Tash Sultana is making a smooth evolution with her latest single, "Salvation."
With her new track, the Australian native is giving her growing legion of fans a taste from her upcoming full-length album, which is expected to be released in August.
But, the R&B vibes on “Salvation” don’t betray her interests as an artist. When the former busker came through Boston in September 2017, she spoke with our partners at WGBH, Front Row Boston. Her musical interests are “greedy,” she told Front Row.
“I like so many different types of music that I’m a little bit greedy — I like that, it’s a bit jazzy or it’s a bit R&B or soul, that’s got roots, that’s good blues, that’s psychedelic rock and all that type of stuff,” Sultana said. “Reggae and I like hip-hop, I don’t know, it just meshes all together in some way. … I don’t really have a genre. I wouldn’t say I’m a genre-based artist, I just, like, jam.”
And it’s Sultana’s jamming that has drawn millions to her music.
In May 2016, Sultana posted a simple iPhone video to YouTube of her performing a jam — by herself, long hair flowing out of a hat backward, baggy, torn pants — in her living room.
When we spoke her in Boston, that YouTube video had a mere 6.5 million views. As of this publication, it now has more than 22 million.
“When I posted that video online, I didn’t really have a lot of content before and I thought, ‘you know, I might as well start getting some stuff up there.’” Sultana said. “I hadn’t even really written the song yet. It was literally, like, a live jam when I not-so-properly recorded it.
That little jam video has opened doors for Sultana all around the world.
“It’s just opened doors everywhere,” she said.”I don’t know, when you write a little jam in your bedroom, you don’t think of it, then it just goes.”
What’s amazing to see is that for all the sounds you hear from Sultana in the video, it’s just one person — Sultana, dancing with her guitar slung around her body, a looping soundboard next to her on milk crates.
If that looping sounds like it could put you in a fun, music trance, you’re not alone. She calls it “flow state.”
“It’s like what you enter into when your mind, when you’re doing something that you love, when you wholeheartedly love it, and it’s accessed in many different ways,” Sultana said.
“Not just by playing music, but being creative — like painting, drawing, running. Like, a lot of marathon runners access flow state. That’s why it’s so addictive because they just get into this state where they’re just completely one — they are in complete oneness. That’s what happens to me when I play music and I suppose, a lot of other people too, which is why we do it.”
Before Sultana's breakthrough on YouTube, she worked as a busker on the streets of Melbourne.
"People used to start dancing in the streets and I’d stop the traffic," she said. "The council hated that and I have, like, heaps of fines from breaching the sound limitations. But you know, people were loving it so it was just kind of like — push the faders up a little bit and get it nice and loud."
Sultana sounds like she has taken her next step and is releasing her LP — characteristically titled “Flow State” — August 31.
And she might be coming to a city near you, with a world tour underway this summer and through the fall.
Here’s another preview from “Flow State," a song titled “Harvest Love.”