Song writing

Melbourne Awaits!

I hope you are all well and thriving or at the very least surviving the current ever changing times that we are in. Yeah I know it really is challenging but I guess we have to find ways to see what we DO have. For example I have a roof over my head, running clean water, power, food and am safe and I can still afford wine and chocolate on a Friday night which puts me in the top 5% on the planet, so in that context I am thriving :O).  However, if I jump into the context of not being able to travel as easily and the difficulty booking gigs, the decimation of the live music industry, well that’s a whole different story…..it’s not quite the end of the world but it’s getting close 😁. Yeah ok that was a bit dramatic but some days it feels like that so that is when I have to go back to my lucky to be in the top 5% posi

Me getting the admin done

After a 6 mths break from doing gigs I have now started booking again. I am keen to get out there playing again, although I say this as the latest reports are showing surges in COVID cases across the country.  Gigs don’t just pop up out of the blue, there is a lot of work to do behind the scenes, unless you are well known of course. For the sea of singer songwriters out there such as myself, there is a lot of chasing up to do and more…… It’s a very competitive area to work and even more so if you are female but I am not going to go there today, because if I use that as my excuse I will never get things happening. I won’t deny that being a woman in this industry has it set backs but I am changing tact today. I am going to look for the benefits and forge my way forwards. It’s important because there aren’t many of us and I have an opportunity to offer something to the up and coming young female musicians. They CAN NOT BE what they CAN NOT SEE.❤️

There is a huge amount that goes on behind the scenes for musicians and artists and the picture above is to show you that I do spend a lot of time on my laptop. Yeah OK it’s not that bad but I was short of photos for this blog post so I felt an up and close of me doing the not so glamorous work would fit the bill 😁.  It’s Monday lunchtime and I am still in my PJs getting all those emails and promo’s done.😁

So what is it that we have to do?

Phone venues to ask for gigs (it’s so hard!), then write emails with our bio, attach links to our work. You have to have examples of live performance to share and your social media pages. We have to keep our social media pages active and updated all the time. I have recently been calling venues in Melbourne to play a few gigs there so I need to make sure that they can see that I do have “something to offer”. It’s not easy to promote yourself and your creative work, most artists are not comfortable with this aspect of life as a creative but we have to do it. I then make contact with radio shows that play my genre of music and send them my latest releases and sometimes I get an interview or get asked to go into the studio to play a few tunes.

I have a long bio and a short bio that I send depending on what’s needed. Just one bio isn’t enough though because there are always variations depending on the venue. Recently I have been applying for Festivals which need to be done at least 6 to 10 months in advance. You have to put your expected fees which could be the make or break of getting the gig. Many musicians who really want to play may undercut themselves which undervalues the work of all musicians. However, I am not going to be too critical of this because I really don’t know what the answer is. Many people will say we love what we do and don’t mind playing for free which is not true of course, yes we love what we do but it doesn’t mean we can afford to not get paid or to be grossly underpaid. The arts is undervalued across the board and the whole culture of this country and of how important art is viewed and received needs to to change.

Anyway how did I get here?

I am supposed to be telling you about my upcoming gigs in Melbourne but first I want to thank Michael Crichton from 94.1 fm 3WBC radio Melbourne for playing my recent releases “Pledge my Soul” and “He’s My Brother” on two of his shows this week. I say recent releases because in these COVID times it has been much more difficult to release tracks due to the lack of opportunities to perform so I am going keep these as “recent” to make up for the lost time. 😁

Upcoming gigs

As stated in the heading of this post I am heading to Melbourne again, just for a couple of weeks but I do have some gigs booked in. The first one is a House Concert on Sunday August 7th. I will be sharing the evening with the lovely Cate Taylor who is an Indi folk singer songwriter, we are going to be doing an intimate concert at a friends house,  Jo & Dave’s, who are wonderful hosts living in Parkville. There are very limited seats s if you would like to join us please email me [email protected]. The tickets are $20 (supper and drinks are provided).

Tuesday 9th I will be playing at Open Studio for a dinner and music evening from 6.30pm – 8.30pm. It is going to be a bonus Tuesday free event, get your tickets from Eventbright to book a spot at this dedicated music venue in Northcote. Here is the facebook event.

Then on Thursday 18th August I will be playing for the Writers Block at the The Lomond Hotel which I am also really looking forward too.

If you would like to purchase any of my tracks please download them from Bandcamp and please also subscribe to my Youtube page where you can be updated on any new videos or play the ones already uploaded. Last but not least you can also follow my music page on Facebook where I will always keep you updated where I am playing or you can go to “Upcoming gigs” on this site.❤️

NEW RELEASE “He’s My Brother”

It’s here my new release “He’s My Brother” recorded at Soundbaker studio by Rob Agostini. I am absolutely delighted with the results and you can download it from Bandcamp or stream it on spotify. Also please subscribe to my Youtube page.

