Soul singer extraordinaire Kylie Auldist is the complete musical package. Blessed with a powerhouse voice and a knack for telling stories, the Australia-bred vocalist, who has four solo albums to her credit, has been turning heads as the featured lead vocalist of The Bamboos and Cookin’ on 3 Burners.
In February Auldist was featured on London-based Soulnaturals’ “You Make Me Feel Like I Can Change The World,” the lead track from their group’s upcoming album, Love Says Yes! It’s a delightful, funky romp that encompasses her oh-so-smooth style and boasts melody hooks for days.
Below Auldist explains the trajectory of how a girl from a remote part of Oz discovered soul music and went on to following in her idols’ footsteps.
Soulnaturals ft. Kylie Auldist’s “You Make Me Feel Like I Can Change The World” is out now on British Soul Standard.
Much of my life has been spent in rural and outback Australia. As a result my musical influences were limited to the interests of my parents and what I could glean from local radio. Luckily, my father had a great record collection of blues, soul, jazz, and country for me to cut my teeth on. I learned to dance to his Chuck Berry record with my aunty Frances and worked on my vocal harmonies to the Beatles albums!
He introduced me to the music of Renee Geyer, and I have never gotten past Stares and Whispers, which I was lucky enough to sing for her when she was inducted into the Age music Victoria Awards Hall of Fame.
Then my aunts got me into Rod Stewart’s album Foot Loose and Fancy Free! He did an amazing cover of Millie Jackson’s “I Don’t Want to be Right.” Renee Geyer did a cover of this too! I didn’t really think about who wrote it until a friend showed me, and I can’t get past it. She’s amazing!
When I was about 15 I gave my parents $10 of my pocket money to take to the city. They were under strict instructions to buy the latest Marvin Gaye album, Midnight Love. The single from the album was “Sexual Healing,” and I still love that song so much but I am sharing my favorite song from the album My Love is Waiting.
Prince was a shining light in the world, and even the middle of Australia was not immune to his influence! As a teenage girl in a remote country town, my mind was blown by “Do Me Baby” from the Controversy album.
I’m not sure Michael Jackson is officially considered as a soul singer, but who in their right mind could resist “Human Nature” from Thriller? Certainly not SWV anyway! Right Here is one of my favorite uses of the sample.
A Jaguar advertisement alerted me to the existence of Etta James! At last! What a massive voice. I love to sing this song!
Another singer I admire is Gladys Knight. Her voice has a crack to it which makes it sound real. “Midnight Train to Georgia” just never gets old and the backing vocals are amazing! The song actually won a Grammy Award for best R&B performance by a duo group or chorus in 1974.
One of the most beautiful soul voices that ever existed is undoubtedly Donny Hathaway. There are so many songs to choose from but I am choosing “Young, Gifted and Black,” a Nina Simone protest song from 1969. I wanted to choose a Nina Simone song because she is a particular hero of mine, but 10 was too small a number! So I get two in one!
Chaka Khan is probably my all-time favorite singer and one of my main influences. Her live album with Rufus, Stompin’ at the Savoy, is one of the best party albums in the world! Chaka has had a huge career, ups and downs, and I thought maybe she was finished with music. So I cried with happiness when she put out “Funk This” and toured Australia again. One for all-time is gorgeous and has everything you could ever want from a Chaka song! Bliss.
And where would we be without the Queen? Aretha Franklin is apparently retiring! I never got to see her live and she doesn’t fly. So I guess I lose! Until you come back to me is one of my all-time favorites. And it was written by Stevie Wonder! This is them singing it live.
I hope you enjoy my little musical trip down memory lane!