddy. These early beginnings have set the tone, and with her latest release ‘On Top’ further cementing her prowess for after-hours R&B, Billymaree is well on her way.
Follow Billymaree here for more.
Based in Melbourne, POOKIE is a dynamic rapper, songwriter, producer and composer that oozes limitless creative energy. This multifaceted South Sudanese artist has always expressed herself and her worldview through multiple creative outlets. POOKIE was born in Kenya, grew up in Perth and moved to Naarm/Melbourne in 2014, enveloping herself into the local art scene as a visual artist and spoken word poet before making the move to pursue music. POOKIE made her grand entrance late last year with the explosive ‘Tuesday’, an unforgettable first impression full of ferocity, slick vocal delivery over jazzy trap beats and a powerful attitude that was quite simply infectious. POOKIE’s debut made her a hot ticket in the Australian scene and in April she released an EP ‘Dinka Girl’, a body of work that gives us an introspective look into her South Sudanese heritage as she goes through the process of self-actualization. POOKIE has a distinctive sound and style that makes her uniquely POOKIE, and a part of that is how she employs her art as a medium to express her experiences as an African woman living in Australia.
Follow POOKIE here for more.
Photography: Nicole Reed
Styling: Naydng Mayen
Born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand, this versatile multitalent discovered her love of music at a young age when her parents entered her into talent quests at the local shopping mall. With her newfound love of performing, RIIKI entered even more competitions throughout her school years, even being a part of an indie rock band before deciding she wanted to go all in and pursue a solo music career. Officially debuting in 2019 with ‘One Day’, this vibrant, up-and-coming artist really started to turn heads in 2020 with her second release ‘High Heights’, a mellow, bass-driven bop co-produced by Simon Gooding (P!nk, Dua Lipa, Migos) which took the New Zealand charts by storm. Now known as a rising indie-popstar, RIIKI caught the attention of Aotearoa’s very own indie-pop sensation BENEE and has been performing around the Covid-free country ever since. With her latest release, RIIKI shows her hand as a promising R&B artist with the pop-infused ‘In The Moment’, a song she wrote in LA a week before Covid closed New Zealand’s borders for the very first time. With a honey-glazed voice and a touch of elegance, RIIKI is an artist to watch.
Follow RIIKI here for more.
04. Maina Doe
Singer-songwriter Maina Doe is a master of duality. Born in Badung, Indonesia to Somali and Indonesian parents, Maina Doe made the move to Australia during her childhood and in the last few years has become a household name in the bustling Sydney scene. A staple of her unique style is the fresh take she brings in a new era of multidimensional R&B. Maina Doe combines elements of jazz, neo-soul, hip-hop, 90’s R&B, pop and electronic music to create her distinctive sound palette. Before Maina Doe, this creative artist was working in the music industry under her given name Nasra as a backing vocalist and songwriter until she was ready to bust out into the world as an elevated version of herself. Citing artists like Andre 3000 and Frank Ocean as inspirations, Maina Doe dropped her debut single ‘Delusion’ in 2019, a laid-back, neo-soul tune that transports you to another world. With only 3 current singles to her name, one of which features Genesis Owusu, the sweet sound of Maina Doe is a must-need addition to your playlist.
Follow Maina Doe here for more.
Vayne is blazing a trail as one of the hottest, rising voices in Aotearoa hip-hop and rap. Born and raised in Kirikiriroa, Hamilton, Vayne is a Māori rapper, singer-songwriter and producer who started out rapping as her underground alias gutttagirl. Releasing songs like the uncut rager ‘YUCK!’ on Soundcloud, people got their first taste of Vayne’s unapologetic, no-holds-barred style that set her apart from the rest, leading to her getting signed by Sony Music in 2018. Vayne officially debuted in 2019 when she dropped the ‘waitwait!’ music video, a vibrant visual masterpiece that truly shook the scene. With the release of this melodic trap anthem, Vayne really set the tone as an artist to watch. Last year, Vayne dropped her long-awaited debut EP ‘Gutta Girl’, a testament to the dark times she’s overcome, featuring collaborations with other great Aotearoa artists like Montell2099 and Church Leon (Church & AP). Since then, Vayne has been performing across the country, opening for huge festivals and New Zealand music heavy-hitters like Six60 and David Dallas.
Follow Vayne here for more.