It’s my first release since moving up to the big smoke last year. I have been a bit reticent about going through the recording process since moving to Perth because I wanted to find the right person for the job. I was spoilt in Denmark for 9 years where I had the privilege of working with Tony King and other amazing local musicians in my home studio. Al Smith from Bergerk studio would come down to Denmark WA for the weekend and we would spend the whole time recording, it was fluid, spontaneous and so much fun. When you step into the studio you need to be with people that you can trust with your creation. However, us creatives who fall into the category of musician and songwriters all have our own ideas about what we want to achieve and of course there is the ego to deal with too. I always found my time in the studio, supportive, inspiring and extremely productive so of course I wanted to find the same for my new work. I was fortunate to find Rob Agostini who is an incredible musician, technician and producer and all round nice guy who really does know how to listen.

We worked in the studio for  2 half days and here are the results:

“He’s My Brother” was written quite spontaneously, while spending time observing the daily suffering of one of the refugees who stayed with me for a short time. He was detained on Manus Island Papua New Guinea for 6 years and then medivaced here to Australia where he was locked up for a further 2 years in a hotel in Brisbane with 120 others. He came to stay with me to gain his feet and get some support to live in the world again. I was shocked at the suffering that he had personally experienced and at that he had witnessed, all in the hands of the Australian Government. The Government that I put faith in each day to live a “free” and “democratic life” and to do the right by us and others.  The grace and gratitude that he showed me was humbling and I felt compelled to document that experience hence the creation of “He’s My Brother” (Thank you Ahmad).

What’s Next?

What is next? Well I do have another single to release early next year and I am currently writing a grant to record an EP next year. Grants are a long process and it takes a huge amount of energy to find the right information to put forward. It’s kind of a creative process because you have to think outside the box and come up with creative ideas but it’s also very left brain, logical, sequential jumping through hoops kind of pull your hair out stuff to. It doesn’t seem fair that we have to go through such a process and I always think about those who maybe have an incredible amount of creativity and enthusiasm but just don’t have the grant writing acumen. Anyway I will do my best and let’s see what happens. I want to go back to Soundbaker studio and I have a couple of amazing musicians friends lined up to join me and some great ideas brewing so I will keep you posted on that.

Next Year!

Next year I am hoping to start touring again but I am not sure when but I will definitely keep you all posted. It might be later in the year but I might do a quick visit in the first quarter. It’s all dependent on whether or not I get the grant. If I don’t get it I will organise a tour earlier but if I do it will probably be later. I am so keen to get back over East to play music again but it’s all a bit difficult at the moment and almost impossible to plan anything so a little more patience is required.

I am keeping this update short and sweet this time so wishing you all an amazing seasonal break and lots of beautiful moments with family and friends and keep safe. See you in the NEW YEAR!

 

Spring into September

My last update was at the beginning of July and I can’t believe two months have passed. It’s been a very busy few months but I couldn’t for the life of me tell you what I have actually done.

RECORDING

However, I did get some more recording booked in which was very exciting. The song I am recording is called “Pledge my soul” and I wrote it last year during lockdown. “Pledge my Soul” is a reflection of my experience with the refugees that I met on Manus Island and the ongoing fight for their freedom. David Hymans is an established singer songwriter in his own right and a dab-hand at recording too. He has a studio in his home very close to where I live and so far we have put down all the tracks except percussion which I still need to make a decision on. As soon as it is finished I will be keen to release it into the ether.

PERTH LIFE AS A MUSO

I have been living up in the big smoke for the past 12 months now and apart from doing my “Music Talks” events to raise awareness about  refugees and  few other gigs, I haven’t really established myself in the Perth music scene yet so that is my next mission. Although working with Jason and getting a duo started took up a significant chunk of my time last year and we were just starting to book gigs when Jason found work getting too demanding to continue.

I am keen to getting booking gigs now though and I am actively seeking other keen musos to work with. A duo or trio would be great so let’s see how that goes. I have to admit I have been having a few struggles with with taking the next step to out there again into the scene. It was relatively easy down in the Great Southern and touring over east made a big difference to. It’s always easier when you are on road travelling to different places with your music and going blindly. However, trying to establish yourself on your home ground is more of a challenge, or maybe it’s not and that’s just my experience. I do believe being a woman in a male dominated industry also has it’s holdbacks but I am not going to let that get the better of me and I have decided it’s time to pick myself up and get on with it.

