• Guy Hornsey

Why Jack River should compete at 'Eurovision - Australia Decides'


Image source: The Adelaide Review

With the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 all wrapped up, we're now looking ahead to the 2022 contest.


Over the next couple of months, we will be looking at Australian artists who we would love to see compete at 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' and get their opportunity to represent Australia at Eurovision. We have previously looked at Yolngu rapper and dancer, Baker Boy, the Kiwi-born Aussie pop star, Ricki-Lee, and Australian-Filipino pop artist Sheldon Riley.


This week we look at Jack River, one of Australia’s most exciting indie pop artists, and explore how it’s never been a better time for an artist like her to join the Australia Decides line-up.



Who is Jack River?


Jack River is the performance name of Holly Rankin, a 29 year old singer song-writer and multi-instrumentalist.


She first broke into the Australian indie music scene in 2013 with a genre defying sound incorporating elements of indie rock and electro pop, creating a sound that is dreamy-yet-punchy and modern-yet-retro tinged.


Photo credit: Kenith Png Photography

Her singing style has been compared to a broad range of legendary artists including Gwen Stefani, Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell.


Her first release as Jack River in 2013 was an eight-track extended play called ‘On Nature Part One’. In 2016 she followed it up with the single ‘Talk Like That’, which was followed by an EP called ‘Highway Songs No. 2’.


It was in 2017 when she came to the attention of a larger audience when she released her single ‘Fools Gold’. The song was played on high rotation on Triple J radio and reached platinum status.



The success of the single lead to Jack supporting Midnight Oil on tour and later embarking on her own ‘Fool’s Gold’ National Tour.


The following year she released her debut album ‘Sugar Mountain’. The album peaked at 11 on the ARIA Albums Chart and lead to three ARIA Award nominations: Best Pop Release, Breakthrough Artist, and Engineer of the Year.


Since then Jack has featured on the Peking Duk track ‘Sugar’ in 2019, and released an EP called ‘Stranger Heart’ in 2020.


In 2019 she won the NSW Live Act of the Year Award at the National Live Music Awards.




Why would Jack River be perfect for Australia Decides?


The time is right!


The 2021 contest cemented the fact that we are in the midst of a fairly significant shift musically. We’ve entered an era where the made-for-Eurovision polished pop is getting a big run for its money by entries of alternative genres, where the artists grab the audience’s attention with their authenticity and sell their story by performing what they love, live and breathe.


Even before this year’s results, we’ve seen alternative genres compete well with pop bangers in recent years. In 2019 Duncan Lawrence – a paired back singer-songwriter sitting at a piano, won the contest. In second place was Mahmood - an Italian singer songwriter who’s song bordered on hip hop and was far from mainstream.


Closer to home in Australia, we got a glimpse of it with Jaguar Jonze becoming one of the fan favourites in Australia Decides 2020.



These are interesting and exciting times for the contest. The trend is clear and we know how delegations jump on a trend. We can expect to see more rock, indie and any other genres that aren’t your typical commercial pop at the contest next year.


It’s really important for Australia to have a diverse line-up, which is something SBS and Blink TV have done really well so far with Australia Decides. Next year it will more important than ever to have some performers who have written their own songs and have an alternative sound from mainstream commercial music – and for that there couldn't be a better Aussie artist than Jack River.



Her music is perfect for it


There are a number of elements in Jack’s music style that make it perfect for Australia Decides.


It has the indie rock element that gives it an edge, often paired with a chorus that has ultra-catchy hooks and sing-along moments, which make them stick.


Songs like ‘Fools Gold’ and ‘Ballroom’ have a beautiful mix of grit and glam, which could go down really well with the current tastes of the Eurovision audience.


Jack River is one of Australia’s most exciting artists and there’s never been a better time for her to join the line-up of Australia Decides.