MADDIE LUCY

“I got into music at a really young age, like I started taking professional lessons from the age of about eight. It’s been ingrained in me for a really long time I guess.”

With an extensive background in musical theatre and performance, a career in the music industry was always going to be the pathway for Melburnian up-and-comer Maddie Lucy.

The RSOM team were fortunate enough to chat to Maddie about growing up on the Mornington Peninsula, springboard diving and the release of her new single Letting Me Go. 

J: Hey Maddie, welcome to RSOM.
Would you be able to start by telling us a bit about your background?

M: “I grew up on the Mornington Peninsula, in Mt Eliza. When I was really young, I was involved in a lot of different things, not just music. My sister and I did springboard diving for a while, to the point where we thought that was going to be a serious path we were going to take. I guess you could probably say I never looked at taking the most conventional path no matter what. I got into music at a really young age, like I started taking professional lessons from the age of about eight. It’s been ingrained in me for a really long time I guess. I have an older sister and a younger brother, and we’re all very musical and entertainment-based. My dad also sings and my mum sung when she was younger as well. We’ve all tried our hand at it, and we all kind of started out doing music theatre first. My sister and I did that for a really long time, we really loved it. My brother tried it and was like ‘yeah no way’.”

 

J: Do you think your musical theatre background has helped shape elements of your artistry?

M: “Definitely. I’ve been performing since I was eight, so now performing in front of live audiences isn’t really something that scares me at all. It’s more just coming into a completely different side of the music industry which is the most daunting thing for me, because believe it or not, even though they’re both music, they’re totally different worlds. It’s been a massive learning curve for me, I’ve had to be really proactive in my research and finding out how everything works. Because I’ve always had the passion for writing my own songs, and I’ve always loved folk music, but it’s always been something I had done hidden away in my bedroom, just writing my own stuff. I decided to do something with it about a year or two ago, so it’s still new to me, but coming from the music theatre side has contributed to the style I do, it’s folk/singer-songwriter, sure, but sometimes it’s a little bit quirky and I like having those really pretty sounds sometimes, or big dramatic sounds sometimes. It’s something I’ve had to try and work on too as well. In music theatre, it’s so important to speak clearly and make sure everyone understands what you’re singing, and then in folk music, it’s almost a no-no to pronounce your words right, people don’t want to hear every single little detail of your voice. Sometimes it’s nice to have that raw, untrained sound in your voice, so I’ve had to tap back into that sound I had all those years ago.”

J: Was there ever a particular moment where you realised you wanted to pursue music professionally?

M: “I think I’ve always known in the back of my head that I’ll probably never be anything else but a musician or at least in the industry. I’ve tried other things- I studied media at RMIT straight out of school. I loved it and I’ve been able to use those skills, but the office 9-5 thing wasn’t for me. I’m a very creative person and I don’t want to be locked in an office staring at a computer screen. I’ve tried lots of other things, I did consider doing a law degree for a while, but I always just came back to wanting to do music.

J: When did you begin writing your own music?

 M: “I began writing music at about the age of 15. Back then I was just dabbling in it and kind of kept it hidden from everyone. It wasn’t until the end of 2015 and the very start of 2016 when I delved right into songwriting, and really give it a good go, so almost two years ago.”

 

 

J: Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?

 M: “Yeah I do! I can still play it, and I still think it’s one of the better ones. I don’t know what that says about me! It definitely needs work, but I think it has legs to become something. Maybe.”

J: Do you have a particular songwriting process?

 M: “It’s probably different with every song. Sometimes, I have lyrics I might’ve just written but most of the time it comes from me playing the guitar or piano and mucking around with melodies or tunes that sound pretty and force myself to sing along with them. Then I’ll work out if it’s not going to work, or if it’s a cool concept that I’ll start to explore.”

J: Was the process the same when you wrote Letting Me Go?

