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Birthday update!

NEW RELEASE

Yep! tomorrow it’s my BIRTHDAY so I decided to centre this update around that folks! 😁  It’s not even a big birthday but what the heck who needs an excuse. 😂

Tomorrow February 18th I am releasing a new track “Pledge my Soul”.

This song has been in the making for quite an extended period of time but I am happy with the end result and very excited about releasing it now. Each of my works in the past few years have been created in response to my dismay at the situation that has been unfolding for the past 9 years with regards to the refugees detained, some offshore and some here in Australia. For those of you who have been following my story you would be aware that I visited Manus Island twice and that I have created strong connections with many of the refugees who were detained there. I have also engaged in activism on many levels to push for a change in the policy, and to put pressure on the government to release the refugees. They are all very sick and extremely traumatised from the harsh treatment of detention for so many years. So “Pledge my Soul” is my offering this time.  David Hyams is the mastermind behind the production including that awesome slide guitar that you can hear and thanks to Gregory Brenton for the great drum tracks.

 

WOMEN IN MUSIC MENTORSHIP 

I have been fortunate enough to have participated in a the Women in Music mentorship program organised by Australian Independent Recording Label and I must say it has really helped me to keep my head above water during this very difficult time. I have participated in many online workshops but most importantly I was offered a real life mentor Angie Hart. She has been such a great support and instrumental in my new motivation to continue on this journey I started 11 years ago. We talk once a month and about everything musical and all the issues we face as women artists, of a certain age, in an industry very much dominated by men. I find the conversations liberating and inspiring. Liberating because I suddenly feel like I am not alone and that the thoughts and feelings that I often hold about myself are very common, bordering normal for all artists. Eureka what a revelation 😍

Much of our talk also includes the concept authenticity because as an artist and musician, it can be very easy to be lead down a creative path that that is not inline with our truth. I constantly find myself asking is this really what I want, or am I just being swept up in a moment, of what others may expect from me or what I think I want?

Another way this issue comes up is in the recording studio, but it is a different format. When I go into a studio with producers or musicians who are more experienced than I am, I tend to hand over the power to them, because I think their ideas are better, because they have the experience of course. They obviously do have far more technical ability than I do but their ideas are theirs. So when it comes to creativity I really need to stand with my own ideas, because they are authentic to me, and that authenticity is what I am trying to achieve.

Having said this I need to point out that in my early years of writing and recording songs I absolutely needed the guidance, expertise and creative ideas from those around me who had more experience. I will be forever grateful to my mentor who supported me unconditionally throughout the first 8 yrs of this journey, he taught me how to trust myself when it came to my art.

So that’s where I am now, ready to forge my own path and stay solid in my creative process and follow through to the very end, that which I want to achieve. Like many musicians and artists I tend to doubt my abilities, this phenomenon is often called the “imposters syndrome”. I have spent a lifetime trying to shake off those doubts. Talking to Angie really does help me to understand that it’s absolutely normal for many artists which is a huge relief. So with all that in mind there’s no excuses now, so gloves on and sleeves up and on with the work. 

PLEDGE MY SOUL VIDEO

The last thing to report on this update is my new video. I had an idea for the video but I had no idea how I was going to make it come together. In the end I bought a small stand to hold my phone, then taped it to a speaker so that I could have it hovered above the paper I wrote on. I took lots of short videos of my hand, writing the lyrics and kaboom here it is folks!

 

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!

 

2021 Final Quarter

Women in Music Mentee and Mentorship announced

Hi there folks I hope you are all going well wherever you may be located across the planet. I have been incredibly busy as usual and I have made a lot of headway into making new connections up here in the big smoke for future musical endeavours.

I mentioned to you last month about the incredible opportunity that I had been offered by Australian Independent Record Label with their Women in Music mentor mentee program. Last month my mentor was revealed to me and we have already had our first Skype meeting. Angie Hart was selected to be my mentor for 6 months, which was so exciting to hear. Angie’s band Frente had a huge amount of success in the early 90s, but Angie didn’t stop there she has since released 3 albums and is currently working on her fourth. For me it was important to be connected to a female artist because I wanted to be able to identify with her journey as a woman in the Music Industry.

The whole purpose of the program is to empower women in the music industry. It’s a great program and I really enjoyed our first meeting. We talked about music, and about being a woman in the industry and many other aspects of being in an industry that is at times not the easiest to navigate. However, Angie also expressed how far we had come since she started out so that was good to hear too.

Recording

I have almost finished the song that I was recording with David Hyams and I am very happy with the results so far. Just a few more tweaks here and there then I can work on a release date.

However, I have also been recording with Rob Agostini at SoundBaker Studio. I had another song that needed to be recorded and with David being such a busy man I sought out another option.

