Australia has, and continues to produce some of the world’s greatest musicians. Rock bands, boy bands, vocalists, pop stars, electronic artists and even shed-rockers are some of Australia’s greatest exports with the likes of AC/DC, Kylie Minogue, INXS and Paul Kelly all making waves across the world.
In the last 21 years, Australia has gone on to birth plenty of chart-topping, award-winning artists and musicians, some of which are still bursting onto the international music scene.
With that in mind, we’ve come up with a list of the 10 greatest Australian artists and bands that formed this century.
1. Tame Impala
The psychedelic music project with hits like “Let it Happen” and “The Less I Know the Better” tops our list of Australia’s greatest artists. Their unique sound and technologically driven records helped made them VICE’s Artist of the Decade. With 13 Australian Recording Industry Association Music Awards (ARIA) wins and 29 nominations, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an Australian act that has made more of a difference to modern synth/psychedelic pop.
Sia has written songs for the likes of Rihanna, Celine Dion, Katy Perry, Alicia Keys, Adele and Beyonce – which, in itself, would be enough to get her on this list. However, as a singer in her own right, Sia has been in the spotlight with international successes like “Chandelier”, “Elastic Heart” and “Cheap Thrills”.
Often dubbed one of the great experimenters of our lifetime, Flume is perhaps the greatest Australian electronica/future-bass export of our lifetime. Flume shot to international recognition with his first self titled studio album Flume. Today the double-platinum accredited DJ has countless Australian and international music awards and nominations including twelve ARIA wins, a Grammy and a Billboard music award nomination.
4. Guy Sebastian
Few Aussie musicians are known around Australia as much as Guy Sebastian. Australian Idol’s inaugural winner in 2003 has gone on to judge The X Factor and The Voice with the best sports betting websites in Australia currently picking him to be this year’s winning judge. In 2012, Sebastian’s song “Battle Scars” went 11x platinum and to date, he has sixty-five platinum certifications and is a Member of the Order of Australia.
5. Amy Shark
One of the hottest Australian artists right now, Amy Shark’s 2016 song “Adore” peaked at number three on the ARIA Singles Chart as well as making the second spot on the Triple J hottest 100. Despite only rising to international prominence in 2016, the pop artist has eight ARIAs and twenty-two nominations.
6. Empire of the Sun
You may not be familiar with Empire of the Sun’s entire discography but their debut album, and hit single with the same name – Walking on a Dream – shot the psychedelic electronic-pop duo to international fame peaking at number ten on the ARIA Singles Chart and sixty-four on the UK Singles Chart. The band, known for their flamboyant and elaborate live performances has eight ARIA’s and nineteen nominations, eleven of which were for Walking on A Dream which also won Album of the Year.
Despite breaking up in 2012 (and then re-forming again in 2016), Jet is one of Australia’s biggest and best rock bands of the last 20 years. Jet’s 2003 Album Get Born is perhaps their most well-known project with “Are you Gonna Be My Girl” their biggest track. The song reached 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Get Born went 8x platinum in Australia as well as scooping up four ARIAs.
Often thought of as the ultimate Aussie one-hit-wonder, Gotye’s discography goes far beyond the success of his 2011 song “Somebody That I Used To Know”. While this track was without a doubt the pop artist’s biggest success, amassing three Grammys, two ARIAs and countless other awards, Gotye has gone on to found the indie-pop Trio The Basics and received awards and nominations for his concerts and other albums.
9. Courtney Barnett
Courtney Barnett is one of the more unique artists on our list. The indie/alt-rock performer has received a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist and a Brit Award nomination for International Female Solo Artist. Well-known for her inexpressive singing style and rambling lyrics, personified in her hit song “Avant Gardener”, Barnett has six ARIA wins and twenty nominations.
10. Matt Corby
Matt Corby is the least decorated of all the artists on our list, with only three ARIAs and twelve nominations, as well as a variety of smaller prizes and accolades. Matt Corby began his career with Australian Idol, where he finished runner-up, although he regrets the experience for what it did to his image. It wasn’t until his fourth EP, Into the Flame, that Matt Corby broke into national recognition, the album went 6x platinum. His singles “Brother” and “Resolution” both won ARIAs for Song of the Year.