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Mentoring program helps young musos think outside the box

Culture

The local music community is facing one of its toughest challenges ever as artists grapple with an uncertain future in the wake of COVID-19 restrictions. But a Brisbane City Council initiative is helping young musicians evolve virtually.

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Council’s QUBE Effect program, which has been running since 2015, is again offering a leg-up to the next generation of Brisbane musicians by helping them hone their skills, get exposure as artists and navigate the inner workings of the music industry.

Twenty-four finalists – ranging from rock bands to hip-hop outfits and folk musicians to a teenage indie-pop artist, a spoken word artist/rapper and a punk-rock duo – have already been announced for this year’s QUBE Effect, with public voting open for the People’s Choice award until Friday, June 12.

The finalists will benefit from a six-month mentoring program delivered by influential music industry experts including acclaimed Gold Coast musician Bobby Alu and radio broadcaster, artist manager and music services veteran Maggie Collins.

There are prizes and industry support on offer in several categories, including Innovation Award, sponsored by record label and music publishing company Dew Process; Best Original Song, supported by music industry development association QMusic; Best Live Performance, supported by the Tivoli; a Lord Mayor’s City Hall Concert Award; and a People’s Choice Award.

Prizes include a slot on the line-up for music industry conference and showcase event BIGSOUND, a session with a booking agent from Dew Process, professional photoshoots, paid gigs, music vouchers, and mentoring sessions with the likes of ARIA-winning producer Magoo (Lachlan Goold).

Previous winners have included acts such as Hayley Marsten and The Jensens, who have received recording deals and performed at major music festivals including Splendour in the Grass.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said initiatives such as the QUBE Effect were more important than ever for artists.

“Brisbane City Council is committed to providing real opportunities for Brisbane’s younger residents to help them contribute to our city and achieve their aspirations and the QUBE Effect provides a platform where artists are encouraged to network and support each other,” Schrinner told InQueensland.

“Live music is such an important part of Brisbane’s culture and nightlife.

“Our home-grown musicians who busk or perform at a cafes and bars and contribute to our night-time economy are so important in helping Brisbane recover and thrive once again as we emerge from the coronavirus lockdown.”

He said there had already been an enthusiastic response from the public, with more than 4000 votes already cast for the People’s Choice Award.

Collins, who runs music services company Morning Belle, is an experienced radio broadcaster, programmer and manager of acts including John Steel Singers and DZ Deathrays, was a mentor for last year’s entrants, and is back on board this year.

“Being an artist manager, you’re generally a jack of all trades already, but also I’ve got experience in radio broadcasting, and also in programming, not just for BIGSOUND but also for different venues that I’ve programmed and booked in over the years,” Collins said.

“So yeah, and it’s all in that development space, I’ve always really kind of stayed in this space, working with bands that are in that developmental stage and moving on to larger and larger venues and larger audiences.”

Collins said she would be tailoring her advice to the specific needs of the artists she would be mentoring.

“Mainly I want to know what they want to know because there’s not a lot of point in me rambling on about the stuff that I know if I’m not really answering what they need to know.

“That’s probably enough like you know that’s one of the things that I’ve learnt in radio, you know, is who is your audience? Don’t just play what you think needs to be heard, you need to actually know your audience and know your market and then tailor the content to that.”.

Collins said the quality of the finalists for last year’s QUBE Effect was outstanding and encouraged members of the public to check out the acts shortlisted for the People’s Choice Award.

“There’s so much good music out there,” she said. “These artists are all new and they’re still developing, so if you’re engaging with this music you could be hearing the next giant act when they’re syill teeny tiny and developing and still experimenting with their craft.

“It could be a really special connection that you could have with an artist and then watch them grow – that kind of thing is invaluable.”

Click here to see the videos from this year’s QUBE Effect finalists and vote in the People’s Choice category

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