 M: “Letting Me Go was interesting. I had some lyrics for it, about three years before I actually wrote it- just some lyrics that I’d put down in the notes on my phone that I thought might be cool. Then I didn’t look at it for a really long time. I came back to it when my brother got a ukulele. I’d never really played one before, so I picked it up and started mucking around with it- it’s easy to do that. I started playing around with some chords and they sounded cool together, and something came out which was similar to what I had written down. I then realised that it could all work quite well together. It ended up being an easy one to write once I’d broken the back of it. It sort of came out after a while.”

J: What’s Maddie Lucy’s plan for 2018?  

M: “I’ve actually recorded a whole EP, just released the first single at the moment and hope to do a single launch. From there I’ll probably release another single, and then the EP. Hopefully in the meantime, people here it, and they like it.”

You can check out Maddie Lucy on:

Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Soundcloud 

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra

RSOM at Face The Music Summit Day 2: 24/11/2017

An aspiring music industry professional, today was my turn to take on the 2017 Face the Music Summit, and honestly, it was something I had been looking forward to all year.

It was a grey, cloudy day in Melbourne and the rain came sporadically, but that didn’t deter myself, other media professionals, industry professionals, or fans, from making the most of everything the Melbourne music industry had to offer.

Kicking off the day was the beautiful Stella Donnelly out on the Carpark Stage, next to St. Pauls (the hub for this year’s Melbourne Music Week). As someone who has been the 2017 definition of success, she gave everything she possibly could to those who were brave enough to face the light showers in the skies at 9:30 on a Friday morning. Her song writing is outstanding, as she manages to cover topics from AFL, to working in a bar, to the Perth lifestyle. She rounded out her set with her single Boys will be Boys, and let me tell you guys, that is a song that people will be talking about for years to come.

Following on from Stella, I managed to catch the legendary Mikey Cahill in his Let There Be Rock City conference. When it comes to music journalism, particularly in the Australian music industry, you really can’t go past Mikey. His Rock City column has been featured in nearly every single Sunday Herald Sun for the last 11 years, keeping Melburnians up to date with everything going on in the music world.

As an experienced journalist, he had a lot to say. As a journalism student trying to break out into the bigger world, I had a lot to take in. According to Mikey, persistence and sheer hard work is the key. Seems straightforward enough- get the experience, take the interviews and get the internships, but there had to be more. There had to be more Mikey could tell us about standing out from the crowd.

He recalled attending and reviewing Meredith Music Festival one year, and this particular story has stuck with me since. He discussed being vigilant, and being alert to what you could see around you – especially in the craziness that is a festival, what people were doing and what people were saying. The ever too-true quote “the easiest thing to do is to go to the event, the hardest thing to do is write the review” came out, but he made it clear that by incorporating every single element possible of an event, it’ll be far easier.

Mikey also discussed the importance of being open-minded when you write: stick true to it, but it’s okay to be wrong about something, and it’s okay to change your mind. His string of guests on the panel, mostly Melbourne-based musicians, spoke of the importance of appreciating live music, and the initiatives supporting live music, and also the importance of equality in the industry.

Staying seated in St. Paul’s Cathedral, we were then graced with the presence of three incredible female songwriters. Ali Barter, Gretta Ray and Stella Donnelly joined journalist Chris Johnston on the Songwriters in the Round panel. Each artist discussed the writing process of one of their biggest songs, and then gave the audience a live-and-intimate performance of that song. It was incredible to be able to connect directly with each song right after delving into it and obtaining intricate knowledge about how it came to life.

Stella took to the spotlight first, discussing Boys will be Boys. Having already heard it that morning, I was left wanting more. Chris turned to her and opened up the discussion, saying that “the content of this song is direct and confrontational.” And as I had just heard it, this couldn’t be more true.

Stella replied that at the time of writing, she was confused and angry about rape culture in society, but what started out as a release from this became something much bigger.

“The first line is the real story and the rest is a conversation around the culture,” she told the audience, “it goes beyond that one story.”

Stella defies the usual societal expectation in the song, going beyond discussing rape culture and sexual assault and actually using the word “rape” in it. She admitted to feeling powerful in being able to do so, as most artists tend to avoid using such direct and confrontational language, but she also believed that it was worth doing so.

