Song Summit and other antics…

BLOG ENTRY 28/06/10

Last weekend saw me flying the red-eye over to Sydney for Song Summit – a conference for songwriters organised by APRA (the Australiasian Performing Rights Association, of which I’m a proud member). If you know you’re only going to get 4-hours sleep on the plane as you’re total dose of shut-eye for the night, I highly recommend the measures that I took: clothe yourself like an eskimo, don a sleep mask and secure one of those awesome neck pillows… and then, when walking around groggily in your destination airport, head straight for Boost Juice.

After the red-eye, on the bus from airport to hotel room.

It was a very interesting and stimulating conference! Some great speakers and workshops… Got to hear Mike Chapman (the man behind such songs as “Simply the Best” and “Love is a Battlefield”) talk about his journey and experiences writing and producing for some amazing bands and artists… I thought my heart would explode when he told us that to write a hit song you have to be “born with it”. I’ve always felt in way that I was born and destined to be a singer/ songwriter who would contribute something to music in this volatile 21st century world… and this statement could either re-affirm that belief, or it could make me question if I’m completely fooling myself. Ah, the agony!

We got to hear a great showcase of original Australian talent, e.g. Monsieur Camembert.

I was really fortunate to be able to present one of my songs (“Once Upon A Time”) in a workshop with Stephen Schwartz, who is an amazingly decorated composer of musical theatre songs (think: “Wicked” and Disney’s “Pocahontas” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”). It was great to hear his feedback on both my and other songwriters’ songs. It was also a great chance to have my music heard by other participants of the conference, which led to some good networking opportunities!

With Stephen Schwartz

I enjoyed all the discourse on the issues regarding copyright, the rights of music makers and the illegal sale of music, which currently makes up 95% of the online downloading market. 95% of music sold without benefits to the songwriters – wow, that’s a tough game for us musos!

Also of interest were the anecdotes of uber-songwriters Sacha Skarbek (the main guy behind James Blunt) and Colin Hay (frontman of Men At Work). Curious to hear how Colin Hay has wound up in his legal battle over the apparent use of the ditty “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gumtree” in the Men At Work hit “Down Under”… it’s a long story, you’ll have to ask me in person 🙂

Anyway, after a full weekend of all of that, never quite recovering from the lack of sleep on the flight in, I flew back home to sleepy little Perth, arriving at midnight to get up early for two consecutive full days of teaching (vocal lessons at schools, in case you’re wondering). And on the third day, off I trotted to the Ellington to do a film shoot for what will be a 30 sec promotional clip for “I Look Up”. Perhaps in the coming months we’ll flesh it out into a full-length song clip. Shoot went well – I’ve never seen my band members so animated, being freed of their sheet music and the judgement of a live audience… haha! Also had my photographer Katey Manuchehri down to take some snaps – some are already uploaded on facebook.

Preview snap from "I Look Up" film/ photo shoot!

I rounded off the week with another gig with a difference: an acoustic solo set in support of Perth folk/ pop artist Ben Zabbia and his band. Quiet, hippy style gig in a community hall with organic nibbles being served at intermission. As you walked in, you could smell incense burning. A nice, soothing way to end a crazy week!

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