Sydney pop duo Jess Dunbar and Matt Price -- a couple in life as well as on the stage -- became a sensation on the 2015 season of Australia's X Factor. Eventually finishing in third place, they swiftly landed a deal with Sony, releasing their debut album in 2015. Dunbar and Price both grew up in the Sydney suburbs and met while enrolled at the JMC Academy, a performing arts school. They became an item but did not form their musical duo until later, initially launching separate solo careers. Dunbar's solo work was in an indie folk vein; she turned heads with her "maple syrup" voice, and was compared to Tori Amos and Feist. Price's solo material had a soulful indie rock sound. By the time he was in his early twenties, he was already a seasoned stage veteran, having played nearly a thousand gigs. In 2014, the pair decided to team up musically, playing low-key shows around Sydney as a duo before being accepted onto The X Factor the following year.
Despite pressure from the producers, they refused to exploit the fact of their romantic relationship to win viewers, expressing disbelief that the public would be interested in their private life. Their decision to make it all about the music paid off, making them fan favorites and taking them all the way to the final, where they performed their self-penned song "Nothing Matters." Ultimately they finished in third place, but nevertheless landed a deal with Sony. Their debut single for the label was the aforementioned "Nothing Matters," whose epic, piano-led pop sound recalled Sara Bareilles. Their self-titled debut album followed in late 2015, composed largely of covers in customary X Factor fashion. The following year they returned with a new single, "Bones," straying even farther from their indie roots with an electropop sound. ~ John D. Buchanan