Tash Sultana: The long road to overnight success

From busking on the streets of Melbourne to a sold-out international tour, Tash Sultana’s homegrown success is a powerhouse built on nothing but pure talent and a love for what she does; holding a crowd at the very tips of her insanely talented guitar playing fingers.

The musical range of this singer/songwriter and storyteller knows no bounds. Her performance, a mix of carefully layered multi-instrumental pieces featuring beat boxing, percussion styled finger tapping and guitar work described as ‘the best thing since Jimi Hendrix’, has sparked a revival of transcending music genre as we know it. Now, after a long string of acclaim around the country, Sultana is expanding her horizons across international borders. “It consistently blows my mind how different countries react to what I’m doing,” the 21-year-old says, with the thought of her upcoming U.S. tour on her mind.
“We get word that it’s going really well in another country and I’m just like, ‘Okay, let’s put on a few shows over there.’ Then those shows sell out, and we have to put on even more shows and it’s just like ‘When did this happen?’ ”
It was love at first sight for millions of fans that were introduced to Sultana. Her homemade videos, filmed from the gritty setting of her bedroom, beckon the raw and soulful sounds of songs like Jungle and Gemini, which now belong to her highly received six track EP, Notion. With online plays now hitting the millions, the musician is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.
With a season of summer festivals in Australia on the horizon, Sultana is preparing to further flex her multi-instrumental skills on the stages of Strawberry Fields, A Day On The Green, Festival Of The Sun, Southbound, Woodford Folk Festival, NYE on the Hill, Laneway, Port Fairy Folk Festival and more. “I’ve played so many festivals lately, I can’t even think,” she says. “But I love playing festivals and at [bush] doofs, they’re an awesome experience.
“Something is always popping up. All the artists on festival lineups are pretty nice too, and we all merge by the end of it, so overall it’s a really good time.”
Performing alongside the likes of Californian artist Anderson Paak at Listen Out festival this year, the genre defying musician is further breaking the boundaries of her sound by joining in on the hip hop artist’s upcoming album. “I jumped on Anderson Paak’s new album that’s coming up, and I’ve done a track with him on that,” she says.
Among a jam packed schedule of gigs and festival appearances, it’s the sheer number of crowd members waiting eagerly for the artist’s uniquely crafted performance at festivals like Listen Out, that stand out to Sultana among the rest. “I really, really loved playing Brisbane’s Listen Out this year. That was dope,” she says.
But 2017 brings a new era of adventure for the overnight sensation. From the intimate venues and buzzing festival stages of the country’s capital cities, Sultana is taking her loop pedal melodies and reggae-soul sound to the U.S. in mid-February. “I’ve got absolutely no idea what to expect,” she says. “We are flying out of the country because it’s a completely different vibe. It’s impressive to see where people have found you. It’s across the ocean in another country and people are getting the buzz, so that’s cool to see.”
Having only been to the U.S. beforehand for a holiday, the artist is stepping out of her comfort zone to impress her overseas fans with the same passionate and hypnotic performance that captivates her audiences back home. “I haven’t been to any of these cities before except Los Angeles,” she says. “The tour is almost sold out as well, and that is so exciting for me.”
But the enormous and seemingly exhausting series of shows doesn’t end there for Sultana, with an exciting performance in Amsterdam in mid-2017, and allusive plans for some exciting festival appearances towards the end of next year. “I’ve been confirmed for a massive festival in South Africa and I’m so keen for that, but I can’t disclose too much information on that one,” she says.
Until then, Sultana will continue to celebrate the explosion of success that has come from her humble beginning. Currently on the road playing gigs across regional parts of the country, she will soon be giving fans from all over the globe a chance to be mesmerised by her spellbinding stage presence and hauntingly beautiful vocals, that without a doubt make this Australian artist memorable.
By Julia Sansone

Tash Sultana will play Strawberry Fields, taking place in Tocumwal, NSW from Thursday November 17 until Sunday November 20.