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Leaning into the unknown and embracing new sonic inspirations has long been a source of fuel for multi-Platinum selling artist, ILLY.
The music ILLY creates today is done so with reinvigorated confidence for the craft; his 2021 record The Space Between landed as one of his most personal and artistically defining records of his career. Stories of reflection, rediscovery and growth were delivered against a backdropof expansive sounds and textures: a representation of just how strong ILLY’s vision for his work moving forward had become.
Recent writing sessions with DMA’S songwriter Johnny Took and Peking Duk’s Reuben Styles have birthed ‘Like You’ – the first new piece ofmusic from ILLY to break open his forthcoming seventh studio album.
The single, buoyed by vocal harmonies layered over a slick pairing of EDM and a driving acoustic guitar, never loses its sense of self-awareness or fun.
Across six studio albums, fans have followed along as ILLY built a career as a formidable champion of Australian hip hop; before fortifyingthat early success in becoming one of Australia’s most acclaimed popartists today.
That crossover success established ILLY as one of Australian hip hop’s integral triumphs; along with the Hilltop Hoods, bringing the genre to widespread – and maintained – mainstream success. For ILLY, his creative evolution has seen him emerge as one of the country’s beloved performers.
Collaborations with artists like Anne-Marie and Vera Blue brought ILLY key records that demonstrated his versatility as both vocalist, songwriter and duet partner, while also highlighting the strength as a lyricist – a natural talent to cross between genres with ease.
" Throughout my career, [with] the risks I’ve taken, there’s been validation that it was the right thing to do. Even just being able to play songs at shows and having people tell me how deeply they connectwith my music.”
Much like acclaimed records Cinematic (2013) and Two Degrees (2016), ILLY’s new material serves as a reminder that he is the type ofartist who thrives on change and the desire to keep pushing himself into new creative places.
“The safe thing would be to retread the same ground you’ve always been on. If I was just doing the same stuff, I wouldn’t enjoy it. I like taking risks, and I also really love the journey that comes with that.”
The release of Cinematic proved a touchstone moment for ILLY, earning him his first ARIA nomination for the then-titled Best Urban Album; a multi-Platinum single (‘Tightrope’) and an ARIA Gold certification by year’s end.
And then with theTwo Degrees era, ILLY expanded his influence, thanks to the multi-Platinum success of ‘Papercuts ft. Vera Blue’ and‘Catch 22 ft. Anne-Marie’. The album became ILLY’s first ARIA #1record, properly solidifying ILLY’s presence as a premier Australian pop success story.
With the release of ‘Like You’ and the new ILLY record on the horizon, this story continues; driven by new inspirations and that pure instinctthat has only seen him go from strength to strength, time will tell just how far this next era will take him.
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