Dan Sultan

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Dan Sultan
Dan Sultan @ Sir Stewart Bovell Park (2 1 2011) (5356057159).jpg
Southbound Festival, Busselton, January 2011
Background information
Birth name Daniel Leo Sultan
Born 1983 (age 33–34)
Williamstown, Victoria, Australia
Genres World, roots, alternative rock,
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, electric guitar, six-string guitar
Years active 1996–present
Labels TrueForm Recording
MGM Distribution
Associated acts The Black Arm Band, The Merri Soul Sessions
Website dansultan.com

Daniel Leo "Dan" Sultan (born 1983) is an Australian alternative rock singer-songwriter-guitarist. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2010 he won Best Male Artist and Best Blues & Roots Album for his second album, Get Out While You Can (November 2009). At the 2014 ceremony he won Best Rock Album for Blackbird (April 2014), which had reached number four on the ARIA Albums Chart.


Daniel Leo Sultan was born in 1983 and spent much of his early life in Fitzroy (a suburb of Melbourne).[1][2] His father is of Irish descent who was a lawyer and worked for the Aboriginal Legal Service.[3][4] His mother, Roslyn Sultan, is an indigenous Australian of the Arrernte and Gurindji people.[3][5] When Sultan was three the family visited his mother's ancestral lands in Yuendumu (300 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs) in the Tanami Desert;[5] soon after they returned to Melbourne.[3] When a teenager his parents separated and, with his mother, he lived in Cairns for three years; at seventeen he returned to Fitzroy.[3][6]

Sultan started playing guitar at four and wrote his first song at ten.[5] His mother's friend gave him an "old, clapped-out electric guitar" and, when living in Fitzroy, he began singing at local pubs.[3] In 2000 he met Scott Wilson, a guitarist, at a Williamstown pub's karaoke night and the pair began writing tracks together.[3] Wilson later recalled "What struck me at first was that he could play piano and guitar and he was a great foil for what I was doing... After a while playing together he said, 'Can I sing this one?' I said, 'Do you know the words?'... [he had a] mighty voice. A lot of people can play guitar... Not many can sing like that."[4]

Sultan released his debut solo album, Homemade Biscuits (13 March 2006), with most tracks written by Wilson or co-written by Sultan and Wilson.[7] It was produced by Wilson at Flowerpress Studios, Newport, and True Form Services, Spotswood.[8] Other performers on the album were Lazare Agnekis, Neil Gray, Elijah Maiyah, Lochile McKlean and Ben Wicks.[8] He received the financial assistance of John Butler's Seed program.[3]

Sultan won the Single Release of The Year at the 2007 Deadly Awards for "Your Love Is Like a Song",[9] which was co-written with Wilson.[7] He performed his self-written track, "Roslyn",[7] at the National Sorry Day concert in May 2007, which describes his mother, a member of the stolen generation, removed from her family when she was six or seven.[5][6][9]

In late 2006 Sultan and Wilson were invited by Paul Kelly to record a cover version of "This Land Is Mine", originally by singer-songwriter Kev Carmody, for a various artists tribute album of Carmody's work, Cannot Buy My Soul (February 2007).[10] They also performed at two concerts of the same name: the Sydney Festival in January 2008 and Queensland Music Festival in August 2009.[11][12] In January 2008 Sultan's backing band consisted of Eugene Ball on trumpet, Ben Gillespie on trombone, Joshua Jones on bass guitar, Peter Marin on drums, Ash Naylor on guitar and Gina Woods on keyboards.[13] Sultan and his band have performed at Australian music festivals.

