19-year-old singer-songwriter Budjerah has just released his debut self-titled EP, and it delivers on the promise of singles Missing You and Higher. Produced by Matt Corby, it brings together elements of R&B, pop and gospel music, as well as a bit of soul added to the mix. It's a four-track EP, and it cements Budjerah's status as one of the rising stars of Australian music.
Hailing from Fingal Head in New South Wales, his music is heavily influenced by his upbringing. Speaking in a recent interview, Budjerah told NME about growing up in a church, and how that's influenced his music. He says, “I grew up in church, my dad is an assistant pastor, both my parents are licensed pastors.
"When I was born… it was like ‘oh, we gotta do band rehearsal, we gotta do worship practice for Sunday’ and I’d come along to that. I think just being surrounded by that, I learned a lot and it just stuck. I’ve just lived music all my life.”
Matt Corby's influence on the EP can be heard in Budjerah's vocals, with his vocal range one of the standout elements of the EP. To celebrate the EP's release, we're taking you through each track, and what makes them so great.
EP opener Missing You captures the feeling of no longer having a group of friends around you to rely on. Budjerah wrote Missing You with Matt after finishing high school, and on the song, he's lamenting the fact that he's "wishing to be with everyone". Budjerah flexes his vocal range on the track, and you'll feel like you're floating on the evening breeze when listening to this.
The track was his debut single, and it's a great way to open the EP. It brings together the elements of R&B, soul and gospel music that he's trying to capture, as well as displaying a refreshing honesty in his songwriting. The message of Missing You is one that everyone can relate to. Sometimes, we just really want to be around people.
Budjerah's spiritual upbringing really shines on Higher, with the track having a hymnic quality. Driven along by the strumming of an acoustic guitar, Higher captures the energy of life being at its best. Speaking about the track, Budjerah says, “Higher is an ode to fun, it’s a celebration of happiness when life is stress and worry-free.”
You'll feel yourself grooving out to Higher, and it embodies that total-body relaxation that comes with being stress-free. Towards the end of the song, the backing vocals really let loose, and your ear will immediately be drawn to them. Get your body moving and stand up when you're listening to this. You'll want to dance.
Taking the mood down a notch, Shoulda Coulda is more of a slow-burning track about a day gone wrong. He'd "rather just let the rain fall", and he's feeling like nothing's really going his way. Budjerah is sounding soulful throughout Shoulda Coulda, and you'll want to lend him a shoulder to lean on.
If you're having a bad day, this song might just remind you that you're not alone. He sings about how his "heart just ain't big enough to accommodate the sadness", and it hurts. When Budjerah wants to land a lyrical punch, it hits, and this is heading straight for the guts.
Budjerah sometimes finds himself in the wrong place, but at the right time, and he's fine with that. Pyro is a low-key end to his debut EP, but that works. He's already proven that he's got all the tools in his arsenal. The warbling, melancholy guitar chords and the slow, pulsating drums meld with Budjerah's vocals on this track, and he's flexing his range.
The song is about an unnamed person that's "lighting up [his] mind" like a flame, and it's a sweet tribute to end off the four-track EP. This self-titled EP from Budjerah has proven everything that people knew from his first single - he's one to watch. Matt Corby and Budjerah have formed a formidable partnership, and it's a delight to hear Budjerah really go for it with his vocal performances across the EP.
Speaking to NME, he says that he's got a simple goal for his first upcoming national headline tour, as well as his music in general. “My goal is to be recognised as a really great singer. Hopefully that’s what people take away and they connect to my music and get to know who I am. That’s what I hope.” Listening to this EP, there's no doubt that the sky's the limit for Budjerah.