Tushar Apte Reflects on Career at G’day USA Gala: ‘It Takes 10 Years to Become an Overnight Success’
Tushar Apte has been flying the flag for years, higher than most.
He’s often heard, rarely seen. It comes with the turf.
Apte was seen and heard last weekend when he was honoured with the rising star award at the G’day USA Gala event, becoming the first-ever record producer to receive the accolade.
For Apte, the joint 2022 G’Day AAA Arts Gala was the culmination of years of hard work, and a gamble that paid off.
Speaking from the podium, Apte recounted his relocation to the L.A. more than ten-and-a-half years ago this month, and how, with perseverance, he turned some early negatives into positives.
“When I was in university, I did an elective at the Sydney university music school for music performance,” he remembered.
“We had to audition to get in this course and the whole thing was being run by Professor Evans, a great teacher but also a kind of cantankerous old lady who also happened to be the worlds foremost Bach scholar.”
At the audition, he played a Hungarian waltz on piano and played and sang an original song. “At the end she just stopped and said ‘wow that was.. really bad but that song you did, maybe just keep doing that.’”
He did just that.
Quickly, he “realized the best path for a mediocre musician is becoming a hit producer and songwriter.”
Apte also gave a shout out to his supporters, and closest allies. “I get to make music with my friends every day, many of whom are the best in the world at what they do, and to call that the job is the greatest privilege.”
Held Saturday (June 11) in Los Angeles, winners on the night included filmmakers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, and Aussie actor Isla Fisher.
Electronic music duo Electric Fields, country music artist Morgan Evans, and Indigenous singer-songwriter and AAA Arts scholar Jess Hitchcock were among the performers and presenters.
For 18 years, the G’Day USA Gala has fostered friendships and promoted Australian ideas, talent and innovation in the United States, and promoted the best from these parts.
All funds raised Support the American Australian Association and its Art Fund.
Read Apte’s speech in full below.
My thanks to the American Australian Association and Australia’s Consul-General in LA, Jane Duke, for this special award.
It’s such an honor for guys like me to be recognized in this way, we’re normally fame-adjacent so it’s nice to be front and centre for a day.
Thank you Dean (Ormston) for your kind words and your tireless support for Australian writers and musician rights around the world.
One of the best pieces of advice I got when I moved here was from a guy on Craigslist. He owned a chain of wig stores all around L.A., and he hired me to build and maintain websites for his wig shops – I was actually trying to do music but for a moment was making rent becoming the typical Indian guy doing tech support. Turned out this guy was also a budding musician outside of his business – he was in a glam-rock band and he was a heavy set dude who would fully commit to it – leopard skin tights and all.
Anyway, one day he said hey I know you’re trying to get into music, my band’s doing this gig and there’s going to be some music industry people it’s gonna be great. This ‘big gig’ was actually at Sizzler – and basically no music industry people or people in general turned up. But I had to admire his confidence because at the end of the night he came up to me and he said – I know you just got here but let me tell you something, it takes 10 years to become an overnight success.
That’s turned out to be quite apt, as this month is officially 10.5 years since I moved to L.A.
When I was in university, I did an elective at the Sydney university music school for music performance.
We had to audition to get in this course and the whole thing was being run by Professor Evans, a great teacher but also a kind of cantankerous old lady who also happened to be the worlds foremost Bach scholar. Anyway at the audition I played a Hungarian waltz on the piano and I also played and sang a song I made. At the end she just stopped and said.. ‘wow that was.. really bad, but that song you did, maybe just keep doing that.’
And I did, and quickly realized the best path for a mediocre musician is becoming a hit producer and songwriter.
Turns out one of the other perks, which I didn’t know, is that you get to receive awards on the same night as Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Isla Fisher! I guess it worked out? Take that Berkeley nerds.
I get to make music with my friends everyday, many of who are the best in the world at what they do, and to call that the job is the greatest privilege. And none of it would be possible without a few people who opened doors for me early on, and I just want to quickly acknowledge a few of them who are here tonight.
Let’s get these thank-yous out of the way coz when we get to the Grammy’s, some of y’all might not make this list.
Milly Petriella – My friend, confidante, musical fairy godmother and everything in between. I feel like you’ve been helping me get out of my own way my whole life. You are the champion every creative wishes they had and I’m thankful for your tireless support.
Steven Brandon – Literally the reason I’m still here – Steven was my first visa sponsor and bought me time, the most valuable thing in the early grind stage.
My cousin Ashwin Gore – who moved here a couple of years before I made it out, and socially made my transition so seamless. I never underestimate how lucky I was to have family in this completely new place where I was otherwise starting from scratch. Thanks for being the best Halloween party host, and thanks for giving me a couch to sleep on for the first year and a half.
Marc Wilson – Who gave me my first publishing deal at Warner Chappell, based on one good song and 20 very average demos. Thank you for your belief in me.
Also my first manager Peter Coquillard who couldn’t make it, but gave me so much game on how to operate in the music business early on.
My parents Minoti and Vivek – for their unwavering support from the start – definitely nothing like the typical Indian parents you see in all those dated movies.
And finally my wife Avanti – you get me more than I get myself. Thank you for everything you are and do.