I’m so completely stoked to be included on ABC RN’s presenter picks for Ausmusic Month, sandwiched between Archie Roach and L-FRESH the Lion – yikes! Check out the full article here; some parts are included below.
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From underrated local gems to inspiring live performances, the RN Music team delves through the past twelve months and beyond to pick out some of their favourite Australian music moments to celebrate Ausmusic Month…
The Rhythm Divine’s Geoff Wood on two of his favourite young local musicians
When I first heard Shameem Taheri-Lee’ story, it sounded like a film script.
Struggling musician posts demos online and gets interest from a Grammy-winning producer, who invites her to the UK to co-write her new single.
But that’s how it was for the young Perth-based musician.
The result of those recording sessions with James Bryan (Nelly Furtado, Olly Murs), can be found on Shameem’s new album of neo-soul, The Second City.
Her second full collection of songs, the album is a top-class production, mixing soulful grooves, jazz and Persian chant all topped by the young singer-songwriter’s powerhouse vocals.
There’s also inspiration from Alicia Keys, Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald and the teachings and poetry of the Baha’i faith.
Shameem is part of a new wave of young Baha’i musicians making their mark on the international music scene.
One of the reasons for this is the fact that Baha’is celebrate musical settings of their sacred writings.
As Shameem herself explained to me, ‘The Baha’i attitude towards music is that music helps to uplift the human soul, that it is food for soul.’
One of the world’s major religions, Baha’is have been in Australia since 1920.
Shameem’s fusion of neo-soul, jazz and Baha’i teachings is unique and points the way to a new definition of what it means to be an Australian musician in the 21st century.
Another local musician breaking down boundaries is hip-hop artist L-FRESH the Lion.
Raised in south-western Sydney and now living in Melbourne, L-FRESH the Lion is a young Sikh MC, proud of his faith and his Punjabi heritage, both of which take centre stage on his debut album, One.
Brought up on a diet of Sikh devotional songs and Punjabi music, L-FRESH started writing music at the age of 14 while still in high school.
It was there he discovered hip-hop’s power to change the world, from Eminem and Tupac Shakur to KRS-One and Public Enemy.
Even then he understood that the essence of hip-hop was to recreate, redefine and reshape tradition.
For a debut album, One is an incredibly bold attempt at bringing theological reflections into the language of hip-hop and down to the street. And he succeeds!
While contributors like KRS-One, Jeet Hakam and MK-1 keep the songs grounded, there is an obvious spiritual depth to every track.
A spirituality based in Sikh principles, but not restricted to any one faith.
The ABC celebrates Ausmusic Month in November with a rich array of content featuring Australian musicians, composers and performers.