Profile: KÖDA, a rising Melbourne music star

KÖDA preparing for her Melbourne gig (Photo: Eden Borella).

Getting into the music industry gets more challenging all the time  so maybe being a woman of all sounds and mistress of none is a good idea.

Some artists experiment with wildly different sounds and images, hoping that something they do will catch the ear of a radio station or the eye of someone that works for a well-known label.

But some musicians come to the game with a fusion approach built in to who they are as musicians – like 19 year old Melbourne musician KÖDA, who I can only describe as being a thorough and unexpected mix of Alabama Shakes, Jeff Buckley, Coldplay and Jaala.

Beating off the competition isn’t uppermost on her list of priorities.

“There’s definitely a lot of pressures that come with being serious about making it in the music industry, but there is nothing like a little competition to give you a bit of a kick up the bum,” she told me.

“I’m just doing my own thing. It’s not really at the forefront of my mind while I’m making music or gigging because I enjoy the process so much.”

That being said, KÖDA isn’t hanging around her bedroom hoping to be discovered, and is a powerful live gigger on the Melbourne scene.

I got to hear KÖDA and her band put fusion into action at a recent gig, where they completely took over Belleville Late Nights, and where I sipped schooners of cider while listening in awe for an hour and a half.

Though KÖDA and her band were cramped on a tiny stage in a corner of the dimly-lit venue and the audience was mainly people looking for a cheap place to drink, they performed as though every single person in there was there to see them.

The chemistry KÖDA and her band have set the dark venue alight. Her voice made people at the packed bar stop and pay attention.

She did multiple Prince covers, a great version of the 80s track Tainted Love, as well as letting her three back-up singers take over and sing a song each.

And she sang plenty of her own original material – from upbeat, lyrically and instrumentally driven songs like Distracted, Extra Pulp and Scissors to more wistful acoustic pieces like Sleepless and Will it Ever Be Enough?

Genre and performance style aside, all KÖDA’s original songs have a certain vulnerability, and are lyrically in-depth and real, dealing with love, relationships, intimacy and self-worth.

The latter is something KÖDA prides herself on as an artist, and knows it’s critical to being discovered and given an opportunity by a record label.

“There’s definitely an aspect of luck in relation to timing I think, but nothing goes past someone with natural, raw talent,” she says.

“I’m a big believer in the cliché of being relatable. I think stage presence and the aspect of being down to earth as an artist, goes a long way with audiences.

“Being confident in your own shit too, that’s mammoth. The more an artist believes in what they’re doing, the more attractive it is to the listeners.”

KÖDA is adamant that despite the hardships of the industry, the Aussie music scene is actually one of the most exciting in the world because of the diverse range of acts we constantly produce.

“It’s a really innovative scene to be a part of and there’s always something or someone making new waves. There is so much underground talent waiting to be discovered and being amongst it is insane.”

KÖDA recently performed at popular festival Strawberry Fields and early next year is doing back-up vocals for The Internet, and if seeing her play a small gig in a busy bar is anything to go by, I would say that this Melbourne based, empowered, lyrically in-depth songstress is one to keep an eye on over the next coming months. – Eden Borella