Mullum Music Festival | Friday | CIVIC HALL | 6.30pm
I was driving with my 19-year-old daughter the other day, and as usual she had control of the music. Kids ALWAYS control the music. While it can at times subject you to unwanted hours of Kanye or Lil Kim, if you’re lucky your kids will develop a musical taste that will expose you to new and amazing music that you may have overlooked. So on this particular day there’s this incredible voice – absolutely pure soul – there’s a well-executed mix with jazz and neo-soul. I say to my daughter, ‘I love this’. She says, ‘It’s my new favourite artist, Kaiit – she’s from Melbourne’.
It rings a bell. I remember she’s playing Mullum Music Festival this year. I can’t wait to tell my daughter that I’m interviewing her. She’s properly impressed.
It’s clear Kaiit’s star is on the rise. And rise. And rise. At just 21 it’s clear that this Papua New Guinea-born girl with the clearest vocal I’ve heard in years is going somewhere, fast.
Kaiit makes very personal R&B from the comfort of her bedroom. She loves making music; she says, ‘I do what feels right for me. I feel that if I try to please people then the music loses something.’
Live from Her Room has a solid sense of itself. Kaiit mixes honeyed vocals with fierce rhymes and bold eclectic style; it’s no surprise she’s been named Red Bull Music’s Best Rapper under 25!
Her song Girl in the Picture tells the story of friendship. ‘It’s about one of my closest home girls ever,’ says Kaiit. ‘She always has my back and is always looking out for me. If I am not doing something right she pulls me up.’ Kaiit is all about surrounding herself with powerful supportive women – she credits her artist mother with being her creative inspiration and foundation.
‘She is the absolute best,’ says Kaiit. ‘I just know she is. She is so welcoming and loving and understanding and caring. I thought everyone’s mums were like that so when I experience or see how other parents can be I am so thankful for Mum. I learnt so much from her.’
Kaiit is born into a musical and storytelling lineage; her father is Papua New Guinean and her mother is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. But her place is very much Melbourne. It’s the place where a girl made the move from making music in her bedroom to playing stages around the country.
‘The music scene in Melbourne has helped me find my own blackness and identity in ways I can’t even fathom. All the stuff with Jill Scott happening really makes you reflect on those monumental moments. Shout out to her, she’s absolutely amazing and she saw so much in me and pushed me to get out there. But I feel like there’re two parts of Live from Her Room, you know, stepping out of my room and going out to perform live. That’s where I got to meet people and they got to listen to me. People knowing my words even before I’ve released… it is super crazy. Melbourne is definitely my home.’
And Kaiit’s greatest musical influences? Amy Winehouse. It’s her go-to music time and time again.
‘I think she was such a hopeless romantic,’ says Kaiit. ‘Her music was so real and she was just hurting – her music really captures me. I may be boring and listen to the same music but every time I hear it I want to hear it again.’
Funny, that’s exactly what I was going to say about Kaiit’s music!
Don’t miss this incredible young woman at Mullum Music Festival. She’s definitely an artist to watch in the coming years. And how cool is it to see her now before she’s a megastar!
One show only at Mullum Music Festival – FRIDAY at The CIVIC HALL at 6.30pm. For tickets to this amazing little festival go to mullummusicfestival.com.