“If you’re pissing someone off, you’re doing something right,” she said in regard to the response about the song being so blunt, right before performing it again for a second time that morning.

Less intense, but not less well-written or performed was Gretta Ray’s Towers. Gretta has had a phenomenal year, and only continues to grow and get better. She discussed Towers in relation to being overly invested in a relationship, and the negative consequences this dedication can have. It addresses putting people on a pedestal and thinking they’re wonderful, and the feeling in learning that this isn’t the case.

One particular element of Gretta’s writing that was discussed was her use of rhyming and alliteration, and her love of the English language. Chris couldn’t believe that a nineteen-year-old would use the term “lucent” in a song, but Gretta admitted that Towers wasn’t her first example of that.

Despite this, she finished the discussion saying that she doesn’t intend to always write this way, and is concerned that if she is constantly focusing on creating the perfect rhyme, or finding a fitting metaphor for what she’s trying to say, it will cause writers’ block. Her performance of the song was near-flawless, as Gretta generally is, and the echoing from the church only enhanced this more.

Ali was the last songwriter to take to the stage, and potentially the one I was most looking forward to. Ali gives her songs her all, she has a slight cheek about her and completely embodies the whole “look” that supports her music. She performed her track Please Stay, a tune that was stuck in my head for a few days after the event.

Ali described the song as basically “an apology for being a bitch.” She goes on to explain that she often finds it difficult to use the word “sorry,” as does most of Australian culture, but actually includes it in the song. She’s brutally honest, and lays it all on the line whilst staying true to herself. Her performance of the song was everything you’d expect from Ali Barter- fun, somewhat upbeat (despite being an apology track) and her incorporation of a cheeky offside only enhanced this.

The last panel I sat on for the day was at Taxi Riverside, on the Yarra River. Start Me Up: Home Truths on Starting a New Business in Music with Bona Fide Entrepreneurs covered everything to do with the business side of the industry.

This was one panel that any industry professional – present or future – should’ve been attending. Led by industry expert Leanne de Souza, the line-up included Parlour Gigs’ Matt Walters, Collective Artists’ Rebecca Young, The Hills are Alive Group’s Aidan McLaren, and Pixie Weyand of both The Zoo and Feed Music. I’m fairly certain there was something for everyone.

Whilst the professionals did a lot of talking, and had a lot of beneficial things to say, there were a few things that stood out to me above the rest:

  • You’re very rarely only going to do one thing if you’re in the business side of the music industry. Be prepared to be flexible.
  • Outsource though! You don’t have to do it all on your own. Find people that want the same things as you, and form partnerships with them. Two heads are better than one.
  • From an artist’s perspective, the business/art balance is one of, if not the most crucial factor in becoming successful.
  • Learn how to differentiate and consequently balance your company or organisation’s brand with your own brand.
  • How you present yourself, and how you treat other people, is everything in the industry.

The panel also discussed the money side of the business- something that can often be forgotten about in the music industry, but at the end of the day is the driving factor behind any of us working in any industry at all.

If you’re thinking of starting a business and are looking for a name, the guys recommend not to get too “trigger happy”. This means that a name doesn’t have to be rushed, and it doesn’t have to be the be-all-and-end-all. As they said, some of the best brands have the worst names. It’s also crucial to trademark search a name you’re wanting to use before you settle on it, so that you know it’s all good to be used.

When it comes to money, they recommend saving as much as you can, if you can. Keep your costs as low as possible, even if it means working from home. On that note; however, Leanne recommended to never work in your pyjamas, and get out of the house at least once for the day before you start working, if you are working from home.

“We’re way more productive in the office than we’d ever be from home,” Matt added.

That wrapped up what was a slightly-overwhelming, but positively beneficial day. I recommend the summit, and even Melbourne Music Week as a whole for anyone who works or is thinking of working in the industry because the knowledge I have gained from the guys who know best is second to none.

The Real Songwriters of Melbourne team would like to thank Music Victoria and all the team behind Melbourne Music Week and Face the Music for having us, and we hope to be back next year!

