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Since they broke through into the Australian music scene more than a decade ago, Tash Sultana has been nothing less than a musical force.
The gender-fluid multi-instrumentalist, producer, singer-songwriter, engineer and entrepreneur has carved out every step in their musical journey over the last 15 years, which has taken them from performing open night mics all over the country, busking the streets of Melbourne to releasing platinum records, accumulating billions of streams, nominations across the globe, to winning awards and selling hundreds of thousands of concert tickets worldwide.
It’s a journey that started humbly. At age 3, Tash was gifted a guitar from their grandfather, a moment which was the catalyst for a lifelong dedication to music and creativity. They practiced and jammed in their bedroom relentlessly, and by the age of 13 Tash was playing open mic nights nearly every night of the week across their home state of Victoria.
Their passion for guitar soon transferred to other instruments, and Tash began to experiment with synths, keyboards, piano, drums, percussion, bass, trumpet, saxophone, flute, mandolin,oud, harmonica, beat boxing, sampling and much more. Tash creates, composes, writes, engineers and produces everything that is heard live, and on record. Tash is the band. Their now-famous busking sessions on Melbourne’s Bourke Street catapulted them into the eyes and ears of music fans everywhere, and a viral video of their early song ‘Jungle’ brought them international attention. Since then, it’s been nothing but a meteoric rise.
Their debut album Flow State landed in 2018 and quickly became Gold certified, and spawned Platinum and Gold records with singles ‘Mystik’ and ‘Murder to the Mind’. Flow State would go on to win an ARIA Award for Best Blues & Roots Album, as well as international awards cementing Tash’s status as one of Australia’s biggest musical talents.
In 2019 alone, Tash sold more than 500,000 concert tickets globally, and over the years they’ve notched up major international appearances at festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, and Montreal Jazz Festival. They sold out the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre in just 5 minutes. Committed to delivering the highest quality of live performance, Tash custom-designed a guitar loop pedal which took them and their crew over two years to build.
Acclaimed second record Terra Firma landed in 2021, and garnered widespread praise for Tash’s raw and reflective songwriting and ambitious musical arrangements. Like everything before it, the entirety of the record was carved by Tash – every instrument that was played, every bit of musical arrangement, every bit of production. But for the first time, Terra Firma saw Tash bring in a couple of close friends and collaborations to co-write – including Matt Corby, Dann Hume, Jerome Farah, and Josh Cashman.
Terra Firma reached #1 on the charts, and secured multiple nominations and a take home win for Rolling Stone Australia’s Best Single for ‘Pretty Lady’.
An MTV Unplugged (Live in Melbourne) album landed in 2022. A stunning display of Tash’s consummate talents, it gave audiences an intimate glimpse at an artist that has grown immeasurably since their began their musical journey. Not only that, Tash mixed the record entirely by themself at their own studio, Lonely Lands Studio.
Their extensive catalog has nearly broken the internet, having raked in billions of streams and counting.
In recent years, Tash’s skill has expanded far beyond the studio. In 2019, Tash launched Lonely Lands Agency with Lemon Tree Music’s Regan Lethbridge and UNIFIED’s Jaddan Comerford. In the space of a few years, the boutique booking agency has grown into one of the biggest and most reputable in the country.
In addition, Tash is also the driver of Lonely Lands Records, their label through which they put out all of their music. It’s this natural instinct for the music business and attention to detail that have made them a formidable presence in the Australian industry over the last few years. As Tash says, over the years they’ve developed an incredible team around them to make their vision a reality.
“I am completely in control of everything, literally everything,” they say. “But when you’ve got the team around you, you develop a clockwork system where you learn from each other… None of this is possible without a team around me. We have a tight, tight team.”
They’ve also begun to lend their sharp production skills to other artists, including the Pierce Brothers, Milky Chance, Jerome Farah, and Josh Cashman, and some anonymous names that are yet to be disclosed. Having honed their production cred over their entire career, it’s a space Tash feels completely comfortable in. “I know that I’ve got stuff to bring to the table,” Tash says. “The way that I see working with other people is you are all sitting at the table, and you are sharing a little bit of your recipe with each other.”
“I’m not competing with anybody and I’m not comparing myself with anybody,” says a reflective Tash about stepping out more as a producer. “I am just where I am at, and I’m going forward with eagerness to feed my craft. And you only do that by learning.”
Tash is a world away from the artist they were when they were 18. Of course, many of the traits that defined them then are still present: the drive, the curiosity, the endless search for new musical knowledge and desire to share that knowledge with others. But in lots of ways they have changed. Their life now is focused, disciplined, with Tash valuing calm and connectedness. The coming years will see them step out more as an entrepreneur and businessperson, expanding what is becoming a small music industry empire. Tash, as always, is on their own journey.
As Tash puts it simply: “I am happy.”