The following video resources were made to suit a unit of work on Popular Australian Music. It explores the influence of the ARIA awards and Triple J Hottest 100 on Australian music.
Songs were chosen based on the interests of my students and what they would find most engaging. Various sources informed the development of the content, particularly this article from ABC News, titled 'The changing sound of the Hottest 100':
I created quizzes based on these videos and the content, so I could talk through the different music concepts with my students. These resources are aimed at stage 4 and 5, and may be applicable to different topic areas within the NSW Syllabus.
Amy Shark - I Said Hi
Amy Shark is the performance alias of Amy Louise Billings, a singer and songwriter from the Gold Coast who was born in 1986.
After quietly making music for several years, she entered a song in the Queensland Music Awards and ended up winning the pop category. She then began touring nationally and received an arts grant that allowed her to work with producer M-Phazes on her song "Adore." The single was well-received on radio upon release in 2016 and went on to become a Top Three hit in Australia in early 2017.
Shark signed with Sony Australia's Wonderlick label, and her official debut EP, Night Thinker, entered the country's albums chart at number two a few months later. The album garnered six Aria Award nominations and took home two, including Best Pop Release and Breakthrough Artist. In 2018, Shark issued her first full-length effort, Love Monster.
Mojo Juju - Native Tongue
Born in 1983 in regional NSW, Mojo Juju Ruiz de Luzuriaga, is an ARIA-nominated Australian musician. She is best-known for her breakthrough album Native Tongue, with her music spanning a variety of genres including R'n'B, Hip-Hop, and Soul.
Having both Aboriginal (Wiradjuri) and Filipino heritage, Mojo Juju says she has always been told that she is “the other”. “I was always told that I looked different. That was the main narrative that was sold when I was growing up in Australia, and I feel like it still is that way to a degree,” she says.
From 2006-2010, Mojo Juju fronted a band called Mojo Juju & The Snake Oil Merchants. The band released two independent albums with “Mojo Juju & The Snake Oil Merchants – Anthology” being released in 2015 on European label Off-Label Records. This coincided with the release of German film Bestefreunde. The film soundtrack was composed entirely of songs from Mojo's back catalogue.
Mojo Juju released her debut solo album in 2012, on ABC Music. Her second solo album, “Seeing Red/Feeling Blue”, was released in 2015. Following the release of the album, she was nominated for Best Female Artist in The Age Music Victoria Awards, with “Seeing Red/Feeling Blue” also nominated for Best Soul/R&B album.
Killing Heidi - Weir
Killing Heidi is an Australian rock band from the small rural town of Violet Town, Victoria in 1996. The band was initially formed as a folk-pop duo by siblings, Ella and Jessie Hooper.
On the strength of two strong rock anthem singles and the group's vivacious dreadlocked teenage female singer, Killing Heidi emerged as the act dominating the Australian sales charts at the turn of the new Millennium.
Singer Ella Hooper and her guitar-playing older brother Jessie spent their formative years listening to their drama and music teacher parents' record collections, including Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Joni Mitchell. The brother and sister started jamming at home, and in 1996, the pair played an acoustic gig on the city lawns at the Violet Town arts festival – Ellan was just 13 and Jessie 15. The performance made an impression on a local studio owner who offered the Hoopers free studio time. With school friends acting as rhythm section, they recorded two original songs and submitted the results in a Triple J-sponsored competition seeking to unearth new talent. They won their section.
The first mainstream single from the group didn’t appear until August 1999, but by then the experience rhythm section of Adam Pedretti on drums and Warren Jenkin on bass had been installed.
Their first single, “Weir” was a charting success and their second single, “Mascara” leapfrogged into the national number one position, which it held for four weeks. The debut album Reflector entered the chart at number one and went double platinum in Australia.
Sia - Breathe Me
Sia Furler is an Australian, singer, songwriter and music video director. She was born in Adelaide in 1975 and started her career as a singer in an acid jazz band in the mid-1990s in Adelaide.
Sia has had a remarkably interesting career, starting in the indie world before becoming a huge pop star with songs like "Chandelier" and "Cheap Thrills." However, throughout her time as a musician, she's always made an effort to only reveal as much as necessary, remaining private and often obscuring her face completely.
In 2010, she had some success co-writing Christina Aguilera's "You Lost Me," and the following year she authored David Guetta's hit "Titanium." Her breakout came in 2014 with the release of her album 1000 Forms Of Fear, featuring "Chandelier."
As a song writer, Sia usually gets 50 percent of the publishing profits for any song she writes, a deal known in the industry as an “urban split.” A producer once asked why she deserved that kind of a deal, earning more than a song producer would. He commented it takes her 20 minutes to write and sing a song, but a producer usually then spends two or three weeks producing it. Sia said, “Yeah, but it took me 15 years to take only 20 minutes.”
