Residing at the gorgeous Sunshine Coast, I am a full time PhD student at USC, a songwriter, performer, community arts producer, event manager and emerging academic writer.
‘Recording in the Regions’ will take the next three years of my life and is the stepping stone to my future career in the Queensland music industry in support of regional songwriters, musicians, producers and engineers regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, age or location.
LINK TO MUSIC:
Community Music Producer
Regional Artist Mentor
A little bit about me
Born in the small Born in the small Queensland town of Dalby in the heart of the Darling Downs, I grew up playing guitar, organ and piano and writing music within my home environment and during formal schooling. I started my career in television in the late 1980’s and eventually began my professional career in the music industry as a children’s entertainer with the group The Pooki-Doo’s in the mid 1990’s. A family business that grew from performing at childcare centres in the Darling Downs to a full touring schedule of almost every region in Queensland, including tours to the south-eastern states of New South Wales, ACT and Victoria.
My then-husband and I had over 300 performances every year and grossed over half a million dollars in sales from live shows, independent CD releases and merchandise over a five-year period, all this while having and raising our two children. I wrote over seventy original children’s songs that were featured in more than eight fully choreographed live shows including themed Christmas, Easter and educational shows. Our touring schedule included childcare centres, country shows, festivals, shopping centres, government and local council events, schools and community celebrations. Our group were the featured children’s act for the Special Children’s Christmas Parties held by Channel 10 in the major capital cities along the east coast and these events had audiences in the vicinity of 5,000-10,000. I wrote a water-wise educational show that was featured at schools in Queensland and New South Wales during National Water Week and I also wrote the theme song for Whizzy the Waterdrop, Brisbane City Council’s waterwise mascot.
After divorce and the loss of my business, I moved my focus to teaching guitar and began writing songs again, this time for adult audiences and not for children. I has been estranged from the contemporary music scene during my career and as I began to investigate where emerging songwriters fit in the fabric of Brisbane’s entertainment arena, I found there to be little support. I enthusiastically formed the Songwriters Network of Qld and quickly found myself with a group of over seventy original artists whom I sourced paid live gigs. I spent the next few years teaching and running SNQ until I reached the point of needing to escape the city and find new ways to earn a living. So, I took my children back to my hometown of Dalby, enrolled them in the home-schooling program and began my career as a community arts facilitator and program creator supporting regional song-writers.
For ten years I developed, produced and facilitated a wonderful range of projects for artists who has little access to any form of support from an industry that seemed to be fully Brisbane-based with the occasional ‘regional’ workshop in places like Toowoomba, Rockhampton and other coastal towns. I partnered with Q Music, APRA, local councils and other independent agencies in many significant programs that gave opportunity to regional artists, many who have careers that were supported by these programs. In fact, once I took on the role of regional coordinator for the Australian Songwriters Association’s ‘Wax Lyrical’ live original music gigs, I offered the only place where original music was played outside the country music clubs west of Toowoomba. I continued in this role for over six years, even after moving from the Darling Downs and during my time, Wax Lyrical gigs were held in Dalby, Toowoomba, Gympie and Bundaberg.
In my dealings with regional artists and the Queensland music industry, I soon realised that there were many shortcomings in the delivery of effective workshops or touring programs outside of Brisbane and the larger regional cities. My success was attributed to a commitment to the towns and regions in my demographic and offered support beyond the random workshop by urban songwriters and industry insiders. Eventually, I decided that I could not make a significant change to the industry as a lone practitioner living in regional Queensland. At about the same time, the emergence of a music degree at the University of the Sunshine Coast offered what seemed to be a perfect opportunity for me to educate myself and bring my body of work into the research arena to resurrect my dream to grow and nurture original artists residing in regional Queensland.
My research as an Honours student last year allowed me to see the significant contributions of our nation’s music industry researchers and my desire to contribute to this body of work from a Queensland, state-wide perspective. The realisation that geographical considerations are just one part of a complex set of issues facing regional songwriters, I drew from my own experiences as a regional female songwriter, single mother and music teacher and investigated the gender disparity that dominates our industry nationally. Following on from these inquiries, I have been accepted into the PhD program at the University of the Sunshine Coast to combine these two significant issues in this research to make a contribution to the gap in knowledge and to set new standards for the support of regional songwriters, specifically those who identify as female.