Watch: Tash Sultana “before her sound became bigger than the universe”
Tash Sultana’s new three-part documentary The Story So Far is a partnership between Sony Music Entertainment and YouTube Music.
Sony Music Entertainment Australia chairman and CEO Denis Handlin AO, points out, “Tash is a very special artist with an enormous amount of talent.
“We are delighted to partner with YouTube for this brilliant documentary series to showcase Tash’s incredible story.
“Tash’s journey began at home from the bedroom, performing on YouTube to fans in Australia and overseas, so we are thrilled to continue showcasing Tash through this new series to a global fan base through YouTube.”
Handlin signed her on the spot after seeing her at a Melbourne show, at the recommendation of one of his senior executives, Paul Harris.
Lyor Cohen, global head of YouTube Music says: “Breaking new artists is my obsession, and at YouTube, I can do that at a massive, global scale.
“We’re beyond excited to work with Tash, to be a part of the journey towards becoming an international superstar, and to help tell this incredible story to music lovers around the world.”
There’s a great scene in the first episode of Tash Sultana’s The Story So Far, a three-part documentary in partnership between Sony Music Entertainment with YouTube Music.
It shows her in a black and white video in her bedroom shredding her guitar to ‘Jungle’ on her own.
She’s then at the start of her solo career.
Then we flash to a full-colour shot, she’s playing the same hypnotic riff, but this time she’s on a huge stage before a large jubilant crowd.
Compiled and edited by photographer and videographer Dara Munnis, The Story So Far Pt 1 leisurely sets up the excitement and love the 23-year old feels for her guitar (she also plays 20 instruments), the way she conveys to her audiences the joy she feels when she performs, and the way fellow musicians and the music industry instinctively sense her global potential and rally to help.
Her school music teacher Sue O’Brien recalls the backstage pandemonium before a school concert, as she conducts singers and keyboard players in and out while running out to compere.
“In all the madness, someone tagged on my jacket, and it was Tash.
“I looked down and I thought ‘Oh Tash, a bit busy here’.
“She said, ‘Sue look at this’ and with that she put down her guitar and lifted the lid, and showed me this shiny new guitar.
“I was so taken by the expression on her face that I had to stop and share this amazement with her.”
Sultana becomes friends with O’Brien’s son Patrick, and at highschool, they form an instrumental band Mind Pilot.
Things change when she meets Kerryn Fields, the New Zealand born alt-folk singer-songwriter.
Fields says, “I was working at the Billy Hyde (music gear) shop in Flemington and Tash came in, in her school uniform, and shredded the fuck out of a guitar and then said, ‘I’m Tash Sultana’ (laughs) and we’ve been mates ever since.”
Fields proves crucial to Sultana’s early career, bringing home a loop station, showing her how to record and stop, and leaving her to her own devices.
“At that time she was still playing acoustic.
“It’s when she started plugging into electric and mucking around with different kinds of sounds, and finally being able to create landscapes on top of landscapes that the sound became bigger than the universe.”
Sultana starts to record in her bedroom and upload her videos onto YouTube. She sets up her own channel in 2011 and generates 100 million views.
Fields also urges her to start busking and get her name known.
Two fellow-buskers at the Bourke Street Mall are The Pierce Bros, who tell their managers Regan Lethbridge and David Morgan from Lemon Tree Music of this girl who is pulling amazing crowds on the streets and to take her under their collective wing.
This is in 2016. CD releases sell out, as do club shows, and the first episode sees her being progressively discovered by industry professionals in Australia and abroad, all getting excited at the raw irrepressible talent that is waiting for to make a global buzz.
Others include Jaddan Comerford from UNIFIED who is her US manager, Gang of Youths singer, David Le’aupepe who becomes a fan after seeing one of her uploaded videos, Alison Donald from Kobalt UK, and Michael Goldstone and Suzanna Slavin from Mom+Pop Music.