When it comes to the unseen craft of building an intricate, multilayered pop song from the ground up, Australia’s Jack River knows her business. And if writing, performing and producing her debut album Sugar Mountain isn’t enough proof of what female artists are doing right now, she’s giving other women a platform to shine in Electric Lady, her all-female music festival. This is pop with power, and it’s here to stay.
If Australia’s Jack River (real name Holly Rankin) hadn’t been, shall we say, a little flexible with the law as a teenager, it’s possible her music career may never have taken off. “When I was around sixteen, I went to Bluesfest” – the iconic Byron Bay music festival – “without a ticket and I lost my friend so I jumped the fence,” she says sheepishly before breaking out into laughter. “Sorry, Bluesfest!” That fence jump led to a random series of events that culminated in Rankin meeting Julia Stone, one half of duo Angus & Julia Stone, and more importantly the duo’s producer Govinda Doyle, which eventually led to the recording of Rankin’s first EP. “That one little meeting really kind of kicked me into a recording career,” she says.
Now, almost ten years later, Sydney-based Rankin is emerging as not just one of Australia’s best performers, but also one of the most important female leaders in the Australian music industry. As singer, songwriter, producer, instrumentalist, feminist and creator of the all-female music festival Electric Lady, Rankin has a voice – in all its forms – that we should all be paying serious attention to.