News July 2, 2018

Mental health songwriter’s festival Listen Up quadruples its applications

Mental health songwriter’s festival Listen Up quadruples its applications

songwriter’s festival Listen Up has struck a chord with musicians, harnessing both the therapeutic and communal effects of music.

Now in its third year it drew 2,780 total entries, with applicants from each state in Australia.

The tally in 2017 was just 730.

“Obviously the idea of addressing mental health through songs and storytelling has captured the public’s imagination,” Listen Up founder Ali Taylor told TMN.

Also reflecting this is the Listen Up podcast, which launched in May (along with a record label and recording studio partnerships) and is hosted by Taylor.

Musicians come in with a list of their Top 10 list of singles, albums and/or artists.

They play the music and explain how these got them through their bleak times.

The Listen Up festival has just unveiled the Top 100 songwriter entries.

Aside from Australia they also come from the UK, where last year Listen Up partnered with mental health charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) which works primarily with men’s depression.

It was chosen as one of Taylor’s male family members suicided.

In 2018, Listen Up is teaming in Australia with the charity R U OK?.

Taylor explains, “We have had a long relationship with Suicide Prevention Australia.

“This year they suggested we should work with one of their member organisations because ’s work with storytelling, songs and mental health has a natural synergy with Listen Up.”

R U OK?’s ambassadors include actors (like Hugh Jackman, Simon Baker and Naomi Watts), sportspeople, leaders, comedians, models and media identities.

Among those from the music world are John Schumann, Casey Donovan, Ben Lee, Travis Collins, Axle Whitehead, Barry Conrad, Louise Adams, Luke Antony, Jake Sinclair, James Van Cooper and Rob Mills.

This year’s Listen Up competition theme was I Am Here –  basically, how they helped someone or were helped in turn.

But creative interpretations of the theme led to some interesting ideas.

The age of the applicants ranged from 11 to 73, with the core demo 16-24.

The next round of semi-finals will be held between August 24 and September 28.

Each finalist gets a mix and mastering of their track, and an inclusion on a compilation CD.

The winner gets an EP/album release, and a day’s writing session with music ambassador Cam Nackson.

The 2017 winner Seb Mont, went on to write and produce songs with Voice Australia winner Alfie Arcuri and Universal Music.

The 2016 winner, Melbourne six-piece Tempus Sun, went on to release an EP and currently featured on triple j Unearthed.

Listen Up is also expanding its service offerings to give artists a reduced rate. Business owners can contact them here.

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