JALAL AND “CROSS TO BEAR”

You may remember me talking about Jalal Mahamede in my last update. Jalal (refugee from Ahwaz, Iran) is still stuck in detention.  I have regular contact with him and we often discus different ways to raise awareness about the situation of the 71 men still detained by the Australian Government. A song that I played at every gig from 2016 and always dedicated to the refugees stuck on Manus and in Nauru is called “Cross to Bear”.  I spoke to Jalal and asked him permission to feature his artwork (story) in the video with that song. He agreed so below is the end result. Please check out the words in the middle during the solo, they are profound and written by Jalal.

WOMEN IN MUSIC 

I do have some other very exciting news but I have to wait a few weeks before I can reveal that. Once I get the OK from the industry body involved I will be able to share all the juicy info. However, I will give you a few clues. Australian Indepenent Recording Label (AIR) put out a call for applications of interest to women across the music industry sector to apply for an opportunity to be mentored. The mentor will be someone who is already established in their career in the music industry sector. I of course put an application and I have just found out who my mentor is going to be……so I promise I will do my next update very soon and let you all know who that is and what it means for me in my music career.

Wecome 2021

Phew!! At last the New Year is here !!

Wow! What a year it was and in all honesty I really don’t know what the next 12 mths holds for me personally and musically. However, I do know that I will continue to make music, play music, sing my songs and fight for human rights. They are all one…..creativity is what gives me purpose and asking the difficult questions is what I do best, and I guess I thrive on the challenges that all of that brings.

Musical Shenanigans

The past few weeks I have been playing at a variety of venues and the most recent gig was at Gypsy Tapas House in Fremantle. It’s a great venue and they have delicious food there and they are passionate about original music. So they tick all the boxes but there is a downside and that is that they don’t pay their musicians. You do get a meal and free drinks and the PA is supplied but playing music for 2 hours and not getting paid is quite a big downer. I am not sure what is going to happen in the music industry and I do remember being warned on many occasions that getting paid in Perth was not easy. I haven’t approached enough venues yet to see if that is true but I have played at a few recently and the top dollar so far was $150 for 2 hours which is still below the recommended rate of $100 per hour of playing time. If you have spent years learning songs and are practising most days and you turn up an hour early to set up it turns out to be not a huge amount of money per gig. However, I won’t let little problems like that get in the way of things lol.

Recording

I decided to get back into recording and now that I am in Fremantle I have to find someone to record with. I was going to go through someone I know in Kalamunda which is a bit of a hike but then Tony King (who I usually record with) recommended David Hymans who lives just up the road, so it was perfect. He’s a great artist and has a recording studio and recently produced an album for Bernard Carney called Feathers and Tributes.  It’s not easy finding the right person because you need to feel comfortable with them and I need to also know that they are going to compliment what I do as a folk singer songwriter. There are many great producers around but it was nice to know that David was right here in Freo. We put down the first track a few weeks ago and we will have a go at getting the song finished next week. I will keep you posted on that one.

Denmark Arts Markets

January 23rd at 10am I am playing a the Denmark Arts Markets. I am so looking forward to going back down to my favourite place on earth. I love the big stage of the Denmark Arts Markets, the sound is always awesome and it’s such a buzz, although being ready for 10am could be a bit of challenge for me lol. Next up I will be preparing for Nannup!!

“Music Talks” Events

I have also decided to get stuck into more music talks events. The refugees that were medivaced here in 2019 are still stuck in hotels and detention centres. They are sick and it is very obvious now that the government is keeping them there out of spite, because they lost the medivac legislation that brought them here. It’s disgusting, punitive and arbitrary and I am ashamed to live in a nation that claims to be a member of the UN and yet carries out gross abuse of human rights on the most vulnerable people in the world. I have already phoned lots of community groups and churches and have a few bookings so looking forward to that in coming months.  Here is the bio that I have been sending to the groups to give them an understanding of what I have been doing the past 3 or so years. If you are in the Perth region or anywhere in WA for that matter and you want me to come to your community to do a “Music Talks” event please contact me [email protected] I have had a fantastic response at every single event that I have done. I do it all voluntarily and it is purely to raise awareness through song and spoken word. 

 

Post Tour then WAM nominee!

It’s been a crazy few months. My “Manus Music Talks” events went unbelievably well and I think the worst thing that happened was leaving my purse at a servo and finding out the next day 2 hrs down the road, then sleeping in a caravan with giant spiders….. apart from that it was all good. lol…. I started in Kuranda QLD and drove down the coast stopping at Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Yeppoon, MacKay, Cooran, Brisbane, Ballina, Port McQuarie, Newcastle, Gosford and Sydney. I grabbed a car in Cairns and did approx 3,000 kms which was incredible and I never imagined that I would get through it all in the 4 weeks I had. I met the most amazing people and they were so generous in the way they took on the job of organising the events and giving me a room for the night and sometimes 2 nights. Cairns for Refugees were the first group to host me and the Uniting Church in Kuranda.