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra

RSOM at Face The Music Summit Day 1: 23/11/2017

Day one of Face The Music presented eager and aspiring talents in all facets of the music industry to join as a community and to hear from many different representatives in the music scene.

In Face The Music’s TENTH year, the beautiful St Paul’s Cathedral was the hub of the two day conference as well as for Melbourne Music Week.

As a member of the Melbourne music community both as a musician and a female in the music business world, there were three important key themes that stood out throughout the day.

1. USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO YOUR ADVANTAGE – FIND THE BALANCE BETWEEN A SALES POST AND AN ORGANIC POST. This was a major discussion in the first workshop titled “Meet Your Future Boss: Our Picks for Tomorrow’s Fearless Leaders.” Speakers featured Gloria Brancatisano, Music Editor of Beat Magazine, Alex Gleeson, Entertainment Manager of The Gasometer Hotel, Collingwood, Hip/Hop Rap artist, Mallrat, Georgia Cooke, Promotions Lead at Remote Control Records, and Charlotte Ried, Executive Assistant at Michael Parisi Management. “The key is not to always post about stuff that people can do for you,” explained Mallrat as she believes social media should be used to not only promote yourself but to share your personality and to engage in conversation.

One of the biggest mistakes in the music industry is that artists use social media just to advertise where they are playing so that they can get people to come to their shows, but as social media now plays a huge part in our everyday lives, artists should become more honest on socials and show their personality to their fans.

“Putting yourself out there and taking yourself out of your comfort zone is important,” said Alex Gleeson. He explained to the crowd that when applying to play at venues, it is like applying for a job. The applications that stand out are ones who show enthousiasm, initiative and dedication and doesn’t look like a copy and paste job.

The same applies when going for a job or internship. Don’t wait for Facebook to show you a job opening, call or email the company and express your interest as that shows that you are taking initiative for your learning regardless of your experience in the industry. For those who are under 18 and are wanting experience before stepping out into the real world, apply to volunteer at festivals and events so that you can meet people and build relationships from then.

2. USE SOCIAL MEDIA DATA TO HELP IMPROVE YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE Times have changed and social media is no longer something we should fear, but embrace. In the workshop titled, Building Blocks: How to Grow, Understand and Meet the Needs of your Audience, the panel highlighted that Melbourne has a massive audience out there who want to see live music on a regular basis.

The panel consisted of Yvette Myhill, Swan Hill Performing Arts, Harley Evans, Moshtix, Sally MatherCorner Hotel and Stacey Piggott, Secret Service.

Last year, Live Performance Australia survey results showed that 5.6 million people went to see a gig in 2016.

The panel encouraged artists to be proactive when putting on an event such as asking the venues for ticketing data after a show or doing their own publicity if they cannot afford a publicist.

If you know who your audience is, you can target your marketing to that specific group, whether it be female, 18 – 35 from the Northern Suburbs of Melbourne and use Facebook’s advertising functions to help you improve your reach. Or, why not use it for a completely different group to help spread the word and GROW your audience?

There are short tutorials on Facebook that you can watch under Facebook Blueprint that can help you utilise this great social media platform to spread the word as an artist.

3. THERE IS STILL NOT ENOUGH REPRESENTATION IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY OF FEMALES, AGE AND COLOUR.

There are a lot of females who are working in this music industry that are so good at their jobs and don’t get recognised. Georgia Cooke was one who stood out as the 22 year old Promotions Lead at Remote Control Records confesses that she left out her age on her resume as she had a fear that employers would immediately dismiss her application. “Diversity and representation is important,” said Cooke as the panel highlighted that we are still in a highly dominated male industry.

“Being young and a female is an issue that people should realise and push away,” said Mallrat as she discussed the idea of having more female sound engineers in the music industry. “Every female artist always records with a male sound engineer. It would be nice to have somebody that is like you.”

What should be commended is the equality of male and female speakers in each workshop today and how each workshop that I attended commended that. As a female, it is definitely refreshing and comforting hearing from successful females in the industry and gives hope to those who are struggling to find a job.

