You must have been living under a rock not to have heard of Tash Sultana by now. But for those of you who haven’t, she’s a one-woman indie powerhouse and self-described “loop-ologist” who’s been making waves with her unique fusion of beat boxing, guitar and vocals.
You could be forgiven for thinking that she was an overnight success - however, the opposite is actually true. At just 21 years of age, Sultana has been honing her craft for years. From generating enormous buzz busking on the streets of her hometown Melbourne, to her viral social media videos racking up combined millions of views, to this year’s release of her debut EP "Notion" (on her own label, might I add) and a hugely successful sold out European tour – Tash has been one busy lady.
The atmosphere is filled with anticipation as 300 odd people pile into the tiny floor space upstairs at the Newtown Social Club. It’s clear from looking around the respectful silence of the audience, that Tash has managed to develop quite the cult following of devotee fans.
Her danciest track, ‘Jungle’ receives the strongest reception of the night, as she coos “welcome to the jungle, will you dance with me… got to close your eyes and see” before an absolutely shredding solo. Got to say – I’m thoroughly impressed with her guitar skills.
She has a real knack for weaving a soulful, vulnerable energy with one of aggression - her voice is simultaneously rough yet smooth, and sweet yet brash. She is also remarkably reserved on stage, saying little with her words, yet speaking volumes with an incredible commitment to her performance.
A woman of opposites, Sultana provides an authentic and refreshing approach to her art that has been sorely missing in the past few years. Moreover, someone like Tash reaching such prominence in the Australian music scene is absolutely needed. Female musicians often feel pressure to fit into a mould of either femininity or boyishness. But with her performance, she proves that you can be both.
Her trajectory into success has been fairly consistent so far. However, the hype machine is notorious for building up young acts quickly, and then spitting them back out into obscurity a year later. So one question I have is, will she be able to keep it up? The answer to that question lies in whether she can successfully diversify her sound to keep up with a rapidly changing musical climate.
Regardless of the outcome, we can surely look forward to seeing more from her in the future.
Reviewer: Nicole Munnelly