Like many areas of the entertainment industry, the music biz has some work to do to better represent Australia's diversity. These days reality talent shows play a role in forging the careers of some successful musicians, and The Voice Australia is one that is making progress on the diversity front.
Contestant Seann Miley Moore is on First Nations singer Jessica Mauboy's team this year, and says it's "very important" that the industry becomes more "inclusive" of people from all walks of life.
"We need more representation and there is still a fight for my communities within this industry so we can’t start thinking that we are there," the 28-year-old told Refinery29 Australia.
The queer performer of Filipino heritage is one of five Team Jess contestants competing in the quarter-finals on Monday night. While he may be up against them for a spot in the next round, Moore says being on the journey with fellow POC – Indian Australian Janaki Easwar and Samoan contestant Evile Jireh Sisifo-Laloata – has been very special.
"I'm happy to have shared these moments with my brown family Evile & Janaki who were in Team Jess," said the reality star. "This importance of diversity of all shapes and sizes is what makes Australia unique and proud as a multicultural country so we need to represent and we need to win."
Moore was born and raised in Indonesia before moving with his family to Thailand and then eventually Australia in 2003. He remembers not seeing anyone who looked like himself in the arts, and doesn't want young people today to go through the same experience.
"As a young queer boy, I didn't have that representation and it gave me a fire in my belly to be that for myself," he said. "I am so happy to see the younger generations feel confident to express themselves and that courage is so inspiring."
Speaking of younger talent, fellow Team Jess contestant Janaki Easwar is the youngest contestant to ever compete on The Voice Australia (not including The Voice Kids). The 12-year-old stunned the coaches in her blind audition with a stellar rendition of Billie Eilish’s Lovely, before Guy Sebastian asked her if she could sing an Indian song.
The daughter of migrants from the southern Indian state of Kerala effortlessly performed a Carnatic (a genre of classical Indian music) song. Having been learning the very technical genre since she was six years old, she says it was a no-brainer to pick a familiar tune when the celeb coach asked for a traditional song.
" When Guy asked me to sing something Indian, I wanted to take that spot and present a piece of Carnatic music," she told Refinery29 Australia.
The performance marked a moment that left her emotional parents watching from the side of the stage feeling overwhelmed with pride and joy.
"Both of them come from remote parts of India and they grew up listening only to Indian music," Easwar told Refinery29 Australia about her parents.
"They put lots of effort into learning and adapting to the music I listen to and love to sing. Their daughter is singing in front of some of the icons of the music industry, you can imagine how emotional it could be!"
And even before the Carnatic surprise, Easwar had stepped up on stage and proudly represented her culture with a white and gold outfit that is usually worn during Onam, the annual harvest festival celebrated in the Indian state of Kerala.
"My mum designed that for me to wear for last year's Onam celebration," she explained. "We tried different outfits to wear on the blind audition stage, but eventually thought this would be a great option, as I had plans to bring some Indian elements to the song Lovely that I was performing."
On Monday night Moore and Easwar will compete in the quarter-finals along with Evile Jireh Sisifo-Laloata, Ella Monnery and Mick Harrington from Team Jess, plus Rita Ora's team members Tanya George, Sofia Watt, Halimah Kyrgios, Sian Fuller and girl band, G!Nation.
The Voice Australia continues on Monday at 7:30pm on Channel 7.