Features April 3, 2019

QMusic’s Gav Parry on Industry Connect series: “It’s about understanding those small steps”

QMusic’s Gav Parry on Industry Connect series: “It’s about understanding those small steps”
Image: Gav Parry. Photo by Savannah van der Niet. (Supplied)

Industry Connect, the QMusic-run series of free workshops for emerging artists and industry workers returns in April.

The huge list of facilitators include artists, artist managers, publicists, producers, record label executives, producers, marketers and rights management representatives.

It also has anecdotes from some of the 1,190 people the initiative has helped since it launched in 2017.

This year’s participants are in the running to receive a personalised PR and digital distribution package from GYROstream and the chance to attend a three-day songwriting retreat at Heliport Studios on the Sunshine Coast.

Five will be chosen to attend BIGSOUND in September to pick up more skills and networking contacts.

TMN spoke to Industry Connect programmer Gav Parry, who joined QMusic this year.

Q: Are there any elements about this year’s Industry Connect which are different from those in the past?

A: “Industry Connect is a program that is constantly evolving, we’re just getting into our third year and we know we can always improve what we’re offering to new and emerging artists around the state.

“Each year the program brings in new industry professionals and they drive the direction of each workshop along with the participants.

“We make sure we let the conversations run where it’s going, so even with a structure no workshop is going to be 100% the same.

“Being able to ask people I look up to in the industry questions about how they got to where they are is a total buzz for me and have no doubt that anyone that heads along is going to be grabbing a huge amount of knowledge even if they’ve been along in previous years.

Q: From the feedback of artists and arts workers who are emerging, which factors are they most worried about – lack of access to proper advice?

A: “This has been really different across the board and I think it’s incredibly hard for artists to know what they need if they haven’t been in their current situation before.

“Some artists say they want to know how to get booked for a show but they actually don’t have their socials, releases schedule or anything that can potentially get them a gig together.”

“The beautiful thing about being an artist is we hold our heads so high with what we want to achieve we forget to look down in front of us and realise we actually have to take small steps to get to that end goal.

“A manager rarely pulls an act out of obscurity, a publisher rarely signs an artist who isn’t writing every day and a label rarely signs an artist who doesn’t have a vision and direction for their project.

“Industry Connect is about understanding those small steps and putting yourself in the best position for things to happen for you as an artist.”

Q: One of the positive outcomes of a program like Industry Connect is that it shows emerging creatives that they’re not alone, that the anxieties and problems they face are also being faced by hundreds of others.

A: “Totally, that’s one of the best things about running the program is just giving like-minded people a chance to get to know each other.

“Having a network is everything in music and being able to chat with other people going through the same thing is so important.

“As an artist, you’re going through things that other artists have had to deal with before and sometimes chatting to someone who’s been there is going to help you deal with the situation a lot quicker.”

Q: The facilitators you chose come from a diverse background, what was the thought behind the whole process of choosing them?

A: “Most of the people I’ve known for a number of years through different projects and I’ve always wanted to understand how they do what they do so this was a perfect vale for me to get into their minds.

“For me, it’s really important to know their story so I can get the most out of them.

“I may know how they rolled out a single or album campaign or that the first single didn’t connect and they made adjustments to a campaign to try a different approach.

“This type of background information means I can be digging a little deeper, their knowledge is one thing but their experiences are everything.”

Q: What are some anecdotal stories where Industry Connect has made a definite difference?

A: “We’ve had North Queensland artist Greta Stanley go through the program in 2017, the year after she won the Billy Thorpe Scholarship, played BIGSOUND and went onto receive have her music added to triple j.

“Gold Coast R&B pop artist DVNA was part of the workshops last year and her debut single ‘Girl On The Move’ has received more than 500K streams with her new single ‘Looking Like a Snack’ sitting on Spotify playlist Pop Edge, Front Left and Just Chill.

“This year we’ve also had DVNA and Jeremy Beamish pitching on different projects as songwriters both locally and internationally.

“As I look over the registrations for this year I’m really excited about some of the artists who we’ll have involved and can’t wait to be telling their stories over the coming months.”

Q: What will they get out of the GYROstream digital pack?

A: “It’s been put together to give selected artists a leg up on their next release with a personalized PR and distribution package.

“They will receive a one on one planning session with QMusic and the PR arm of GYROstream to develop a release plan as well as having their track serviced to Spotify and Apple Music.”

Q: What will they get out of the songwriting retreat at Heliport Studios?

A: “Collaborating and building your network is such an important part of music.

“The Amplify retreat is about exactly this and allows artists who are involved in the workshops and at the right point to step into a new environment and push themselves as artists and songwriters.

“We’ll be bringing together the most promising artists involved in the Industry Connect workshops from 2019, and for a lot of them being able to write and record in a world-class studio is out of reach.

“Amplify gives them this opportunity and the added bonus of working closely with their peers and maybe a special guest or two.”

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