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Julia Jacklin: The Aussie Music Scene And It's Masculine Presence

Through the perspective of Australian indie folk singer Julia Jacklin, Jasmine Oke discusses what it is like as a female musician in the Australian music industry

The end of March is drawing near, and yet the Autumn air is thick and pulsing with heat. Julia enters the dark, foreign theatre via the side entrance beside the stage. Her head is lowered as she watches her feet with caution; one foot after the other. Left. Right. Left. Right. They fall softly and with purpose as her black skirt tickles the bare skin of her lower shin - long enough to cover up, but short enough to not jeopardise her steadiness.

She spends most of the performance with her eyes softly shut - but not squeezed tight as they were earlier in her career – she’s gotten much more confident since then. She traces the silhouette of happy memories on the back of her eyelids, and they flutter at the best parts. When at last her eyes must open – lest she falls into a deep slumber – she gazes to the deep back corner of the ceiling, where perhaps arachnids and termites alike have made safe and nurturing homes over the years. With her hair pinned back, she doesn’t have the option to use them as curtains to further close her off from the audience. Instead, she can feel the wet air mingling on her skin – the salt from her earlier walk along Avoca’s shoreline. It’s a nice break from the bustling cities, but it still doesn’t quite feel like home, with its towering mountains and calming waterfalls.

The young girls and women of the au - dience look up at her in awe, as she smiles back at them encouragingly - she hopes it’s enough. The facade cracks as she makes her first mistake of the night. They don’t condemn her; they don’t give her disapproving looks or act as though she’s done something wrong. Instead, they laugh with her.

“You can do it, Jules!” a comforting voice shouts out to her from the direction of the crowd.

That sweeping swell of human connection rushes through her in a current akin to that of the Katoomba Falls. She now opens to them completely, inviting anyone interested to join her backstage after the show – there’s not much back there other than some blueberries that she was willing to share. There are a few more mistakes, a few more laughs, and cheers of encouragement – but ultimately, there is a sense of utter respect. The crowd is silent throughout each song before erupting into applause at the end every time. With the melody of her soft voice and the gentle strum of her guitar, Julia creates a safe and calm place for all.

But why is it that Julia is generally more comfortable and popular in an internation al setting? Why is it that so many of us may never have even heard of her? Born and raised in our Blue Mountains, one would think that Julia would feel the most herself on home soil. However, the Australian music scene is largely dominated by masculine voices. When one thinks of Australian music, what do they think of? King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, DZ Deathrays, Dear Seattle – a myriad of male-dominated psychedelic rock bands. We’re lucky to have Spacey Jane, with their one female member (wow!).

It’s no wonder Julia has gravitated towards a more international audience. Bumping shoulders with the likes of Lucy Dacus and Lana Del Rey - the indie pop icons of the United States. Sure, there are the likes of 00’s pop icons Kylie Minogue and Delta Goodrem, but there is a lack of a feminine presence on the Australian music scene in 2022. So, if you too find yourself wondering why you don’t listen to as much Aussie music as you’d like, or simply need something new – our neighbour Julia Jacklin is waiting for you, with her new album ‘Pre-Pleasure’ having been released this August. And if you happen to have the chance to see her on tour early next year, I promise you won’t regret it.


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