Local teenage music stars KIAN and yergurl are in the running to win Triple J's Unearthed High competition after being named finalists on Monday.
Castlemaine hip hop-indie artist KIAN and Bendigo indie-pop musician yergurl received the news on Monday as they arrived at school.
Warrnambool’s Nancie Schipper, Adelaide trio Burnout and South Sydney teen The Kid Laroi are the other three finalists.
Now in it’s 11th year, Unearthed High celebrates young artists’s talents with the annual winner getting studio time, professional music industry advice, radio airtime and t Triple J paying their school a visit.
Macedon Ranges band Stonefield won Unearthed High in 2010 and went on to perform at the world famous Glastonbury festival in 2011.
Unearthed music director Dave Ruby Howe said the quality of artists in this year’s contest was very high.
“Now that we are 11 years deep into Unearthed High’s history it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear the high quality of artists making music while still in school,” he said.
“But here we are again, absolutely floored by this year’s crop of young artists. We’re beyond stoked with just how good the future of Australian music sounds.”
The winner of Triple J Unearthed High will be announced next week.
KIAN’s phone call as he arrived at school
On Monday morning, 16-year-old Kian Brownfield – known as KIAN – was arriving at school when his phone rang.
“I didn’t catch the announcement, so my manager rang and told me. I was over the moon,” he said.
“People at school were saying they heard it on the radio and everyone was getting behind me, which was great.”
After starting to sing at a young age and being surround by music from his parents and grandparents, Castlemaine’s KIAN took up the guitar in year 7.
At age 14, he stepped into the spotlight with a triumphant vocal feature on Baker Boy's Cloud 9, from there he has started working on music for himself.
“I never took it too seriously, I was just always surrounded by music and creative things,” he said.
“When I was younger I was surrounded by Paul Kelly because my grandparents used to play him a lot. I like his songwriting.
“Now I listen to more RnB and hip hop. Artists Miguel and Frank Ocean have a sound I love and connect with. That’s a groove I have been around since I was quite a young kid and it has stuck.
“From featuring on one song, I went on to find a passion for music. It’s something I love to do and I really enjoy being on stage and writing.”
“Every song I write, I have slowly kept maturing, getting better and better.”
His latest Unearthed upload is Waiting. It an indie-influenced tune led by dreamy guitar riffs and catchy percussion.
“Waiting was the first song I ever wrote. I was 14. It just happened to be released later because I was waiting right time,” he said.
“I am going to aim for an album early next year but will see how things are going then.”
KIAN said people are surprised when he tells them he is a musician.
“People are mostly kind of shocked and say I’m very lucky to have the opportunity,” he said. “I agree with that. I am super lucky to do most of the things I've done.
“(Winning Unearthed High) will boost my confidence more than it already has. I get the feeling that people do like my music and that gives me motivation to release more.”
KIAN said it was exciting to see so many young musicians taking the spotlight in central Victoria.
“It’s definitely cool to see Victorian artists stepping up. I like the fact people want to express selves,” he said.
“Music in (central Victoria) is definitely going and more bands and solo artists are coming up to play here.”
Stay tuned for our intereview with Bendigo’s yergurl on Thursday.
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