My next stop was the Townsville Cultural Fest where I released my new EP “Can’t Let Go”. It was an incredible weekend and I met so many amazing people and it was wonderful to catch up with Farvardin again who is the person doing all the behind the scenes work of this great event.  Something I noticed as I drove down the coast was how dry it was, very dry and it surprised me because even though I knew there was a drought in Queensland I didn’t think it be that bad and that it would stretch the coast too.

The Greens Keppel

My next stop was Rockhampton and Yeppoon where I did performances for The North Rockhampton Uniting Church group and the Greens Keppel.  There are many many people doing a huge amount of work behind the scenes when it comes to the refugees in offshore and onshore detention and I can’t believe that between us all that we haven’t managed to find a way to end this disgusting policy. People should never be detained for no crime and especially for 7 years. 

Ballina for Refugees

Ballina for Refugees, Rik and me

My next stop was Cooran and then Ballina where I did a performance for Ballina Region for Refugees and a small refugee group in Cooran. I played songs from my previous album and my recently released EP. The most important one was a song called “In My Name” which I wrote last year. I wrote it because I thought change was coming and I imagined that the election would bring change…..HOW WRONG I WAS :O(  This song is about acknowledging that people are coming together and that change is coming so I play this near to the end of the performance and get everyone to sing the chorus with me…it’s the best feeling when everyone joins me. :o)

The photos above are of my gig at the Ballina Region for Refugees they were amazing and it was lovely to stay with Rik and Lisa Dillon.

My next stop was Brisbane where I did one in Hawkesbury with the Redland for Refugees and once again I was hosted by a lovely couple and a great venue was organised. When I organised this tour I really had no idea how it would all go and I didn’t know if it would have the desired outcome. My goal was to tell the story of how I got involved and how I had used my art (music and songs) to bring awareness to the issue and spread the word. I wanted to show everyone that they too have a voice and that we are in a position of power. I write folk songs and in the true traditional sense folk music is about activism and I love that part of it and I love having a purpose for my songs that is more than entertainment alone.  I had an incredible response from every single performance and it went way beyond my expectations.

Qassim and me

While in Brisbane I spent some time visiting the refugees that I had helped to get to Austraia via the Medivac Bill. They were all incredibly sick but it was so nice to see them smile and to spend a bit of time with them. Here is Qassim from Iraq, he spent 6 years on Manus and was tortured by ISIS. He had 11 bones in his body broken. He was incredibly sick when I saw him on Manus and here he is now looking so much better. I wrote “We Live and We Die” with another refugee called Kazem after visiting Qassim in the Lorengau hospital on Manus. I will be doing a professional studio recording of this song at the end of November. He is still in detention here in Australia and who knows how long the government will keep them there.

After Brisbane I went down to Port Macquarie then Newcastle and then Gosford. The Port Macquarie was with the Mid North West Refugee Group and Newcastle was organised by Niko at the Hunter Asylum Seekers group. Once again the events were organised beautifully and I was hosted by so many wonderful people all working really hard behind the scenes. My next stop was Sydney where I did my final two performances, one with the Hawkesbury Rural Australian for Refugees group and the other was actually at a music venue which was a bit novel for this tour… lol…… It was lovely to meet Geoff and Sue who hosted the Hawkesbury event and I really don’t want to miss anyone out because I was so well looked after by so many lovely people. The venue in Crows Nest was called Street Market Asian Tapas Bar and Restaurant and I had a lovely night there too. I was also very happy to be at the tail end of my tour. I was exhausted and really enjoyed my last few days with my very good friend in Sydney.

WAM Nomination

I had the shock of my life a week or so ago when I found out that I had been nominated for the category of “Best Regional Act” for WAM (West Australian Music). I have worked really hard in my music career and I had no idea how hard it actually was when I first started. I never really intended to take it this far but I just love it. Each time I say to myself well that’s it now I’ve done more than I could possibly have imagined, it’s time to get back into normal life but I can’t do that because I have learned in the last 8 years that this is normal life for me….the roller coaster of writing songs, performing, recording and touring. I love it wouldn’t change it for the world.

I received an invitation to the WAM Awards evening for October 31st so I am really looking forward to that. It says leave your ripped jeans at home so it looks like I might have to dress up a bit. :O)

Perth Royal Show

So far October has been extra busy with a gig at the Perth Royal Show and then I have a house concert in Northam for friend and Radio Presenter Allen Tonks. His partner Lisa is celebrating her 50th Birthday. Then I will be going up to Perth for the awards night. Well that’s it from me folks and I look forward to my next update soon.

 

 

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