As part of Vivid Ideas 2017, MusicNSW is hosting its annual Feedback conference for young people looking for a start in music. Keynote speakers Hermitude will be joined by artists and industry reps like Lisa Mitchell, Gemma Pike, Ngaiire and Melody Forghani on the day. Ahead of the event, Australian songwriter Mitchell shares her top five tips for breaking into the music industry.
Lisa Mitchell: “My career is not exactly a good example to analyse for tips on breaking into the music industry, as I had a lot of help from national TV when I was on Idol as a 16-year-old. But I guess there were a lot of things that I did before I even went on the show that was encouraging to my growth as a songwriter and performer.”
1. Embrace the art of busking
“My town had a yearly busking festival and competition. My friend and I would enter. Busking is a really good way to practise being in front of people and getting used to engaging with strangers in a performance way.”
2. Jam with your mates
“I had a covers band with three of my girlfriends at high school. We had a lot of fun. I think we probably watched more One Tree Hill episodes than we actually rehearsed. It was such a laugh. We’d play at school assembly sometimes. We entered a Battle of the Bands competition one year and came second to an all-boy heavy metal band. I’m pretty sure I had a broken arm in a sling at that gig.”
3. See live music
“Inspiration. Go to as much live music as you can. I loved going to the local folk festivals and listening to the stories! Sometimes it’s hard when you’re underage to go to gigs at clubs, so that’s why the folk festivals are good.”
4. Trust yourself
“Appreciate when you get opportunities, but don’t get hung up when you don’t. Trust is a major part of a creative life! It’s not always going to be easy. Songwriting can be a bit of a lone-wolf career at times, unless you’re in a band, so it’s important to get good at making friends wherever you go. And the other thing to remember is that not everyone’s going to ‘get it’. Keeping a journal has always helped me hear myself when perhaps I’m around people that don’t appreciate what I care about.”
5. Live your life
“Don’t forget to live! You have to have something to write about. I am always doing lots of things – learning, reading, travelling, exploring. It doesn’t really matter how you do it, there are no rules, but at the risk of sounding like a wanker, it truly is all about accepting the ups and downs of the process. If you don’t like the process, you’re not going to last very long!”
Feedback: A Music Conference For Young People takes place on Monday June 12 at the Museum of Contemporary Art for Vivid Ideas. Tickets are $20+bf, on sale now.