A MUSICAL trio formed on the streets of Byron Bay is poised to hit the big time.

The Blackbirds go down to Melbourne this weekend to be filmed for Tuesday night’s semi-finals of Australia’s Got Talent.

Their cruisy, island style of music, which they call ‘world pop’, has been a hit with the judges so far, and the Blackbirds are hoping their Northern Rivers fans will vote them through into the finals.

They’re not allowed to say what they will be performing, according to Benhur – the group’s vocalist and ukulele player, who is already well known enough to have just one name.

But it was the Beats International song Just Be Good To Me that got them this far, he said.

Benhur said the band’s name came about because he and female vocalist Renee Simone sang like birds – and ‘because we are all black’.

He was born in Indonesia, as was guitarist/percussionist Adi Noersadi. Renee was born in Jamaica.

The three have been living inByron Shire for some time – from Bangalow to South Golden Beach – carving out individual reputations.

Renee sings on Xavier Rudd’s new album, Koonyum Sun, with South African duo Izintaba. She is also backing vocalist on Afro Dizzy Act’s recent Peace Love and Unity.

The group’s musical heroes include Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Massive Attack, Morcheeba, Stevie Wonder and Peter Tosh.

Benhur used to work as a clown doctor at the Lismore Base Hospital, but now earns his living as a full-time musician.

Renee has quit her job at Byron Youth Services and Adi has been a session musician for some big bands in the area.

“We’re hoping to go through to the final – and the $250,000 prize would be a bonus,” Benhur said.

But just becoming finalists would be pretty good – they have been offered a contract with Sony if they get that far.



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