There's no denying that Australia's got its fair share of musical talent. However, the local industry does have its limits, and for some artists, a move overseas might be a beneficial long-term career move. Today, we're shining a spotlight on our best musical expats by diving into the ten best artists around the world who you might not know are Australian expats.
The electro-funk group met at high school in Byron Bay in 2014, and soon after, they moved to Berlin, Germany. In an interview with a German magazine, bandmember Noah Hill stated Parcels’ reasons behind the move, saying “Australia has a great music scene but it’s just really isolated, we wanted to go to a place where it’s more, kind of happening”. When playing a show in France, the band caught the eye of the legendary Daft Punk, who signed them onto their label, and the rest is history.
Yeah, that's right - the band your mum loves more than anything originally hail from Australia. The duo met in Sydney while performing in Jesus Christ Superstar. After the release of their hits ‘All Out of Love’ and ‘Making Love Out of Nothing at All’, they received worldwide acclaim, and moved to America, where they still currently reside.
The Temper Trap
The ‘Sweet Disposition’ hitmakers formed in Melbourne in 2005, where they wrote their first EP. Then in the hope of achieving international acclaim, they moved to the UK, where they were signed to the label Infectious Music, with labelmates like Alt-J. A few years later in the UK, they wrote their hit ‘Sweet Disposition’, which reached #14 on the ARIA charts and is considered by many as a golden moment in the indie boom of the 2000s.
You mightn't recognise the name FNZ on sight, but if you've listened to any keynote hip-hop release of the past decade, there's every chance you've heard their beats. The duo, who originally hail from Perth, made the trek to Florida to kickstart their production careers back in 2009, and it's obviously paid off - they've produced some of A$AP Rocky's best known tracks, turned in the majority of beats for Denzel Curry's acclaimed TABOO and ZUU projects, and even turned up on Kanye West's last full-length Jesus Is King.
While he might tout the Lakers at every possible opportunity and plays in a group notorious for its love of all things California, Red Hot Chili Peppers' bassist Flea was in fact born in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne in 1962. He lived for a short period of time, and apparently attended primary school here for a number of years before moving to America and joining one of the biggest bands in the world. However, he's said to still own a holiday house on the NSW South Coast, and returns often to visit family and enjoy the local flora and fauna.
Before 'Jessie’s Girl' found worldwide acclaim, and a Grammy win, you could find Rick Springfield playing in your local with his band Zoot. He then moved to America in 1972, where he began acting, and he released his album Working Class Dog featuring the hit 'Jessie’s Girl', which reached number #1 on both the American and Australian charts.
Empire of The Sun
Long before being called upon to deliver hooks for Beyoncé and Jay-Z, both members of Empire Of The Sun were already considered as Australian music royalty: Nick Littlemore is a core member of PNAU, and Luke Steele rose to prominence in the early '00s with The Sleepy Jackson. The duo first met at a bar in Sydney in 2000, which led to them being writing partners for many years, but it was only in 2007 that they wrote their first song as Empire of The Sun, ‘Walking on A Dream’, which saw them relocate to LA and become the international sensations we know today.
While still beloved by local audiences, it's arguable that these heavy rock titans achieved more fame abroad than at home. Airbourne joined forces in Warrnambool in 2003, and became regulars at a popular pub, The Criterion. Then after being signed to the mega US label Capitol Records, they were on many American summer music festival line-ups, as well as supporting bands such Mötley Crüe, Motörhead, Iron Maiden and The Rolling Stones around America.
Don't let the Southern accent fool you - before she was getting Fancy with Charli XCX, Amethyst Amelia Kelly worked as a cleaner in Mullumbimby, New South Wales. She worked tirelessly to earn enough to make a move to the USA to begin her music career. She has had a successful music career in America since, working with acts like Lil Yachty and Juicy J and has toured with the likes of Nas and Beyoncé.
Even though he wasn’t born in Australia, the legendary musician, who is most known for his position as bass player of The Killers, is an Australian citizen. His father was born here, which makes Mark a dual Australian and American Citizen. He still holds this dual citizenship. You can catch The Killers on tour this November.
All about that bass? Check out our picks for the 15 best Australian basslines of all time.