ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: CYRUS, Jazzy K, Nokz78 & Islaya
We’ve been wanting to bring back our ‘Artist Spotlight’ segment for some time now, but with the incredible number of artists dropping music here every week, we had to revamp and restructure it to attempt to showcase as many artists as we can. With artists making significant moves to grow the hip-hop and R&B scene each week, the new and improved ‘Artist Spotlight’ segment aims to represent the variety of excellent artists that you need to get your eyes and ears onto ASAP.
Featured on this week’s ‘Artist Spotlight’ is a heavy Sydney influence, with CYRUS, Jazzy K and Islaya each hailing from across the Harbour City. Producer and artist CYRUS will send you on a rollercoaster of emotions with his music, whilst Western Sydney artists Islaya and Jazzy K reflect the versatility and variability that the Australian scene possesses in abundance. To cap it off, we explore the understated impact that Brisbane’s Nokz78 has had domestically with his sound.
Multi-dimensional Sydney-based artist and producer CYRUS is one who consistently showcases his talents and eclectic sound in a fresh illuminating fashion, the impact of which I felt upon discovering his debut EP ‘had, lost’ on release late last year. It’s hard to box CYRUS into a specific musical genre, a factor which is due in large part to his impressive vocal versatility and natural songwriting ability that allows him to effectively articulate the emotion he is trying to convey to the listener. His debut EP features neo-pop, dark R&B and soul flavours that blend together exceptionally well to create a wholesome listening experience. Through his work, the listener is particularly drawn to CYRUS’ songwriting ability, melodic vocals, expertly-timed harmonies and vocal elasticity. This is well and truly just the beginning for the Sydney-based artist and we are certainly excited to see the extent of his impact on a local and global scale in the future.
Western Sydney artist Jazzy K has an uncanny knack for crafting tracks which are both personal to her and to put it simply, bangers. January release ‘Take my info’ travelled rent free in my head for some time after its initial drop and it led me to explore her whole discography in-depth over the course of a day. What I found was an artist whose whole soul is deeply entrenched in every part of the music. The dynamic Jazzy K naturally infuses a multitude of influences in her sound, but it is a credit to her undoubted talent that she is able to imbue her lush and entrancing vocals across a variety of beats with sophistication and care. Tracks such as the aforementioned ‘Take my info’ and ‘Game Boy’ (featuring fellow West Sydney artist Inferno) pay homage to her Arabic heritage with an improvisational energy that speaks to Jazzy’s love for reflecting all of herself in her music. Unconstrained by traditional music boundaries, Jazzy K is definitely one whose sound you will find is irresistible.
Versatility and experimentation with sound are staples within the local hip-hop scene and Nokz78 has undeniably been a pioneer of mastering both. The versatile Brisbane-based MC is recognised for his slick flow, clever wordplay and malleable vocal ability. Continually, Nokz78 has demonstrated that he can drop merciless bars on a song only to then switch it up and take on a melodic verse with ease. Listening through his discography it is easy to find a tune that fits the mood you’re in, whether you want to dance with your friends, go on a late-night drive or hit the boxing bag at the gym, you have a wide selection to choose from. Having worked alongside some of the most talented MCs in Brisbane and its surrounds (the likes of Lisi, AMUthaMC and Nerve), it is evident that Nokz78 has become unapologetically confident within his own sound and is set to offer plenty to the local scene going forward.
Western Sydney artist Islaya has continued to take impressive strides within the Australian hip-hop and R&B scene, with each successive release bringing his undoubted talent, skill and nuance to the fore in quality fashion. His latest single, ‘Needing You’, sees the young artist and producer reflecting on the journey he underwent during the recent COVID-enforced lockdowns creatively and personally. Crucially though (as displayed in the track), what makes Islaya so unique is his ability to process these hard lessons and subsequently turn them into music, allowing him to give listeners the chance to relate to the struggle and pain that we have all similarly undergone over the past couple of years. By contrast, Islaya is also equipped to deliver the type of tracks you want to be in the mosh pit for, just one listen to his 2021 release ‘Greedy’ will prove this wholeheartedly. Remember the name Islaya, this is only the beginning of his journey.
Photos by @vasilipappas (Cyrus Photo 1), @iessevega (Jazzy K Photo 1), @jarods_brand (Islaya Photo 1) & @dimikambanis (Islaya Photo 2)
Words by Maroun Ghossain, Matthew Badrov & Joachim Subramaniam