Australian soul-funk group Hiatus Kaiyote is sitting in a bar in New York's Greenwich Village, hours before their sold-out show. For a band that's only recorded one album—the uptempo, genre-bending Tawk Tomahawk—a litany of subsequent endorsements from Questlove, Erykah Badu, Q-Tip and Prince have caused the group to reflect on their breakout year.
“The whole reason we have that validation from our icons is because we were just exploring our creativity," lead singer Nai Palm tells Fuse. "They’ve already given us that tick of approval and we didn’t even know what we were doing then.”
The group formed when bassist Paul Bender spotted Palm, a former fire dancer and wedding singer, at a small Melbourne club. Keyboardist Simon Mavin and drummer Perrin Moss joined later, and the group began weaving funk, soul, hip hop, opera and pop together for Tawk Tomahawk.
"When we first played together, it was clear that everyone just 'got it' and not just playing the part, but everyone was bringing their own unique flavor," says Bender. "Straightaway, we knew it was something special."
The band is currently planning their sophomore album, set for release late next year.