Powerhouse Late puts the spotlight on music and writing in two special Sydney Writers’ Festival panel events. Expect DJs, projections and live music. At 6pm songwriters Bertie Blackman, Bec Sandridge and Evelyn Ida Morris host a panel unpacking writing in all its different modes. At 7.30pm Vyva Entertainment, in partnership with the 4ESydney HipHop Festival, curate a panel exploring half a century of writing and lyricism in hip-hop, featuring local artists MC Trey, BARKAA, URTHBOY, HAU, LEE and hosted by DOBBY.
Bertie Blackman (Australian)
Bertie Blackman is a multidisciplinary storyteller. Her work as a writer, musician and artist weaves between the real and unreal, illuminating her unique universe and inviting us to explore worlds within worlds. Bertie is an ARIA–winning musician, and is the daughter of iconic Australian artist Charles Blackman. Bertie's debut children's book, Mica the Star Sailor, was published in 2020. Her memoir, Bohemian Negligence, was published in 2022.
Bec Sandridge (Australian)
Bec Sandridge is a songwriter, mentor, producer and multi-disciplinary artist based on the South Coast of Australia. Sandridge's primary weapon of choice is guitar paired with her distinct vocals: she draws upon her folk roots to create 80s-esque, nostalgic-driven pop songs. Inspired by Cyndi Lauper, David Byrne and Prince, Sandridge transports listeners into a sentimental space via fuzzed out guitars, ethereal vocals and arpeggiator synthesizers, and in more tender moments, carries a story with just a guitar.
Evelyn Ida-Morris (Australian)
Evelyn Ida Morris has been making music since they were three years old. It started with the piano, then the drums, then indie bands, trekking into the city from Warrandyte to sneak into gigs as a teenager. Now they’re one of Victoria’s most gifted composers and live music acts. In fact, they were recently voted one of the Top 50 Most Power People in the Australian music industry. After releasing several tracks under the name Pikelet, Morris co-founded LISTEN, an advocacy group for diverese Australian artists. In 2017, they released their first self-titled album, full of racing, dextrous piano chords. Then it was onto feature film soundtracks, including the score for Acute Misfortue in 2018, which earned Morris their first ARIA nomination.
BARKAA is a Malyangapa, Barkindji woman from Western New South Wales, now living in South West Sydney on Gandangara land. Music to BARKAA has been part of her journey to express herself, the truth and issues impacting First Nations people. Since her 2020 debut single, 'For My Tittas', BARKAA has swiftly climbed to the top as one of the most respected voices in (so-called) Australian hip-hop. From numerous live performances (including the Sydney Opera House) to appearances on Rage, being awarded the 2020 PUMA Rookie Of The Year Award for Acclaim Magazine, being featured in GQ, named one of the top rappers in the country by triple j and Red Bull respectively, and most recently announced as part of The #YouTubeBlack Voices Class of 2022, appearing on billboards across Times Square and Los Angeles, BARKAA's star power is fast rising.
Hau Latukefu (HAU) is a cultural leader, media presenter, mentor, author, and lifetime musician.With 20 years of writing and performing under his belt (as the front man for the ARIA award-winning duo, Koolism), the Presenter of the triple j Hip-Hop Show for the past 12 years, and now a record label owner (Forever Ever Records), HAU has lived on all sides of the performing arts worlds.Feeling like he had lived a few lives already, HAU felt like it was time to document his journey. Not only to share his own story, but to also immortalise the stories of the Pasifika diaspora and of hip-hop culture in Australia. In late 2022, King was published through Penguin with the help of co-author Christopher Riley.
HAU was born in Australia to Tongan parents, which gave him access to two cultures he would draw from when it came to writing lyrics and performing them on stage. His heritage plays an important part of who he is as a person, an artist, a cultural leader, an author, and a mentor.
MC Trey (Australian)
MC Trey (Thelma Thomas) has over 20 years experience as a hip-hop/soul artist, with nominations for the ARIAs, Urban Music, 3D and Jack Music Awards. She has performed locally and internationally, offering a unique style of melodic and insightful rhymes and delivery about life, love and her experiences. MC Trey's Fijian heritage and father's gospel singing helped inspire and mould her musical abilities. Off mic, MC Trey runs her creative business, Tapastry, which provides avenues for arts and youth initiatives, events coordination and creative projects working with the Australian Museum, Juvenile Justice and sever community, government and corporate clients.
Tim Levinson (URTHBOY) has run independent music business and record label Elefant Traks for 20 years. He also manages four acts including Hermitude, Horrorshow, Khi'leb and Finbar Stuart. In addition, he has released seven solo albums and six collaborative albums with The Herd. He's worked on #1 albums, platinum songs, gold records, international tours. Ultimately, he is most proud of his daughter and learning how to be a good dad.
DOBBY is a rapper, composer, producer and drummer. He proudly identifies as a Filipino and Aboriginal musician, whose family is from Murrawarri and Ngemba lands (Weilmoringle, Brewarrina NSW). He has performed extensively locally including PARRTJIMA Festival (NT), BIGSOUND (QLD), OzAsia Festival (SA) and Sydney Opera House, and he recently performed alongside sister BARKAA for the 2021-22 New Year's Eve Fireworks. Internationally, he has performed in Germany, the UK, the USA and the Netherlands. Recently, he composed all the soundscapes for PARRTJIMA 2021 & 2022 (Alice Springs, NT), and composed the music behind Australia's first 500-strong drones show (Elevate Sydney). In June 2022, DOBBY premiered WARRANGU; River Story, in partnership with Vivid Sydney, a body of work created from his awarded Peter Sculthorpe Fellowship.
DOBBY is a multi-instrumentalist who is increasingly being known for bouncing between piano, drums, and drum pads, with his unique signature 'drapping' (rapping and drumming at the same time). He has completed a BMus at UNSW, and an Indigenous Studies Honours (focusing on Aboriginal Hip-Hop music) in 2015, and while he continues to make music and tour the world, he currently holds a 3 year position as the Indigenous Convenor at the ANU School of Music (ACT).