4. MENTAL HEALTH AND SUPPORT NETWORKS ARE KEY WHEN WORKING IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY. Working in the music industry is not a 9 to 5 job for most people, therefore it is important to take care of your mental health. If you are an artist, you could be on the road with little sleep driving for 2 hours at a time to a gig, or you could be an artist manager checking up on a client on the phone at 3am who is currently overseas on a US tour.

This theme again appeared in another workshop titled, The Manager’s Special with guest speakers Leigh Treweek, Owner of The Music Magazine, Charlotte Abromsfrom Hear Hear Group (Gretta Ray, Haarlo, Angie McMahon), Ellen Kirk from Lookout Kid (Courtney Barnett, Fraser A. Gorman, Jen Cloher) and Jim McKinnon from Team Trick (Dead Letter Circus, Mallrat)

This gave both musicians and music business individuals an insight into the life of these  managers as they work closely with household artists.

A manager is someone who is ultimately responsible for the direction of an artists’ career.  It is very important for an artist to have a relationship with their manager in order for the manager to bring out the best of the artist where possible.

“If you’re not taking care of your artist, then it becomes creatively stifling for them,” said. Charlotte Abroms.

Also, it is important for an artist to not just have a vision musically, but also as a person and know how they want to be represented so that their manager can lead them in the right direction.

All in all, the workshops gave music lovers an insight into the reality of our industry and really honed in a sense of belonging and community. It was a place where musicians could gain more knowledge and learn the necessary skills for them to implement into their career, no matter what side of the music industry they decided to take.

RSOM would like to thank Face The Music for having us this year and we hope to be involved next year!

Stay tuned for our review of Day 2 of Face The Music.

Written by Jena Marino

RECAP: THE 2017 AGE MUSIC VICTORIA AWARDS- 170 Russell, 22/11/17

The night started promptly, with a Welcome to Country. Following this, it was straight into the awards. The 2017 awards were claimed by both new and previous winners. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, The Teskey Brothers, and A.B. Original stole the show, each act winning multiple awards.

With prizes on the night ranging from a $20 000 Moshtix marketing package, to a Bakehouse rehearsal package, to a $2000 Virgin Australia travel voucher, and a $3000 cash prize generously donated by APRA AMCOS, the well deserving winners certainly did not go home empty handed.

The awards were split up into two categories, Genre and Public-Voted. The wider Victorian community were given the opportunity to have their say on their favourite Victorian artists, bands, live acts and venues. The Genre Awards were decided by a specialised panel of selected people from within the industry.

The full list of winners is below:

GENRE AWARDS

BEST BLUES ALBUM

Fiona Boyes: “Professin’ The Blues”

BEST COUNTRY ALBUM

Raised By Eagles: “I Must Be Somewhere”

BEST SOUL, FUNK, RNB, AND GOSPEL ALBUM

The Teskey Brothers: “Half Mile Harvest”

BEST JAZZ ALBUM

Brenton Foster: “The Nature of Light”

BEST HIP HOP ALBUM

A.B. Original: “Reclaim Australia”

BEST ELECTRONIC ACT

Client Liaison

BEST HEAVY ALBUM

Divide and Dissolve: “Basic”

BEST ABORIGINAL ACT

A.B. Original

BEST GLOBAL OR REGGAE ALBUM

Lamine Sonko and the African Intelligence: “Afro Empire”

BEST FOLK OR ROOTS ALBUM

The Mae Trio: “Take Care, Take Cover”

BEST EXPERIMENTAL / AVANT-GARDE ACT

Winter Sound School / Bridget Chappell

PUBLIC-VOTED AWARDS

BEST FESTIVAL

Meredith Music Festival

BEST REGIONAL VENUE (UNDER 50 GIGS PER YEAR)

Theatre Royal, Castlemaine

BEST REGIONAL VENUE (OVER 50 GIGS PER YEAR)

The Workers Club, Geelong

BEST VENUE (UNDER 500 CAPACITY)