Sultan's second album, Get Out While You Can (November 2009), peaked in the ARIA Albums Chart top 100 in late May 2010 – six months after it was issued.[14] It reached No. 1 on the independent Australian charts[15] and was a Triple J feature album.[16] Sultan describes his music as "country soul rock'n'roll".[17] At the ARIA Music Awards of 2010 he won Best Male Artist and Best Blues & Roots Album for Get Out While You Can.[18] In October that year, he also won Best Independent Artist and Best Independent Blues & Roots Album at the Australian Independent Record Awards (AIR Awards).[19]

In February 2014 Sultan supported Bruce Springsteen's Melbourne and Hunter Valley gigs on the United States' artist's Australian tour.[20][21] In April Sultan released Blackbird, which reached No. 4 on the ARIA Albums Chart and spent thirteen weeks in the Top 50.[14] At the ARIA Awards in November that year Blackbird won Best Rock Album.[18] Also in November he issued an extended play, Dirty Ground, which reached the ARIA Albums top 100.[14]

Featured on the Hilltop Hoods 2014 album Walking Under Stars with "Rumble, Young Man, Rumble".

On 13 November 2015, Sultan released Open Live, a live album recorded at his sold-out National Theatre show of his 'Blackbird' tour.

Other projects[edit]

Sultan made his screen debut in the 2009 feature film Bran Nue Dae,[22] alongside Geoffrey Rush, Missy Higgins and Jessica Mauboy.[23]

Sultan is a sometime member of The Black Arm Band, a loose collection of various indigenous musicians. He was also involved in Kelly's The Merri Soul Sessions project.[24]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
Homemade Biscuits
Get Out While You Can
  • Released: 6 November 2009
  • Label: Independent, MGM (SUL002)
  • Format: CD, digital download
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Extended plays[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
  • Released: 4 April 2014
  • Label: Liberation (LMCD0238)
  • Format: CD, digital download
Dirty Ground
  • Released: 7 November 2014
  • Label: Liberation (LMCD0266)
  • Format: CD, digital download
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


  • "Your Love Is Like a Song" (2006)
  • "Old Fitzroy" (8 November 2010)
  • "Under Your Skin" (15 November 2013)[27]
  • "The Same Man" (14 February 2014)

Awards and nominations[edit]

In 2006, Sultan received a nomination from the Deadly Awards for Most Promising New Talent. A year later, he won the Deadly Award for Best Single, for "Your Love is Like A Song".[citation needed]

On 2 November 2010, Sultan won his first ARIA Music Award for Best Blues and Roots Album. On 7 November 2010, he won the ARIA for Best Male Artist.[citation needed]

Sultan received the Best Blues and Roots Album, for his album Get Out While You Can, and Best Independent Artist award at the 2010 Australian Independent Record (AIR) Awards.[28] He also won Male Artist of the Year and Best Single Release of the Year for his song "Letter", at the 2010 Deadly Awards.

On 26 November 2014, he won the ARIA for Best Rock Album at the 28th ARIA Awards ceremony in Sydney, Australia.[29] In 2014 he also won the Best Independent Blues and Roots Album at the Australian Independent Record (AIR) Awards.[30]

In 2014, Sultan won National Album of the Year for Blackbird, National Song of the Year for "The Same Man" and National Cover Art of the Year for Blackbird at the National Indigenous Music Awards.[31] On 25 July 2015, Sultan was named joint Artist Of The Year with Jessica Mauboy at the National Indigenous Music Awards.[32]

APRA Awards[edit]

The APRA Awards are presented annually from 1982 by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), "honouring composers and songwriters".[33]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2011 "Letter" (Dan Sultan, Scott Wilson) Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year[34] Nominated



