Born in Mexico but raised in Australia, Malisha Jupiter was exposed to hip-hop when American rappers became a fixture on Australian radio in the '90s. After impressing her high-school friends with her ability to sing along with those songs on the radio, she penned her first original rhyme at the age of 14. Four years later she was attending the same club every weekend, trying to talk the promoter into letting her on-stage. Eventually he caved in and gave Maya Jupiter -- her Turkish mother suggested the name to reflect the Mayan side of her heritage -- her first opportunity to perform in front of a crowd. From there she went on to become the host of the RNB Superclub, Sydney's largest R&B/hip-hop club night. In 2001 she won the Big Day Out MC Battle and appeared in the film Lantana, playing a dance instructor. At that point she had begun recording songs in a piecemeal fashion, but it would not be until 2003 that her debut album, Today, would be released on Mother Tongues, an independent label focusing on female performers. That year she joined Channel V as the host of their Soul Kitchen program and also joined the salsa-jazz band Son Veneno, though she remained behind when they relocated to England. A year later, Jupiter, who had previously hosted Alchemy on SBS radio, became the host of the weekly hip-hop show on Triple J, a national radio station largely responsible for helping Australian hip-hop coalesce into a unified scene. Along with DJ Nick Toth and MC Trey, she formed a group called Foreign Heights, releasing an album of the same name in 2007. Featured guests on the album included Mystro and Macromantics, with production handled by KutMasta Kurt, New Zealander P-Money, and Mr. Zux. ~ Jody Macgregor
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