First Break 2012 Winner - Iluka

Iluka defies definition.  It’s as though this refreshing young Sydney songstress has fused half a century of music’s greatest elements to create something as unique as it is affecting.  Effortlessly moving from swamp rock through retro pop and into soaring balladry, Iluka’s musical diversity is equalled only by its striking cohesion.  With a bold and vibrant look to match her song, this spirited chanteuse delivers epic sounds, enchanting melodies, and divine vocals that will lead you on a journey to another realm.
While still in her teens Iluka spent over a year traveling through Europe and Africa, building up the life experience and emotional understanding that is now the foundation of her music.  With a collection of lyrics written on the scraps of foreign street maps, and the musical ideas she formed while on the couches of welcoming strangers, Iluka returned to Australia with the passion and drive to succeed.
The year that followed was certainly prodigious.  2011 saw the release of EPs ‘To The Place’ and ‘Eyes Closed’, both wholeheartedly embraced by industry and public alike.  Each featuring singles that went top 5 on community radio’s most ordered songs for airplay chart, with songs such as Walking In Circles, To The Place, and Eyes Closed going on to enjoy rotation on major national networks Triple J, Nova, and Rage.  Meanwhile it was an exciting year on the live stage, from regular appearances on the local touring and festival circuit, to sharing stages with rising stars the likes of Matt Corby, The Rubens, and Georgia Fair.
2012 commenced with some fresh recordings under the guidance of Ollie McGill from The Cat Empire.  Lead single Paper Doll quickly gathered momentum, being featured and added to rotation on Triple J Digital, as well as regular spot play on Triple J and their inclusion of the track on charity compilation ‘After The Emergency’.  It was a welcome surprise when news came of the song’s short listing for the year’s Hottest 100 and has since been featured on national campaigns for noted brands such a Myer and Mambo, amongst others.  The year closed out supporting Aussie legends Icehouse nationally, performing in major theatres to thousands each night.
Following the tour Iluka embarked on a month long expedition of inspiration across South East Asia.  Spending time working with orphaned children in Cambodia, living in a Buddhist monastery on the Thai-Myanmar border, and trekking the mountains of Laos was enlightening to say the least.  Iluka returned home to Sydney to open for UK sensation Kitty, Daisy & Lewis along with news that she was to be named the inaugural winner of First Break - a competition run in partnership by The Mushroom Group and Commercial Radio Australia to unearth unsigned talent.
Iluka spent the remainder of 2013 working on her craft, writing and recording new material, ready to once again hit the ground running.  February 2014 saw the unveiling of 12th of July, Iluka’s first single as the First Break winner.  The song quickly gathered momentum, being the #1 most added track to commercial radio playlists across the country, as well as being put on rotation with MTV both in Australia and New Zealand.  Meanwhile 12th of July has been met enthusiastically by the public, having gone top 10 on the national independent charts and rising.  Soon to take the new single on the road, 2014 is set to be Iluka’s biggest year yet and is definitely one to watch.