  1. ^ "Dan Sultan". Murundak – Songs of Freedom. Daybreak Films. Retrieved 13 October 2015. 
  2. ^ Till, Heather (21 March 2004). "Reviews: Dan Sultan, Falls Festival, 01/01/04". FasterLouder. Retrieved 13 October 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Gibson, Joel (7 March 2008). "Dan Sultan – the black Elvis?". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 24 August 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Mengel, Noel (13 May 2010). "Dan Sultan and his songwriting partner Scott Wilson are smiling with their Bran Nue sound". The Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 13 October 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d Bible, Georgina (5 May 2010). "Meet the Sultan of blues". The Northern Star. APN News & Media. Retrieved 24 August 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Hare, Julie (13 August 2011). "Sultan of Soul". The Australian. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 14 October 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c "'Your Love Is Like a Song' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 13 October 2015.  Note: User may have to click "Search again" and provide details at "Enter a title:" e.g. Your Love Is Like a Song; or at "Performer:" Dan Sultan
  8. ^ a b Sultan, Dan; McKlean, Lochile; Maiyah, Elijah; Gray, Neil; Wicks, Ben; Agnekis, Lazare (2005), Homemade Biscuits, Independent. National Library of Australia, retrieved 13 October 2015 
  9. ^ a b Grant, Karla (30 April 2008). "Profile on Dan Sultan". Living Black. SBS One. Archived from the original on 20 February 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2015. 
  10. ^ Donovan, Patrick (22 February 2007). "Kev Carmody: Cannot Buy My Soul". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 13 October 2015. 
  11. ^ Johnston, Robyn (4 December 2010). "Cannot Buy My Soul: A celebration of the spirit, songs and storytelling of Kev Carmody". Into the Music. ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)). Retrieved 13 October 2015. 
  12. ^ "Queensland Music Festival presents Cannot Buy My Soul – Missy Higgins, Troy Cassar-Daly, Dan Kelly, Kev Carmody, Paul Kelly, Bernard Fanning, John Butler, Clare Bowditch, Tex Perkins, The Herd, The Drones at Brisbane Riverstage, Brisbane, QLD on 1 Aug 09". LiveGuide. 1 August 2009. Retrieved 14 October 2015. 
  13. ^ The Newcastle Herald, 24 January 2008, "He is the Sultan of sing" by Stephanie Bradley
  14. ^ a b c d Peak positions for albums in Australia:
  15. ^ Spillett, Emma (6 May 2010). "Savouring success". Illawarra Mercury. Fairfax Media. 
  16. ^ Heath, Matthew (4 March 2010). "Bran nue Sultan of swing". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. 
  17. ^ McCabe, Cathy (22 May 2010). "Sultan of Zing". Perth Now. The Sunday Times. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 24 August 2010. 
  18. ^ a b "ARIA Awards: History: Search results for "Dan Sultan"". Retrieved 14 October 2015. 
  19. ^ "History". Australian Independent Record Labels Association. Retrieved 14 October 2015. 
  20. ^ "Dan Sultan Announces New Album 'Blackbird' Out April, Australian Tour Dates 2014". ARIA Music News. Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). February 2014. Retrieved 14 October 2015. 
  21. ^ Adams, Cameron. "Passionate Bruce Springsteen shows who’s the Boss with bespoke concert at AAMI Park". news.com.au. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 14 October 2015. 
  22. ^ Sunshine Coast Daily, 1 May 2010, "Sultan's on a career high"
  23. ^ Kelton, Sam (20 May 2010). "Dan Sultan waiting for his big break". Adelaide Now. The Advertiser. Retrieved 24 August 2010. 
  24. ^ "Live Review: Paul Kelly and the Merri Soul Sessions - Taronga Zoo, Sydney (05.02.15) - the AU review". TheAUReview.com. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  25. ^ Peak positions for extended plays in Australia:
  26. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2015 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  27. ^ LiberationMusicAus (12 November 2013). "Dan Sultan - Under Your Skin". Retrieved 28 February 2017 – via YouTube. 
  28. ^ Archived 26 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Australian Independent Record Labels Association Ltd (AIR) 2010
  29. ^ "And the ARIA Award Goes To...". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014. 
  30. ^ "Awards History". AIR.org.au. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  31. ^ "2014 Winners - National Indigenous Music Awards". Musicnt.com.au. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  32. ^ "'I'm doing my music for my people': National Indigenous Music Awards 2015". ABC.net.au. 26 July 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  33. ^ "APRA History". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). Archived from the original on 20 September 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  34. ^ "Nominations > Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year – 2011". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). 2011. Archived from the original on 16 October 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2012. 

External links[edit]