Tips from industry stalwarts to young talent from the Nando’s Music Exchange
Nando’s Music Exchange workshops aim to bring young musicians from South Africa, the UK, Canada and Australia together to collaborate and learn about global music industries.
Driven by a want to grow the reach of South African culture, especially modern street culture, the program has expanded to include two-day workshops for local, emerging talent. It is the first year that workshops have been held here in Australia.
From these groups, a small selection will be invited on to the International Music Exchange, which is once again being held at the Roundhouse in the music history soaked suburb of Camden in London.
Workshops aim to teach young artists music industry smarts in the areas of management, promotion and branding as well as mentoring on songwriting and production.
The workshops ran in Sydney and Melbourne with successful Australian artists including Andy Bull, British India, Ecca Vandal, Alice Ivy and Pez.
Industry workshops hosted by radio host, television personality and DJ Jane Gazzo also included heavy hitters from the industry such as Adam Jankie (Illusive), Gregg Donovan (Wonderlick) and Marihuzka Cornelius (Ivy League).
Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the panels:
“Success looks different to different people” – Dave Batty, manager, Custom Made Artist Representation
It is important for expectations of artists and managers or other support professionals to coincide. There are many different ways for an artist to operate within the music industry, whether it’s staying at a cult level and being well regarded in a small scene or playing international headline stages at festivals.
Whatever an artist’s ambition level is, the manager should be working to make them achieve to their benchmark. Gregg Donovan, artist manager of Grinspoon, Josh Pike and Amy Shark reiterated this: “My job as a manager is to deliver the vision the artist has for themselves, not my vision, not the label’s vision.”
“There are no rules in songwriting” – Jane Gazzo, TV host & broadcaster, Triple M
It is important to remember that it is what makes your music unique which will be the selling point, so throw away the rule book. No rules in songwriting; if it feels good, it is good. “There are no right or wrong answers… [but] any kind of feedback or mentorship in an artistic sense is beneficial.”
Songwriting takes hard work and persistence
“Anyone can go in and sing on a track” Tim Levinson (Urthboy) says. “The hard part is going back and writing and writing.”
Just because a song may be difficult to write or isn’t coming easily, it isn’t a reason to give up. Andy Bull was quick to dispel the myths about easy songwriting, saying, “There’s moments of inspiration that feel profound and move you forward, but they are rarely the entire picture.”
Moments of inspiration may give you the start, but when it comes to composing continuing to work and change things can lead to the best results.Bull explains that the end result “is moments of inspiration spread apart and linked together.”
It’s important to pass down knowledge
When asked why it was important for more experienced professionals to give advice to emerging artists, Gregg Donovan talked about the difficulties people face entering the industry.
“There are no official apprenticeships here,” he said, explaining that everything he learnt was from industry members who helped him when he was starting out. “We’re paying it forward because others did it for us.”
Uniqueness is a strength and should be cultivated
When asked what she looked for in finding new talent, Marihuzka Cornelius, A&R manager for Ivy League, was quick to answer: “It’s absolutely knowing who you are… It sounds cliché but just doing you.”
Stephen Wade, booking agent at Select Music Agency, believes that it is knowing yourself as an artist which will be the most beneficial, more than trying to fit a mould in an industry which is continuously changing. “Your uniqueness of what you have and what you want to do will separate you from everyone else in the industry.”
This feature was created from the knowledge shared at the Australian Nando’s Music Exchange workshops, which were held in Melbourne and Sydney this year.
For more information on Nando’s Music Exchange, click here.