Despite making steps towards diversity in music, Kira Puru thinks we can still do more

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Despite making steps towards diversity in music, Kira Puru thinks we can still do more

Photo: Alex Drewniak
Words by Marnie Vinall

We chat to the rising artist before her headline slot at new festival Global Rhythms.

Since moving to Melbourne in 2013, Kira Puru has been making serious waves in the music scene. She’s worked with Australian heavyweights, Paul Kelly, Illy and Urthboy and in 2018 her catchy pop single ‘Molotov’ took out the 75th spot in the triple j Hottest 100. Her latest single, ‘Why Don’t We Get Along’, which came out in September last year, has been rapidly climbing the charts and she’s about to go on a national tour with Thelma Plum for her Homecoming Queen tour later this year.

So, it’s fair to say big things are on the horizon for the pop artist of Maori descent which should come as no real surprise to any music-lover given her talent as a vocal powerhouse and dynamic live performer. Her songs are the type of feel-good alt-pop that get stuck in your head all day but are also layered with greater meaning – something which Puru pulls from a beloved genre.

“The thing I love about disco music is you can listen to a song that’s so dancey and seems so fun but underneath it, there’s this more melancholic meaning that sits below the surface – and I really like that duality,” Puru says.

“I try not to walk into too much with a determined idea about what a song’s going to be on any given day but I do love a puzzle, and I love layered meanings,” she admits.

So, as a big part of the city’s music and culture scene, and being no stranger to the live stage, it seems only fitting that she’ll be fronting Melbourne’s newest kid on the block when it comes to festivals. That is Global Rhythms, a free one-day music event in Prahran Square that showcases and celebrates diverse contemporary music.

The lineup brings together a strong mix of emerging and established artists drawing from hip hop, R&B and neo-soul influences. Alongside Puru, the likes of local king REMI, boundary-pushing hip hop artist ALPHAMAMA and the ever-versatile and ever-ambitious Soju Gang will perform. Puru is stoked about what’s in store.

“The lineup is really great. I love REMI and have known him on a personal level for many years and I think he’s really one of the most incredible, talented rappers in the country,” Puru says.

Global Rhythms has a particular intent of showcasing the diversity in Australian music, especially of Melbourne’s, but Puru notes how important lineups like this are in progressing the music industry forward.

“I think it’s really important to champion artists of colour in our country as they’re making some really exciting music. So I’m always happy to take part in something that gives people of colour the stage.

“I think the industry has changed a lot since I started actively working in music as a professional. And it’s really awesome and positive to see those changes happening. I think there are areas in which that can grow and blossom a little more. There’s always ways in which we can better centre particularly the voices of First Nation people and people of colour. But yeah, it’s super exciting to be on a lineup like this.”

If this isn’t enough of a reason to come to the free event, perhaps a tease of Puru’s new music will get you over the line. When asked whether punters will get to hear any of her new music that’s still yet to be released, the artist quickly concurred.

“Yes, absolutely. I’m currently working on an album and it’s so exciting and I find it incredibly hard to keep my mouth shut about it. So, I can guarantee there’ll be some new music. And I probably can’t say this to you but there’s definitely new music coming out really, really soon. I will happily debut some of it at the show.”

Kira Puru comes to Global Rhythms when it goes down on Saturday March 14 at Prahran Square. The festival is totally free – get the lowdown here.