Sia actually wrote “Diamonds,” Rihanna’s Number One hit, in 14 minutes. She was given a temporary instrumental track and started chanting along — singing nonsense words — and out of her mouth came the phrase “Like diamonds in the sky… ”. “It doesn’t feel like I’m doing it,” Sia says. “It feels like it’s happening to me. It’s really weird!” she says.
Alongside “Titanium” and “Chandelier”, Sia’s biggest hits include, “Cheap Thrills”, “Elastic Heart”, “The Greatest”.
Angus and Julia Stone - Big Jet Plane
Angus & Julia Stone are a sibling singing/songwriting duo whose music spans intimate folk and dreamy indie pop. Growing up on the northern beaches of Sydney, the Stone siblings were schooled in pop music at an early age by their father, who played in a local cover band. In 2005, Julia Stone began teaching trumpet lessons while her brother Angus worked as a laborer. She convinced him to test his musical talents by performing locally, and he responded by bringing her on-stage with him as a backing musician. At first, the two played separately billed shows, but each would support the other on-stage to the point where it made sense to share billing credits.
The duo released an EP of early material, “Chocolates & Cigarettes”, before moving to London in 2006, where they met other musicians who mentored and helped them developed their sound further.
In 2010, the group returned with “Down the Way”, which introduced a bigger, bolder sound. A breakthrough success for the duo, the album debuted at number one in Australia, and eventually earned them five ARIA music awards including Album of the Year.
Angus & Julia Stone have released four studio albums: A Book Like This (2007), Down the Way (2010), Angus & Julia Stone (2014), and Snow (2017).
Gotye - Somebody That I Used to Know
Gotye, born as Wouter De Backer, is a Belgian-born Australian singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He has released one remix album and three studio albums to date, the most famous one being ‘Making Mirrors,’ which featured the super hit single “Somebody That I Used to Know.” Gotye is also a founding member of The Basics, a Melbourne-based indie-pop trio who have released four studio albums and a number of independent tracks since 2002.
Born in Belgium, Gotye immigrated to Australia with his family when he was a toddler. He studied at University of Melbourne and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree. The talented musician began to display his passion for music in his youth and started learning the drums and piano. Soon he started to experiment with electronic music as well.
Since taking on his stage name and releasing his first EP in 2001, Gotye has witnessed meteoric success. To date, he has garnered numerous awards and accolades, including three Grammys and several ARIA Awards. A very private person, the artist prefers to stay out of the unnecessary media glare.
Lorde - Green Light (Almost Australian)
Lorde is a singer, songwriter, and record producer from New Zealand best known for her studio album ‘Melodrama.’ She showed interest in music from a tender age and began her career quite early on. In her early teens, she was signed to Universal Music Group and later went on to work with record producer and songwriter Joel Little.
At the age of 16, Lorde released her first EP titled ‘The Love Club EP’. "Royals," which was released as her debut single, became an international success, appearing in many charts across the globe. It made Lorde the youngest solo performer to achieve a #1 single on US Billboard Hot 100 since 1987.
She is a highly talented and versatile singer who is open to experimenting with different genres of music. Lorde's music also features subgenres, such as indietronica and dream pop, besides art pop. Talking about her awards and honors, she has received ten New Zealand Music Awards, two Brit Awards and two Grammy Awards to date. In 2013, the New Zealander was placed in Time's list of ‘Most Influential Teenagers in the World’.
A lifelong fascination with royalty and aristocracy inspired her stage name, although she appended an e to the end, as she felt that “Lord” was too masculine. Lorde was born as Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor on 7 November 1996 in Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand to Sonja Yelich and Vic O'Connor. Her mother is a poet while her father is a civil engineer.
Tash Sultana - Jungle
Tash Sultana (born 15 June 1995) is an Australian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, described as a "one-person band".
Sultana is known for her fiery vocals and command of multiple instruments and looping pedals. Playing multi-layered compositions informed by vintage hard rock and alternative rock with powerful and expressive vocals, she first found the spotlight in 2016 via the Internet with live videos of her one-woman-band performances. Sultana's viral success led to international recognition and the release of her first full-length album in 2018.
Sultana got her first guitar as a preschooler and went on to learn brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments, among others, always eager to learn more. She was busking on the streets of Melbourne by her mid-teens. Open about her battles with addiction at that time, she suffered a drug-induced psychosis at the age of 17. After recovering with the aid of professional help, Sultana started a Bandcamp page and began making videos of her performances and uploading them to YouTube.