With 1,400 entries, triple j’s Unearthed High 2021 is officially their biggest year yet, despite a number of hurdles, including an Unearthed website breakdown as the competition was closing.
Each year triple j’s Unearthed goes in search of the nation’s best music act in high school and with entries spanning numerous genres, this year’s entrants proved just how strong the future of Aussie music is.
Here’s what triple j Unearthed Music Director Dave Ruby Howe had to say about the five finalists…
edith – Who Cares (Brigidine College Randwick, NSW)
Spotted in Unearthed High 2020 under a different artist name, Sydney teenager Abby Taylor a.k.a. edith put the work in between competitions, writing new songs and developing the vision of this project. What she’s come up with sounds no less than stellar, with a charming lightness that feels readymade for a free-spirited summer playlist.
Jacob Biermann – Red (JMC Academy, QLD)
When Gold Coast teen Jacob Biermann first entered Unearthed High as a prodigious 14-year-old in 2019 he drew praise from triple j presenters and industry alike – not to mention comparisons to powerful modern pop voices like Ruel and KIAN. Back now with ‘Red’ and Jacob’s made it official; this is slickly grand with a ringing emotional centre that can only be executed with a voice that good.
KAYPS – NUISANCE! (Helena College, WA)
Young Walmatjarri and Bunuba artist KAYPS, originally from Broome and now living in Perth, has been in electrifying form over the last 12 months. Already making a name for himself on the underground 6K rap scene in WA the 16-year-old is on the eve of dropping his second mixtape of speedometer-breaking bars and on single ‘NUISANCE!’ his cadence and flow is simply electrifying.
The Rions – Night Light (Barrenjoey High School, NSW)
What do you get when you mix the charismatic rock n roll sneer of the Arctic Monkeys with the steely guitar anthemics of Spacey Jane? A festival force in the making, better known as The Rions. A listen to key single ‘Night Light’ announces that they’re on the right path, with an assured indie strut to match the frontman-mode energy of vocalist Noah.
TIA – Conversations (Strathmore Secondary College, VIC)
With a voice like Melbourne singer TIA, when you sing people will take notice. The right people too – the 17-year-old joined Tones And I’s backing choir live earlier in 2021, unleashing her vocals to large crowds in even larger rooms. With original songs to back it up like ‘Conversations’ we know it won’t be long before she’s back in that setting.
In addition to being named as a finalist, KAYPS is the winner of the Unearthed High Indigenous Initiative and will receive ongoing mentorship from the Association of Artist Managers, as well as a songwriting workshop at his school run by the APRA AMCOS Songmakers program.
Bryce & Ebony will announce the winner on triple j’s breakfast next week.