Next Big Thing

Presented by AIM

Be our crystal ball: we’re taking bets on Sydney’s next big thing. Which of these artists has shot to the top of your favourites list? Who have you been bugging your mates to hurry up and check out? We want to know who you think is on the cusp of hitting the big time.

 

BUOY

BUOY succeeds at a delicate balancing act: highlighting her powerful vocals while letting dark electronic production flourish around it. Charmian Kingston, the brains behind BUOY, is above all a commanding songwriter, and this year’s Break EP put all her obvious skill on show. Its standout opener ‘Clouds and Rain’ earned a nomination for Best Song. ‘Exit’ combines complex percussion, analogue synth lines and carefully placed samples into a stunningly simple song. When you listen closely, Break is a technical triumph—when you sit back, it’s a breathless ride through sound and emotion. We can’t wait to see what Kingston pulls off next.

Julia Jacklin

On holidays at age ten, Julia Jacklin caught a Britney Spears doco on TV and knew she had to be a singer. After taking classical singing lessons, going on a formative trip to South America, and playing in a handful of bands, she gifted us with her debut solo album, Don’t Let the Kids Win. The now 25-year-old Inner West local looks back on her childhood and adolescence with wry honesty, a refreshing lack of hapless nostalgia and a finely controlled voice, heavy with history and insight. Don’t Let the Kids Win is a stunning debut on what it means to grow up, and an introduction to a massive new talent.

Middle Kids

As solo artists, Tim Fitz and Hannah Joy have been on a steady rise over the past few years. But since pairing up and pulling in bandmate Harry Day to form Middle Kids, they’ve exploded. Their debut single ‘Edge of Town’ (nominated for Best Song) infuses a unique warmth and intimacy into remarkable songwriting, and their follow-up ‘Your Love’ cranked the energy level up. We have such high hopes for Middle Kids that we sent them to Iceland as the winners of our 2016 Northern Lights competition, joining the lineup of Iceland Airwaves Music Festival and spending time in Sigur Ros’s gorgeous recording studio. After two flawless singles, we couldn’t be more excited for what Middle Kids do next.

Moonbase Commander

The high energy bass music of Moonbase Commander (aka Nick Luke) has been on our radar for some time—last year we nominated him for the FBi Click Best Producer award. He’s been moving up and up in 2016, dropping the fiercely focused, unshakable Orthodox EP. Guest spots from Chicago MC Mikey Dollaz and Melbourne enigma Ecca Vandal elevate Orthodox from a first-rate beattape into an ambitious statement of intent. Years of mixtapes and remixes are distilled into a raw, hard-hitting expression of Luke’s skill and flair, one mighty omen of things to come.

Wallace

When Wallace Gollan dropped the gin-drenched slow-burner ‘Negroni Eyes’, she instantly staked out a position as Sydney’s number one R&B siren. Follow-up single, ‘Is it You?’, pairs richly atmospheric jazz piano with soulful vocal artistry, guided by Kraak and Smaak’s stripped-back production. Wallace’s voice is room-filling, deep, and delicately measured—a rare quality in a genre whose chief vice is excess. She capped off the year with ‘Ruffled Roses’, reuniting with producer Godriguez for a steel drum–punctuated trip into immaculate, soulful house music. No one in this city has a tighter grip on real R&B than Wallace.