In just half a decade, Mallrat has come through as one of Australia’s most prominent artists. She’s gone from a quaint Brisbane teen to a confident, ambitious artist that is capable of writing some of the most earnest, vulnerable music in the country. Quickly becoming the queen of the Hottest 100 with multiple entries, it's still just the beginning for Mallrat.
Today, she's unveiled a new track with The Knocks so we're taking a look at exactly how she got here.
In 2015, a 16 year-old Mallrat emerged with Suicide Blonde. It was a narrative-driven pop song that told a story of addiction and depression with a level of depth and poignancy you wouldn’t quite expect from a teen newcomer. It instantly made her a blog favourite and she only continued to expand her sound from her.
Still a relative enigma, Mallrat continued to prove herself on her debut EP Uninvited. The whole project had a candid honesty to it with Mallrat delivering stream-of-consciousness lyrics that are both introspective and warm. For Real was an upbeat anthem for the outsiders while Sunglasses was a woozy, mindbender about cultural uniform.
Baby Spiders (With Allday)
Allday was Mallrat’s first real musical companion. The two have toured together numerous times and written for plenty of projects. They ended up on two tracks together on Allday’s second album, 2017’s Speeding. Baby Spiders is a pulsating, neon-lit cut while the album closer Ultramarine is a denser, harder-hitting tracks that brings the album to a close in an affecting fashion.
Better seemed to signal that Mallrat was hitting her stride. She was starting to appear on numerous festival line-ups in Australia while becoming a hyped name globally. Better showed growth, ditching teenage rap for gentle, vulnerable pop moments that showcased her voice in a glowing light. It’s a song that soaks up the positivity and lives in the moment. It resonated too, nabbing her a Hottest 100 peak at #46 in the 2018 countdown.
That position was smashed by Groceries which soared into the top 10 at #7. An unlikely hit, Groceries is a manifesting love song that imagines her and crush doing mundane things like shopping. As a songwriter, she has this gift of capturing the emotion at the heart of everyday situations. More than 60 million streams later, it seems that plenty connected with what she was saying.
In The Sky EP
Groceries and Better were part of the In The Sky EP which also featured a collaboration with Allday. Produced with Konstantin Kersting (Tones & I, The Jungles Giants) and frequent collaborators Japanese Wallpaper and Golden Vessel, it’s a cohesive, warm project that really carved out her sound as an artist. In case you’re wondering, her favourite song on the project was Make Time.
Video (With Cub Sport)
Both hailing from Brisbane, Mallrat has found a musical kinship with Cub Sport. She’s now appeared on their last two albums but this was the first one on record. Together, they crafted a distorting, psychedelic pop song that’s cut by the clarity of Mallrat’s voice. “That night before I went to sleep my prayer was really long,” she sings in a moment of vulnerability.
Nobody’s Home (With Basenji)
Mallrat and Basenji’s vulnerable, buoyant sounds are tailor-made for each other so it’s surprising it took this long for an official release together. It was worth the weight. Nobody’s Home is one of the most upbeat song she’s ever released but it also taps at the heart the hardest. It captures the warmth and fragility of a crush that’s taking flight and it leaves you feeling all gooey inside.
Mallrat knew she was onto something good with Charlie. Named after her dog, it’s her most autobiographical song yet, detailing family dynamics which is not an easy thing to do succinctly in a love song. As she told The Interns, she had to fight to make Charlie a single and we bet she’s damn glad she did. It’s the one that nearly took out the Hottest 100 of 2019, slipping in at #3 behind Flume and Billie Eilish.
Driving Music EP
Driving Music, released in 2019, is the most cohesive piece of work Mallrat has ever made. It’s her most ambitious release to date. She co-produced on all of the songs and expanded her sound. Drive Me Around, made completely by herself, hovers above the surface before dropping a skittering beat while When I Get My Braces Off takes an experimental detour into the world of emo hip-hop. Nothing hits quite as hard as when Mallrat gives it to us straight and the proof comes when she simply asks, “Do you wanna stay?” on closer Stay. A simple and beautiful statement of simplicity.
Rockstar felt like another step-up for Mallrat. Produced by Tommy English who has worked with Kacey Musgraves and Broods, it’s a sonic extension for her as she moved into a woozy, alternative-rock space. It turned out to be the perfect setting, sitting somewhere in between Clairo and Lana Del Rey. She’s also had some bite to her words too singing pointedly, “Fuck you for playing games with my heart.” Once again, she won the hearts of radio, clocking in at #13 on the Hottest 100 of this year.
Winter (With BENEE)
BENEE and Mallrat both have an inspiring casualness to the way they tell their stories so it’s unsurprising that they sound like kindred spirits on Winter. Taken from BENEE’s debut album Hey u x, it’s an insular ode to the chilliest season and they manage to add a healthy dose of the creeps to it. They both slide through it vocally like a spider up a wall and that’s thrilling.
Are You High (With The Knocks)
The Knocks have worked with everyone from Carly Rae Jepsen to Foster The People and now Mallrat has joined the ranks. Their latest single R U High? is the first time we’ve truly heard Mallrat on a pulsating dance track but, as she so often does, she’s able to keep it intimate. “Do you care? why you keep forgetting I was there when you weren’t expecting,” she sings earnestly before The Knocks take it away with a blistering hook.