The Tote

BEST VENUE (OVER 500 CAPACITY)

The Corner Hotel

BEST REGIONAL ACT

Cosmic Psychos

BEST LIVE BAND

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

BEST EMERGING ACT

The Teskey Brothers

BEST MALE ARTIST

Paul Kelly

BEST FEMALE ARTIST

Jen Cloher

BEST SONG

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: “Rattlesnake”

BEST BAND

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

BEST ALBUM

A.B. Original: “Reclaim Australia”

Concluding the awards ceremony was the induction of the late Tony Cohen into the Music Victoria Hall of Fame. Tony was a music producer and sound engineer, who over the course of his career worked with groups such as The Birthday Party, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. His induction was accompanied with a video, compiled of many people in the industry, including Molly Meldrum.

Emcees Chris Gill and Lyndelle Wilkinson did a wonderful job of keeping the audience engaged, and even accepted awards on a few artist’s behalfs. Wrapping up the ceremony, once again promptly, the Afterparty then kicked off.

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With MzRizk on the decks and performances from Archie Roache, Mojo Juju, Gretta Ray, Josh Teskey and more, and full sets from Cable Ties, Gold Class, and Harvey Sutherland and Bermuda, the crowd were up on their feet and dancing away the night. It was the perfect way to wrap up another year of music in Melbourne, demonstrating just how incredible and diverse the Melbourne Music Scene truly is.

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra 

Q&A with Mojo Juju

RSOM is thrilled to have a chat to one of Melbourne’s hottest names around town – Mojo Juju. Mojo will be one of many acts performing at this year’s The Age Music Victoria Awards After Party this Wednesday 22nd November and we are very privileged to have interviewed her prior to her performance.

J – Are you excited to play at this year’s Age Music Victoria Awards? What should we expect to see on the night?
M – Yeah! I’m super excited. It’s an amazing house band. I’m looking forward to playing latest single with a full band. I haven’t had the chance to do that yet.”

J – Tell us how Mojo Juju started. Where did the inspiration for the name come from?
M – “Well, it’s kind of a chicken or the egg scenario. My full name is Mojo Ruiz de Luzuriaga. Juju or Juje is a nickname I’ve had for a long time, so it kinda made sense.”

J – Have you always been a singer growing up? Who are your major inspirations for songwriting?
M – Yeah. I grew up in a very musical household. My grandparents were musicians and my mum too. Everyone is pretty deeply into music. My brother plays drums with me, as you may know. So yeah it’s been a lifelong thing.”

“My songwriting inspo comes from everywhere.  I’m big into lyrics so I’ve always been a Tom Waits fan. I’m a huge Frank Ocean fan too. But I’m also all about melodies, grooves and hooks so I think Michael Jackson and Bill Withers are big ones in that respect.”

J – How would you describe your sound and the music you create?
M – All OVER THE PLACE! Hahaha. I dunno. I try to avoid describing it cause I feel like that only ever works against me. I hate feeling stuck. I’m not interested in genres, I’m interested in good music. That being said, I definitely lean towards more soulful sounds and music with lots of feel rather than aggressive music, for sure.”

J – How long have you been working in the industry? What are some major lessons that you have learnt along the way?
M – I’ve been around a minute haha. Major lessons I’ve learnt include, head down, work hard and don’t expect shit. Be grateful but know your worth. Don’t worry about what’s on trend, just do what is authentic to you. That’s what people respond to most.”

J – Tell us about your favourite song that you have ever written? What is it about and why is it your favourite?
M – Hahaha. That’s a hard question. They’re like children; you can’t play faves (but you probably do in secret). Ok, at the moment my favourite song is on my upcoming album. It’s called 1000 Years and it’s about my Great Grandfather on my mum’s side, he was a Wiradjuri man… the rest of the story you will have to wait for.”

J – What are you working on at the moment?
M – I just finished recording an album, it should be out early 2018.

But I’m already writing new stuff so… stay tuned!”

