AU ABROAD

the AU playlist: Homecooked Soul Food - 6 Australian artists you need to see at Soulfest

We are now at this point where we no longer have to pinch ourselves when we look at the line up for the inaugural Soulfest. D' Angelo, Maxwell, Common, Mos Def, Angie Stone, Anthony Hamilton, Musiq Soulchild - they're all here, and they're all playing the same stage. We're the envy of hip-hop, R&B, and soul fans the world over right now, but the day isn't - and should not be - just about the big names. To complement the dizzying amount of talent at this festival, the promoters have done well to recruit Australian artists who fit seamlessly with the ethos of Soulfest. Some of these locals are exclusive to just one city only, but some are travelling with the entire festival across all three of the Australian dates. Here are six Australian artists you shouldn't be overlooking when you head along to Soulfest in your city.

Jordan Rakei (Brisbane)

I first saw Jordan earlier this year when he played as part of the pop-up Red Bull Music Academy at Splendour In The Grass. I hadn't heard of him before and had no intention of checking him out until a bottleneck at the Very Small Mall pushed me to wander over to the stage. Immediately the talents of Rakei became apparent; the young artist is like a direct descendant of D'Angelo, often balancing his smooth, soulful voice with a leaning towards minimal house and shades of electronica. In fact, he even performed a D'Angelo cover back then, doing it justice and adding his own little touch. Make no mistake about it, he is one you need to see at Brisbane's Soulfest.

Ngaiire (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane)

A little bit of eccentricity and soul goes a long way in the case of Sydney act Ngaiire. Her songs (and music videos) are always interesting and a bit left-centre. Couple this style with her awesome live presence, and the fact that she - along with all other locals artists - will be stepping their game up, being among all these international legends.

Ms Murphy (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane)

She released her debut EP Stride today, so you can be sure that these three festival shows - in conjunction with her current tour - will hold great importance for this incredible talent. There is often a stigma which swirls around former contestants on reality shows, but Miss Murphy has broken through any cynicism, armed with a very old school sounding soul. If her single "Ritual Union" is anything to go by, then get ready for a sassy, jazzy, and powerful performance.

Dru Chen (Melbourne)

Dru Chen's music is a highly spirited call back to lively late-nights in a brightly lit R&B club somewhere in New York. His bare-bones live shows and penchant for blending funk and soul so seamlessly place him as a shoe-in for local MVP of Soulfest Melbourne. He's also quite well known for busting out great covers of soul and funk classics while threading his own style through.

Thandiwe Pheonix (Sydney)

Thandiwe is a go-to singer for Australian producers or acts who need a delicate, soulful voice. You may have heard her on a few productions by Ta-Ku, or True Vibenation's "Lonely Flower," but her solo material is well worth paying attention to as well. As a songwriter, she is witty and straight-forward, penning lyrics which allow her to show of her relaxed, silky tones. There's no doubt that Sydney will be feeling very fortunate after they witness her city-exclusive performance.

Miracle (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane)

Miracle has released one of the best debuts of the year with Mainland, a diverse collection of excellent production and tight rhymes which meets the potential he has been showing Australia for years. He'll be holding it down for the local side of emcees at Soulfest, hanging among Common and Mos Def to showcase the feel good, festival-tested style he uses so well

Soulfest 2014 Dates and Ticket Details

Saturday, October 18 – Victoria Park (Broadway), Sydney
Sunday, October 19 – Kings Domain Gardens, Melbourne
Saturday, October 25 – The Riverstage, Brisbane
Sunday, October 26 - Western Springs Stadium, Auckland

www.soulfest.com.au