Sydney wayfarer ILUKA is where retro pop meets gospel soul, and is a name creating change the most powerful way she knows how.
The past year has brought with it the release of her 2017 EP Blue My Soul, which saw the artist delve into a cathartic and ethereal collection of a deeply personal exploration of femininity and a notion of emancipation through escape in her music. Alongside this, she’s played shows with the likes of Alex Lahey, Dan Sultan, Mama Kin, Trevor Hall, and has supported Killing Heidi on a national tour.
Now, the Motown revivalist launches into 2018 with a soon to be released EP. It has been written with the intent to uplift and motivate and to create change the most powerful way she knows how: with a guitar in her hand and spitfire lyrics designed to shake awake the apathetic.
“I’m so excited to get this out,” she smiles. “It felt like this time around, it’s happened quickly but it’s been a really flowing process. We recorded the songs mid last year and I’ve already gotten two out. Usually it’s more of a long-winded process and you’re waiting around for ages, but this time all the songs still feel fresh, instead of music that I’ve written a long time ago.”
Reclaiming power and marching back onto the airwaves, ILUKA released her single ‘Sympathy’ off her forthcoming EP last December, before heading into this month with single and title track ‘Ritual’. Both part of the four track collection of songs that bares homage to her great loves and burning visions of an old soul desperately present, ILUKA explains the EP comes from a deeply personal place.
“They’re all about my own experiences [the EP tracks],” she says. “With ‘Ritual’, I had just come back from overseas and I was in this place of loneliness and feeling a little bit lost, questioning where I was going to go now and a relationship had just ended, so this title track was actually written from quite a heartbreaking, lonely place.
“Once we started jamming with the band, all the songs became quite self-empowering, coming after a bit of a dark time which is quite interesting; it was like the more we played them, they started to reflect me going on my own road and finding myself again, and just feeling really comfortable with who I am as an artist, standing on my own two feet,” she says.
Recorded with her long-term touring band who have become more intrinsic both on-stage and in the studio, the EP is a powerful, upbeat collection destined to empower and elevate, to transcend and liberate.
“I worked quite closely with the band in bringing the songs to life, writing the songs and then work-shopping them a lot together before taking them into the studio,” she continues. “I feel like there was a really solid foundation with them all, whereas in the past I have often worked exclusively with producers. It just seems to have gone a little bit smoother and felt really right to be releasing what I am releasing.”
Following her true north toward feminism and individualism, the forthcoming four track EP finds ILUKA at her most authentic; all the while using her platform to inspire change and nurture a culture of equality.
It’s been a huge 2018 already for Iluka and now she’s ready and raring to set the East Coast aflame on her six date headlining tour kicking off in April.
Release: ILUKA’s Ritual EP is out independently Friday April 6.
When & Where: Grace Darling, Melbourne – April 14. Tickets are on sale now for The Ritual Tour.
Written by Talia Rinaldo
Image by Tom Wilkinson