I am super happy to have found Rob and his set up is amazing. The song is called “He’s My Brother” and it’s a very special song and quite different to my usual format but I am soooo excited about it and can’t wait to release it. 

We spent two full four hour sessions in the studio to lay down the tracks. Rob was an absolute pleasure to work with, he got a great sense of what I was trying to achieve  and came up with some awesome ideas.

I am going to work on a video and the release date will be announced very soon.

I have also been busy going out and meeting other muso’s and doing a few open mics. I have a few gigs lined this month, one with the Jackadders Music Club where I will be playing a set alongside Jim McGuire and the other one is at a CARAD fundraising event at the Wesley Church in Perth city. I will be doing a short set and there will be some other great acts playing like The West Australian Charity Orchestra (WACO Players).  See all details below and please come along if you are in Perth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

It’s only raining outside

I am so enjoying winter up here in the big smoke……I hear Perth folks complaining about the cold weather and after 10 years in Denmark WA I am grateful for the very mild conditions and the extended hours of sunlight shinning into my little unit in Hamilton Hill.

It’s been incredibly busy the past few months and I can’t believe that almost 2 months has passed since my last update. I am not sure who has set the time on “fast” but it sure is getting difficult with keep up with everything. My main focus has been doing my “Music Talks” events although I have done a couple of regular gigs too. COVID has put all touring plans on hold for the moment but that’s OK I am quite enjoying hanging out here in the West.

The Victoria Park Farmers Markets was almost a normal gig in that it was a 3 hr gig. I parked myself right next to the stall “manned” by Betty McGeever. Betty has been a very active campaigner for refugee rights for a long time now and she had a table filled with all things “refugee”. It was a surprisingly mild Perth day and it was great to such a receptive audience.

Another standout event was the “Music Talks” gig that I did at St Pauls Beaconsfield. Celia asked me to come back and do one of my music events to her church group. We had a fantastic turn out and lots of very engaged people. Jalal Mahamede (Poet & Artist – Ahwaz Refugee) spoke to the people via audio on facebook messenger, he gave an incredibly moving speech which I will add at the end of this post. At time of writing this, Jalal still remains locked up in a detention centre in Brisbane.….I am not religious but I pray everyday that he and the others will be released soon. I can’t stand what what is happening to these guys it’s and unbelievable form of modern day torture by the Australian Government.

Another really lovely evening was spent at the Leederville Songwriters club. I did a set of original songs to the most attentive of audiences and it was another opportunity to talk about refugees with it being “Refugee Week”. I took full advantage to make my whole set all about the issue. 

“Crossing New Borders” was released at Nannup Music Festival March of this year and a few weeks ago I managed to get a video together for it. I got some great photos from a photo stock company online and Danny Reardon (Photographer) gave me permission to use a few of his photos from a recent protest in Perth. It was a bit of a problem to upload it to Facebook because they claimed that there was unacceptable material in it, after some investigation it seems that my words in the middle of the video upset them. 

I would like to finish this post with Jalal’s speech, it was very moving and it’s really important that I give you the opportunity to read it. I also want to make sure that it stays on the record of time because one day he will be free and this will be an important piece of historical context of the harsh conditions experienced by all those that arrived on our shores seeking safety in 2013.

Jalal’s Speech

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about my problems. Thank you for taking the time to listen to
I have spent eight years of my life in Australian detention، This is because I fled from my country to save my life and I asked Australia to help and save me ,
The Australian Government says your only fault is that you came by boat،
I would like to say that if I could travel to Australia by plane, why did I choose the ocean way.
Why should I put my life in a small boat and the dangerous ocean?
I certainly had no choice, so I had to take this path.
From these eight years, I was living in a tent without fan and air con in Nauru island at 2013 to 2019
For the first and a half year , we only had 3 minutes to take shower in a day.
Many problems occurred that couldn’t be explained in a few minutes.
Women, men, and children harmed themselves . because they were tired of that hell.
More than twenty young people died on the island،
because of difficult conditions Women had abortions in the toilet, The situation was so horrible that everyone was suffering from mental and physical problems.
And I’m the last survivor of them, I’m still alive please feel me a minute.
I want someone to hear my voice and tell me what’s my crime that I should be in detention for eight years.
I need someone to hear my voice and tell me what is my crime that after eight years nobody telling me when I’ll be free.
And how long i have to stay in detention?
Four people are living in a small room in detention now
The mental and physical pressure on us are so huge that I can’t even think for a moment about it, because it will drive me crazy.
We say we are human, and we should love each other. They treated me worse than a wild animal,
Am I not human or are they? Please Someone explain to me.
We need your help, We need your help like human needs oxygen, like children need parents, like plants need soil
Thank you and God bless you.

 

 

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