Meteoric, warp-speed, stratospheric. Tash Sultana has enjoyed the type of year that’s so easily hyped in the lexicon of a Cosmologist. Back on earth, Sultana and her team can call it what it is: “global.”
The Melbourne artist’s feet have hardly touched the ground in 2017. That won’t change anytime soon. She’s just been announced to the bill alongside Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Killers and others for Lollapalooza South America (Brazil, Chile and Argentina), a slot that serves as a springboard into the Latin American markets. And she’s landed a coveted late-night appearance on Seth Meyers in New York, which should air Down Under later today. It’s an easy get-to for the self-taught loopologist, singer and beat boxer, who will be working her way through sold out venues across the country.
In a matter of months, the 22-year-old artist has taken her rare talents from the bedroom to theatres, festival stages and arenas. Earlier this year she signed with NYC.-based indie label Mom + Pop, ahead of the release there of “Notion EP” and the first of a string of north American tours, each bigger than the last. All of them sell-outs, months in advance, according to her reps. In May, she topped out Billboard’s Next Big Sound chart, which pulls data from across the major social music sites to statistically predict future success.
“Since day one it’s been a global focus & that’s how we positioned Tash,” explains Regan Lethbridge, director and co-founder (with Dave Morgan) of Lemon Tree Music, Sultana’s management company. “It took nine months to set up her team and do deals in respective markets. Big theatre shows have sold out in the U.K., Germany, France, Netherlands and New Zealand months in advance all on word of mouth and next to no promo. I still don’t think we have printed a poster. The exciting thing is it still feels like it’s just beginning. Everyone is incredibly proud of Tash, she’s handling it all so well. It’s still the same Tash from three years ago when we sat down to write a few goals. It’s gone from a sold out 150 capacity Shebeen to a sold out Margaret Court Arena in two-and-a-half years. It’s just madness.”
Starting out as a busker who turned her back on a toxic past, Sultana built a profile online and through the old fashioned way of blowing concert-goers’ minds. Word spread overseas thanks to her viral, bedroom recording of “Jungle” posted to Facebook, which now has 11 million views, and helped vault the song to No. 3 on the Triple J Hottest 100 poll in January. “Notion” came in at No. 32 on the countdown, and the EP is at 70 million streams on Spotify. “Jungle” has also swung past platinum status in Australia and is featured on the new FIFA 18 soundtrack.
“She’s broken through in over a dozen countries or something silly like that,” notes Lethbridge, whose company co-manages Sultana for the Americas with UNFD founder and CEO Jaddan Comerford. “It’s been so cool to see her music resonate on a global level so quickly. It’s a testament to her great songs, a unique live show, an insane work ethic and a global team firing.”
Sultana’s latest north America run (her second this year) kicked off last Thursday in Toronto. The Europe leg stops in at iconic U.K. and Germany venues and is 100% sold out months in advance, says Lethbridge.
Aussie audiences can get another hit when Sultana returns for a homecoming tour later this year which includes sold out dates at Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena and Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion.
Expect her to play works off her debut album, for which recordings have begun, TIO can confirm. Tash has been writing some “incredible songs” and is finishing tracking her debut record this summer with the aim of a mid-2018 release, explains Lethbridge. The wait for new music won’t be an agonising one. Triple J will premiere the new track “Mystik” on Wednesday 8am AEST. Few will be surprised if her breakthrough is rewarded at the ARIAs (though she “doesn’t really do awards nights”).
Sultana’s touring itinerary for 2018 has just one date locked in, for Byron Bay Bluesfest in April. But her calendar will load up shortly with international dates, focused heavily on U.K., Europe and America. “Less is more as best we being as strategically smart as possible while managing hectic demand and burn out,” explains Lethbridge.
Sultana roots are at home but she may just have outgrown Australia. This is a global story.