RSOM will be live in all the action at this year’s The Age Music Victoria Awards 2017 at 170 Russell. There are tickets still available to the After Party where Mojo Juju will perform alongside Gretta Ray, Archie Roach The Teskey Brothers and more. Tickets are available here.

Written by Jena Marino

Q & A with NORTH EASTON

Stepping away from the Melbourne scene, the Real Songwriters of Melbourne team have been fortunate enough to work with and assist seasoned Canadian singer-songwriter North Easton on his journey into the Australian music scene.

Having played his first ever show in Australia at The Workers’ Club last week, North is our featuring guest at the inaugural RSOM song writers workshop. With years of experience as a song writer, and an impressive list of accomplishments, we have no doubt his expertise and knowledge will enlighten and inspire up-and-coming Melbourne artists.

We managed to catch up with him for a quick chat, to discuss his first impressions of Melbourne, and what it takes to become an established songwriter.

 

J: Hey North, welcome to RSOM! If you don’t mind, I’ll just get you to start the interview off by giving me a bit about your background?
N: “I’m a son of a welder and stay at home mom in a small little town on Vancouver Island in British Columbia Canada. I turned to music as an escape from the mounting challenges in my world. Song writing started immediately, even as young as 6 years old I was making up my own songs. They (the songs) seemed great at the time, but of course looking back, they were pinnacle in the channelling of emotional release through lyric and melody.”

J: How did your music journey begin?
N: “My new music journey, the one that truly started me on the path happened after my son was born. As I had a couple times in my life before, by the time I turned 17, I needed to find a vent for the build up of things in my life that I seemingly could not control. I started taking the guitar much more seriously around 19 and put together my first project, which was called Garrity, when I turned 22. By then I had already written over 100 songs..”

J: Do you have a particular method or process you use when songwriting?
N: “Being a teacher of songwriting as well as a student, I am constantly seeking out different directions to come at the process. Lyrics first, Music first, Melody first, Idea all thought out…I circle around all of these approaches. And then sometimes, like lightning, it just hits and I have to grab my guitar and let out whatever has been cooking in my head and heart that needs a life of its own.”

J: Are there any themes you often find yourself writing about?
N: “Although I believe I tap into many, many themes when I write, it is fair to say that for the most part, my music has an inspirational component. Many of my songs have been written as almost pep talks to myself to take the world on ahead of you. I have literally more than 50 songs about getting back up and fighting through the challenges that lay ahead of me.”

J: Who are the musicians that you look up to?
N: “I can’t say that I have ever been a die-hard fan to any musician or writer; however, I am always pulled into a great song- something that covers the gamut when it comes to emotion. Don McLean is one of my favourite songwriters. Adam Duritz, from the Counting Crows, sings with a passion and a feel that I am drawn to over and over again. The soul of Tracy Chapman, and the honesty she releases in her lyrics is truly inspiring. Dave Matthews and his phrasing, as well as his acoustic chops. But, this is a constant evolution for me as I am now writing for and with many artists for their songs and albums and that puts a whole new spin on what and who I look up to.”

J: What is the Canadian singer-songwriter scene like in comparison to Melbourne? How are you finding Melbourne?
N: “So far, I find that Canada and Australia have a very similar vibe when it comes to the scenes. Songwriters are a breed and we are all over the world. Nashville for example is the largest gathering of songwriters I have ever seen, but they all have the same inner heart and hope that brings them back to the page to turn out a great tune. I love Melbourne. Great energy, good vibes, awesome people. Driving on the other side of the road is always a little bit of mind mess, but other than that, I’m truly digging it.”

 

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J: What drew you to wanting to come to Melbourne?
N: “A friend of mine from Australia, who tours in Canada, told me Australia was the place to be. So when planning this international tour, I reached out and found that there were many people in the area and beyond who wanted to help me put together this tour. That made it much easier. It’s a long way to come for a month, but I’m only a week or so in and have a ton of amazing experiences so far that will no doubt find their way into future songs.”

