Budjerah’s new single ‘Therapy’ is taking his music to the next level. The ARIA award-winning, Coodjinburra artist is pushing boundaries vocally and sonically with the R&B/pop crossover, an ambitious emotional sucker-punch. Co-written by Sarah Aarons and Stint, ‘Therapy’ showcases Budjerah’s fearless vocal range and marks a new direction for his career.
The sound is fresh and familiar, a reflection of his ambition and timeless artistry. 2023 brings exciting opportunities for Budjerah, from exploring new sounds to performing in his biggest venues to date as support on Ed Sheeran’s Australian stadium tour. He starts the year with confidence, ready to showcase the full extent of his abilities. ‘Therapy’ sets the tone for a huge year.
“It just uses every part of my vocal,” Budjerah says.
“I get to belt and I get to do little runs and long notes. It’s such a vocally wide song and I connect to the emotion of it too.”
Budjerah instantly fell in love with Aarons and Stint’s “magic” demo, connecting to the emotional lyrics. His voice winds around a raw guitar before escalating into an explosive chorus that electrifies with stabbing horns and gutsy percussion.
“Maybe you’ve lost your mind, you’ve lost your sanity,” Budjerah sings in full voice. In the video, he matches that vocal with an equally impassioned performance, showcasing his ability to connect instantly with audiences. He also acts in the video, giving a raw snapshot into a turbulent relationship.
Budjerah says that this fresh sense of confidence comes from performing live and craving “punchy music,” as he puts it. Armed with a brand-new band featuring family he’s grown up jamming with, he completed his first headline tour last year and impressed at a wide array of festivals including Splendour In The Grass and This That. He also supported Vance Joy on his Australian, North American, and UK tours, introducing him to a whole new audience.
He continues to build his live show this year, first as Sheeran’s support act. It’s the second chapter in a story with Sheeran that started last year with his appearance on the British megastar’s track ‘2Step’ which has seen close to 10 million streams. With these new shows, Budjerah wants to leave people blown away by his abilities.
“I consider myself a gospel singer first and foremost,” he says.
“I want people to think ‘wow, what a great singer’. I want people to really know how hard I’ve been working at this.”
Budjerah presents with a sense of ambition not found often in young homegrown artists. It’s a juxtaposition to his cool and collected demeanour but it’s a refreshing balance. Inspired by the likes of Usher and Beyoncé, he wants to get to a place where he can put on arena shows with all the trimmings, from huge vocal displays to tight choreography.
“I try to bridge between being myself on stage but also getting into this character,” he says, explaining how he overcomes his timidity.
Since his debut single ‘Missing You’ just over two years ago, he’s transformed as an artist. Throughout, he’s been guided by Matt Corby who took him under his wing after being blown away by his abilities. Matt Corby has produced the majority of tracks by Budjerah and watched him go from a shy teenager to a celebrated artist in his own right.
He now has two EPs to his name, 2021’s debut self-titled release, and 2022’s ‘Conversations’. He’s collaborated with everyone from PNAU on ‘Stranger Love’ to MAY-A on ‘Talk’, finding success with the latter on the luscious, soulful track which proved to be a triumph for both artists. Over the course of his short but plentiful career, he’s grown with each release. He’s always presented as a voice far beyond his years but in 2022 he found a sense of self-assurance that spilled over into his lyrics.
On the timeless, soul-tinged ‘Ready For The Sky’, he sings, “You won’t ever clip these wings, not gonna walk over me,” signalling his quiet ambition that continues to come to fruition.
The accomplishments have been fast and plentiful in the last two years. He’s now a two-time ARIA Award-winning artist after taking home Breakthrough artist in 2021 and Best Soul/R&B Release in 2022. He also triumphed with an APRA Award for Most Performed R&B / Soul Work for the Corby co-written ‘Higher’. He was recently nominated for “Best Single” and “Best New Artist” at the 2023 Rolling Stone Australia Awards, and “Aussie / Kiwi Legend Of The Year” at the 2023 Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards.
Last year, he was also named GQ’s Breakthrough Artist of the Year while also featuring in Vogue Australia as part of Baz Luhrmann’s guest edition. He also took to the stage as part of the AFL Grand Final with The Temper Trap, Gretta Ray, and Ngaiire. At the tail-end of last year, he was featured in Amazon Music’s global ‘Holiday Originals’ campaign covering Whitney Houston’s ‘Who Would Imagine A King’.
2023 is set to be a landmark year for Budjerah, as he’s ready to seize every opportunity and showcase his full range of abilities. ‘Therapy’ and the new music to come will exceed expectations and cement his status as one of the most versatile performers in the country. If you’re already a fan, get ready to be blown away.