Northern Rivers and Byron Bay Musicians 2018
The Northern Rivers of NSW Australian is proudly home to a diverse range of creatives including world class musicians. We’ve compiled a list of our favourite local Northern Rivers and Byron Bay musicians for your listening enjoyment.
Looking back over Xavier Rudd’s stunning career, one could easily ask what is possibly left for him to achieve. Already one of Australian music’s all-time greats, he has touched people’s lives worldwide. He has earned accolades of every kind, Gold and Platinum certification, and legions of fans who love him with an inextinguishable passion. Yet, with each new release, Xavier Rudd continues to surpass expectation and produce his finest work to date.
Storm Boy, Xavier’s ninth studio album, continues this upwards trajectory. Led by the radiating single Walk Away, Storm Boy is both classic Xavier and something a little new. Produced by Chris Bond (Ben Howard, Tom Speight) and mixed by Tim Palmer (Pearl Jam, Bowie, U2) it is a record that reflects how sophisticated a songwriter Xavier is – both in his timeless, philosophical lyrics and his masterful sculpting of melody. He is undoubtedly a true virtuoso of his craft.
Elena B. Williams
Elena B Williams is an Australian Samoan singer-songwriter currently living in Byron Bay. She started her music career at a young age, at one of her dad’s poetry readings in The Oxford Street Café, Perth. Poets have long inspired singers and songwriters and Elena is no exception, with poetry finding it’s way into her improvised lyrics.
Inspired by artists like Nina Simone, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan and Tracey Chapman, Elena began singing and playing guitar at the age of 15, with no intention of making it a career, it was just a fun thing to do. After three months of playing music Elena was hooked. She says; “when you find a place of freedom, how can you ever leave it, that’s music to me, complete freedom”.
Elena’s music is a unique blend of soul, folk, jazz, blues and alternative but really a sound all of her own. With a powerful voice that hits you in the heart and honest lyrics that tell stories of life as it is, of human emotion, her Samoan heritage and a desire to celebrate the beauty of nature, Elena’s songs will take you on a journey and connect you to yourself and the world around you.
Move. And be moved. Find your flow and go about each day to the rhythm of your own making.
That’s the theme of 2018 for Byron Bay singer, ukulele strummer and drummer Bobby Alu. It’s been a long-time personal and musical mission for the tropical ambassador, too.
Amidst smooth harmonies, rhythms inspired by a strong family lineage of Polynesian performance, and unassuming grooves that work a gradual, smile- inducing high through even a casual listener, Bobby Alu tunes have a way of sneaking into the subconscious and taking up residence. Every now and then, one will pop up as a toe-tapping reminder to take it slow, enjoy the ride. It’s the curator of calm’s way – deliver island-time vibes with gentle optimism rather than forceful instruction, and encourage the type of reflection best achieved in a hammock. Though it’s not all palm trees and daydreams – there’s a robust energy in Alu’s mastery of traditional Samoan log drums, and a vitality to his songwriting that nods to world, roots and pop intelligence.
Kyle Lionheart is a neo-folk/folk/soul artist from the east coast surfing town of Byron Bay,
and he has quickly gained a formidable reputation for stopping crowds in their tracks. So much so that he was invited to play at the 2013 Splendour in the Grass music festival and 2013 Byron Bays Blues festival. Kyle Lionheart has shared the stage with legend Jeff Lang, Ash Grunwald and Kim Churchill.
Kyle Lionheart’s performance gives range to acoustic and electric guitars in different tunings, and his large vocal range is a particularly distinguished aspect of his music, seeking sounds similar to Jeff Buckley, Dallas Green and Bon Iver.
Story is at the forefront for troubadour Áine Tyrrell who draws deeply on her Irish roots, with one boot in the red dirt of her adopted country of Australia and the other firmly planted in her homeland. Underpinning her contemporary narratives and musical sojourns with a solid respect for tradition and a passion for adventure and traveling to new lands, both real, and musical.
‘I am Irish,’ she says, ‘but there is a real sense of place in Australia in my music. It’s not strictly Irish and it’s not Australian. I am so proud of the musical heritage I come from. The sense of tradition musically is earthing and grounding, but tradition in its essence has boundaries, expectations, and ingrained rules. Leaving home made me push my own boundaries of music and self. It has given me permission to break the rules,’ she says. ‘I have learned to dip from that deep well, but I value the freedom I have to express it in my way and I have Australia to thank for that.’
Ziggy Alberts is a coastal folk, singer/songwriter, free surfer & environmental enthusiast from the East Coast of Australia. He sings heartfelt stories of personal endeavours and experiences, ocean-side upbringing, environmental issues and life on the road.
Ziggy has been pushing the boundaries and expectations of unsigned artists – from picking up his first left-hand guitar in 2011 to selling out headline shows at Australia’s most established theatres in 2017. He released ‘Land&Sea’ and single ‘Runaway’ in 2015, followed by 2016’s ‘Four Feet in The Forest’ – Ziggy’s grassroots following is growing every day with 70 million streams on Spotify alone and over 83 thousand followers on Instagram. Ziggy released his new single ‘Heaven’ on the 15th of September 2017 – a taste of whats to come in his new album on its way for 2018.
Domini Forster leads you through the dusk-lit corridors of her intricate song- stories, each scene as intimate and lovelorn as tea-stained lace. Forster’s distinctive voice shifts effortlessly from commanding call to lilting, whisper-close falsetto, earning her comparisons to the likes of Laura Marling and Joni Mitchell.
On the back of extensive touring with renowned Australian artist Lior, Forster released her debut album Raven in March 2017 with a national headline tour. Hovering deftly in the breathless spaces between light and dark, Raven is a remarkably assured debut that marks Forster as one of Melbourne’s (Byron Bay expat) brightest new voices in modern folk.
Honing her technical proficiency on the piano, percussion, stomp and vocals and developing a unique sound from such a young age, this act draws on numerous styles in order to create rhythmic and emotional art that is as evocative as it is catchy, as intimate as it is challenging.
With her breathtaking voice reminiscent of Kate Miller-Heidke, piano talents that bring to mind Regina Spektor, and a songwriting touch that harks to none other than the great Joni Mitchell, Cecilia Brandolini is a talent impossible to ignore.
Acclaimed singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, Winner of 2017 Tweed Battle of the Bands and finalist of 2018 Bluesfest Busking Competition, Cecilia Brandolini blends contemporary percussion and live vocal looping with her emotional yet heartwarming presence.
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