Jess Ribeiro

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Jess Ribeiro was part of the local music scene for many years before venturing out into the world and is now making milestones by being asked to come and play at South X Southwest Festival in Texas in March. Let’s help this local make her dreams come true …

Tell us about yourself Jess…

I was born and raised in Armidale, NSW, where I come from a large extended family.

My mum, grandmother, aunties, uncles and many cousins all still live there. My grandfather and his brother established the family business over 60 years ago, which is Kelly’s Transport. It is still owned and operated by my four uncles.

Since leaving Armidale I’ve studied anthroposophy, music and teaching.

I’ve lived in a few different places around Australia, including Brisbane, Darwin and Melbourne.

Musically I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the country playing shows and festivals, as well as having attended music residencies overseas. I’ve supported and worked with some amazing artists, including Nick Cave, Tim Rogers and Steve Earle. My songs have also aired on television shows in Australia and overseas.

What sort of genre do you play?

I play original music, from folk to rock ‘n’ roll, acoustic to electric.

Have you seen your style change over the years?

In the Northern Territory it was acoustic singer-songwriter based. I was working with Indigenous people on Elcho Island, meeting many Yolngu artists from Arnhem land and Utopia, Central Australia – musicians and painters. They loved country music, so it rubbed off on me and eventually I won a country music award in 2012 for my first release, My Little River.

In Melbourne, I lived in the inner city. I collaborated with an old famous rock dog (Mick Harvey from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds/PJ Harvey).

This changed the sound again. In 2015 we made a record called Kill it Yourself.

Most recently, I recorded in the south of New Zealand with friends Dave Mudie (Courtney Barnett) and Jade Mcinally (Jade Imagine). They’re more pop rock artists. The new record will be out later in the year.

I also play in an ocker pub rock band with some friends. It’s very bad. Sometimes rude. People love it.

Do you have a band that travels with you, or are you a one girl show?

I love travelling and playing with the band more than anything.

Maria plays drums, Marc lead guitar, Thommy on bass and Tiffany on Synth.

I love that I get to play with both women and men. When I was younger I mostly played with guys.

I’m so excited to travel with them overseas this year – America, Canada and the U.K. I hope we do Europe too, but we’ll see.

I do play solo too. It’s a very naked feeling performing solo. I admire people who do it well.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced over this time, and how have you overcome it?

Coming to terms with the fact that I’m an artist is hard.

It’s not always socially accepted or taken seriously unless you are a major commercial artist that everyone knows. People want to know what you do for a job, without realising this takes a lot of work and energy. I’ve overcome it by persisting. You keep playing and working with and for other artists when you’re not doing you’re own thing publicly. There’s a cycle you go through with the making and releasing of each new record and the more I do it, the more I understand the process and trust it.

Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge who has been in support of your career? 

Everyone who has ever supported and bought my music. Also, my grandma and mum.

Tell us about your quest to play at the SXSW festival …

I’ve wanted to perform at this festival for ten years now.

It’s one of the biggest music industry festivals in the world.

We have interest from American, Canadian and U.K labels and booking agents. I’ve got a new record, a great management team and a band I love. Hopefully at least one of them sign us. That would be a dream come true.

How can the community help?

We are running a fundraiser campaign to assist with band flights for this trip. The community can donate via Pozible or email or

In exchange, we have rewards for you including postcards and Polaroids, CDs and solo concerts available.

What’s next for Jess Ribeiro?

I’ll be releasing my new record later in the year then touring it nationally and regionally through Australia, so hopefully some of you blokes get to see and hear it.

Thanks Jess.

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