APRA AMCOS & SAE deliver music workshop for Indigenous artists

Byron Bay

25 May 2017

starting Ground 2017 HERO

25

May

APRA AMCOS & SAE deliver music workshop for Indigenous artists

25 May 2017

Earlier this month SAE Byron Bay was proud to partner with APRA AMCOS, Australia’s peak body for music rights management, to deliver the Starting Ground workshop for Indigenous musicians and songwriters. It was the second year running that SAE Byron hosted the workshop in its tour around Australia that was delivered by a highly experienced team of interstate music industry professionals.

A group of five local indigenous artists from the Northern Rivers Shire were joined by five indigenous students from SAE Byron who were thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in the free two-day music workshop.

Starting Ground, wrap video, filmed and recorded by SAE Film students, Daniel Cordero and Arabella Rosier

Taking place over two days,, Starting Ground was a skills development workshop delivered by a team of highly respected artists and music industry professionals brought in to facilitate sessions on different facets of the music industry. Participants received valuable information from the facilitators who provided advice on a range of areas, including; songwriting, copyright, artist management, marketing and promotion, music production, and how to become a successful self-managed artist by booking their own gigs, planning a tour, and lots more.

Five indigenous SAE students (Tahni Walton-Holmes, Marlon McDonald, Tamara Williams, Mereki Rose and Blake Rhodes) had the fortune of participating in the free workshop, while two final year SAE film students (Daniel Cordero & Arabella Rosier) jumped on board to capture content over the two days and film one-on-one interviews with the workshop facilitators and SAE students.

APRA ACOS Starting Ground workshop 2017Photo credit:  Emily Nicol / NITV

Delivered by Michael Hutchings (APRA AMCOS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander National Representative) along with Chris O'Neill (APRA AMCOS National Manager for Writer Services), the workshop was accompanied a team of facilitators that included, Fred Leone (hip hop artist and owner of the indigenous record label Impossible Odds), Sue Ray (award-winning singer/songwriter), Robbie Miller (Triple j favourite musician, APRA award winner), Emily Murphy (artist manager and music publicist), Shane Murphy (SAE marketing lecturer and industry expert), Chris Johnson (AMRAP) and Yanto Browning (composer and record producer for The Medics, Kate Miller-Heidke, Jungle Giants).

Two original songs featuring the instrumental and songwriting talents of the group as a collective were laid down over the workshop, produced and recorded by composer and record producer Yanto Browning in SAE's studios. Workshop participant and SAE student Tahni Walton-Holmes was also lucky to write her very first song with the award-winning singer/songwriter Robbie Miller.

Indigenous Artist Workshop at SAE Byron BayPhoto credit:  Emily Nicol / NITV

The workshop gained media interest with Emily Nicol from SBS’s NITV (National Indigenous Television) flying up from Sydney to capture parts of the workshop. Read the wrap story that includes short videos of some of the mentoring sessions here.


Marlon McDonald was one of the workshop participants who is currently in his fifth trimester studying a Bachelor of Audio at SAE Byron. This is what he had to say about his experience of Starting Ground

The facilitators spoke to us about the different social media sites to get our music out there, such as Sound Cloud, Reverbnation, YouTube, Spotify etc. They also described the difference between signing up with a record label and being an independent artist/musician. I found all this information really interesting and useful.  It was a topic I wanted to understand better, to see what direction will work best for me in the future.

As a musician/ songwriter/ performer, I’ve been playing drums (my main weapon of choice) and guitar for 13 years now and singing for almost 3 of those. The material I write, perform and produce has an 80’s inspired melodic heavy rock style, inspired by bands like; Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne & Van Halen. I’ve nearly finished recording my first solo EP where I play all the instruments.

Studying at SAE has been an amazing adventure, and a lot of fun. I’ve learnt so much in the past 15-months - recording, mixing, using DAW software (pro tools, reaper, logic) – thanks to some great lecturers!


Established in 2015 with support from the New South Wales Government, the Starting Ground project was created to help Aboriginal musicians build their skills, promote their work, develop career pathways and access mainstream music markets. Workshops have previously been held in Tamworth, Byron Bay, Dubbo and Redfern, and artists mentored include Loren-Jade Ryan, Krista Pav, Athol Munro, Dylan Goolagong and Tom Avery.

"Starting Ground delivers tangible outcomes to artists in regional areas. It’s a fantastic opportunity for songwriters, producers and musicians to get one-on-one career advice, and take away new skills to keep building on their talents," said workshop coordinator Michael Hutchings.