J: What was the writing and recording process like for your album One of the Lucky Ones?
N: “When I was choosing the songs for One of the Lucky Ones, I started with over 100. I narrowed that down to 60 songs, and then to 40, and then finally to 25. At that point, I reached out to some close friends and trusted mentors in the music industry to get valuable feedback on the 25 and which ones should make the album. Working with my producer, Jay Lefebvre, on the album was an incredible experience. He was easy going, and very talented.”

J: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
N: “I have been fortunate to play on some pretty cool stages with some huge Canadian stars. I have played in front of 30,000 people, and won over $100,000 in competitions. The highlight for me was when I found out that a bunch of camp counsellors who came to my show once, were singing along to one of my tunes- word for word. They told me afterwards that they sing one of my songs at the campfire to all of the summer camp kids every night before heading to bed. There is nothing bigger than knowing people have been impacted by something you have created.”

J: What advice do you have for up and coming singer-songwriters, such as the ones that will be attending the event this coming Thursday?
N: “My advice is quite simple- continually evolve. Human beings have 6 basic needs in life, with the two most important being contribution and growth. Always give back and help others, and strive to continue growing at what you love to do. Find a mentor, someone who has been down the roads you want to travel on. Chase them, and learn from what they have done to get where they are. Oh, and make sure you love it because of your heart, and not some cloudy dream of financial success. The music industry is a difficult beast to navigate, but song writing is the best job on the planet- in this writers opinion.”

 

North will be contributing to The Real Songwriters of Melbourne’s first ever songwriters workshop, held this coming Thursday at Wick Studios. The workshop, which has since sold out, will give budding songwriters the chance to work with a knowledgable, experienced songwriter, such as North. For more information about the event, go here.

Follow North Easton on:
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Written by Jordyn Hoekstra

REVIEW: THE HUNTER EXPRESS SINGLES LAUNCH – NEWMARKET STUDIOS, NORTH MELBOURNE (19/10/2017)

Recording studios are actually my favourite place to go to as a musician. I love the smell, I love the slick finesse look of the mastering studio, the desks and if I wasn’t working 5 jobs, I would be a sessions singer, HANDS DOWN.

So, I was very excited when Brad Ellis aka The Hunter Express told me that the venue for his show was at the very place he recorded his album.

I was also so excited to see Lauren O’Meara’s artwork in the vicinity of Newmarket Studios. Upon arrival, a GORGEOUS display of Lauren’s work was on display for all spectators and it created such a nice, homey vibe to the event.

What was so cool about this venue was the setup for the performers and for the audience. It was as if we were watching The Hunter Express record his album right there and then with engineer, Callum Barter in the studio testing all the levels and recording as we go.



Another really cool element was that the audience can watch the show from different rooms of the studio. Punters could grab a beanbag and lie down in the same room as the band with a beer in hand, or sit with Callum in the studio and watch in the eyes of the engineer, or in other parts of the studio. This interactive element was such a cool experience for us!

Jess De Luca was up first with her soothing melodies. Introducing us to some fresh tunes which will appear on her forthcoming EP, to be released soon, a notable track was Lucifer. What I loved about her set was her honesty and vulnerability coming through as her acoustic tunes and vocals were a perfect mix, you don’t need anything more. I am definitely looking forward to seeing her debut EP in fruition.

The man of the hour, The Hunter Express was so excited to jump on stage, you could feel the excitement! Performing with such class, the audience got an exclusive listen to the tracks that will appear on his forthcoming self-titled album, to be released on November 17. Of course, he played new singles, I Really Like Holding Your Hand and Cool and the audience kept smiling and smiling throughout the set.

What I love about The Hunter Express is his ability to tell stories through song as they bring such a personal connection to the audience. For me, the introduction of spoken word really touched me with one song specifically talking about memories of Brad’s father and when he bought his first guitar. The song also spoke about the financial hardships of music but we do it for love and it emphasised the passion and love that we as musicians have for our work.

I am so excited for the world to hear the upcoming debut album and I hope you will be as well. It has been a pleasure working with Brad on this release and I wish him all the best with his upcoming Parlour tour around VIC/NSW and the album release.

Written by Jena Marino