ILUKA is an artist who has something to say and isn’t afraid to say it. From her early singles and EP releases, the Sydney based / Blue Mountains raised singer / songwriter understood the power of a song and how it can affect the state of mind of the listener as much as the writer who created it. Queen of Turbulent Hearts, ILUKA’s debut album, out now, is brimming with emotive songs that not only show ILUKA’s talent as a songwriter, but also as a world class vocalist who sweeps you up and takes you into the song to feel what she feels.
The creation of Queen of Turbulent Hearts started back in 2019 when ILUKA headed to the US for creative inspiration. Landing in Los Angeles ILUKA quickly made connections and started collaborating. Next stop was Nashville where she teamed up with writers including Trent Dabbs (Kacey Musgraves) and Gabe Simon (Lana Del Ray) and performed a show at famous local venue The Basement. Before too long she signed a global publishing deal with BMG. ILUKA answers a few questions about the album for Hi Fi Way.
How exciting is the build-up to your debut album?
Very exciting! It’s been a long, slow burn so it feels pretty damn special to know it’s finally coming out.
Did you have anything special planned for release day?
I’m going to be in rehearsals all day with the band for the tour we’re about to start supporting Lime Cordiale. I think I’ve got a fitting with a stylist after the rehearsal but other than that, nothing particularly exciting!
What was your reaction when you finished everything you could do with the album?
We were still all in lockdown so it was more of a quiet disbelief I think at the fact that I finally made and finished a whole record during such a strange time in the world…
How challenging has the last 12-18 months been in terms of getting it finished?
Strangely, it was pretty smooth sailing. My producer is based in LA and I was in Australia during lockdown. There were a few small hurdles along the way but other than that it was all pretty smooth sailing – perhaps because we had a bit more time than we usually would being stuck at home and all, and also felt excited about the project!
How important was that trip to the US to get creatively inspired?
The US has always been a kind of second home to me, particularly LA, so it’s always been an important place for me creatively. It’s a different energy there, and one that I seem to feel incredibly inspired by, so I always write my best music (I think) when I’m over there. Nashville is also a place I’ve more recently fallen in love with and somewhere I hope to spend a lot more time too.
Sonically, how would you describe your music?
Some kind of soul, quirky, dream pop perhaps…
Who are some of your musical heroes that have influenced your own music?
Prince, Bowie, Joni Mitchell, Annie Lennox, Nina Simone, Stevie Nicks, Billie Holiday, Cher, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, David Byrne, Smokey Robinson, Sam Cooke… and oh so many more.
How much are you looking to going on tour with Lime Cordiale?
A lot! They are awesome stages and I know the Lime guys well so it should be heaps of fun.
Are there dates locked in for your own tour at some stage soon?
Yes! Saturday June 8 at The Leadbeater, Melbourne Friday June 24 at The Vanguard, Sydney and Saturday June 25 at O’Skulligans, Brisbane.
What’s something that fans wouldn’t know about Iluka?
One day I want to become a pilot and fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean like Amelia Earhart…
Interview By Rob Lyon
ILUKA is on tour with Lime Cordiale on the following dates…