The music industry has historically been one of the most difficult sectors for career longevity – but also one of the most rewarding.
With the dawn of music streaming and the rise of social media, it’s tougher than ever to not only get a foot in the door but to ensure your music cuts through the noise and connects with the right ears.
Sure, artists need to be more business-savvy and strategy-minded if they’re even considering a career in music, but where do they pick up these kinds of skills in parallel to perfecting their craft? How can they tap into a community of like-minded people who are facing similar challenges, particularly if they don’t live in the inner city, close to venues and networks?
Thanks to the support of celebrated, beloved and awarded veterans of the industry, GRID Series (Grass Roots Indie Development) is helping emerging artists move into the next phase of their career.
With the support of telecommunications provider Belong, GRID is rolling out their unique artist development program in Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and Melbourne for 2019. Fostering and nurturing the career of emerging artists from outer suburban areas through one-on-one song development sessions with lauded musicians, business mentoring from those truly in the know, in-studio recording sessions, and so much more.
Here’s what went down at the Western Sydney GRID program
The artists involved in the Western Sydney GRID program, which took place at I.C.E, Free Energy Device and Linear Recordings from March through May, saw R&B and soul icon Ngaiire, Middle Kids’ Hannah Joy, Bigsound 2019 programmer and management firm director Melody Forghani, Ben Pierpoint from Maximillian Brown (Ngaiire, Little May), and acclaimed producers Antonia Gauci (DMA’s, Kesha) and Ariel Blum (St.Ives, Lara Andallo), all join them on their GRID musical journey.
Watch Ngaiire coach Sydney artist Srisha below:
After learning from some of the most esteemed masterminds in the biz, Western Sydney artists Clarissa Mei, Srisha, Chris Neto and hygge are due to release four larger-than-life singles produced as part of GRID Western Sydney on May 31st.
Today, we give those tracks their first spin!
Soul powerhouse Clarissa Mei’s single ‘Woman’ is irresistibly stunning. She tackles imposter syndrome, bullying and the patriarchy all while using that voice to deliver one emotive, rich and brave message to the world.
Listen to Clarissa Mei’s ‘Woman’ below:
Emerging hip hop queen Srisha has delivered ‘Euphoria’ to the world, care of the GRID Series. The track hooks into you within seconds with its titular phrasing and swift transition into the kind of grit and grunt that would make an artist like Talib Kweli proud.
Srisha harnesses masculine and feminine power with ‘Euphoria’ and turns it into something even more raw and transformative.
Listen to Srisha’s ‘Euphoria’ below:
Troubadour Chris Neto might just give Tim Buckley a run for his money with his GRID-created single ‘Bitter Beer, Sweet Wine’. Chris Neto is a crooning enigma all the way through the track; it’s a multi-part epic that reaches an apex of melodrama in exactly the right place.
Listen to Chris Neto’s ‘Bitter Beer, Sweet Wine’ below:
Synth-pop duo hygge were able to use GRID as a platform to create and release their debut single ‘Blind Faith’. Unapologetic, infectious and impressively restrained, ‘Blind Faith’ is a pop track with a twist.
Exploring questions around connection and communication, hygge is for fans of acts like AURORA, First Aid Kit and Laura Marling thanks to its free-spirited effervescence.
Listen to hygge’s ‘Blind Faith’ below:
The artists’ ride with GRID doesn’t end there, as they will all launch their song in a high vibe live setting this week.
Clarissa Mei, hygge, Chris Neto and Srisha are all set to perform their GRID-developed singles at the massive launch show at Beatdisc Records, Parramatta this Friday (May 31st).
As the opuses of GRID Series Western Sydney blast out into the world, applications for GRID Outer Perth are about to kick off on the same day, with applications opening on May 31st.
Perth acts are in for a real treat for their edition, with the mentor line-up featuring some of the most storied players in the music business. This year’s Perth mentors include hip hop royalty Beni Bjah from Downsyde, and RnB vocalist and producer Jamilla who will spend a day with each artist helping them develop their new track. On the business side, artist manager Hayley Ayres (Melody Pool, Dallas Woods) and indie label director Matthew Johnson of Walking Horse will help the artists craft a release strategy and set up for a sustainable career in the music industry. GRID will also be receiving support from West Australian Music (WAM) who will be consulting on the project and assisting with the networking side of the series, and Abmusic, who will be providing 4 interns from their music production and music business courses to support the Perth artists.
The four successful artists will also have the opportunity to work one-on-one with a producer at Rada Studios, with Anna Laverty (Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Courtney Barnett) and Ariel Blum on deck to work on the new tracks in the studio.
GRID Series has been running in Melbourne since 2013, with past success stories of artists who have come through the program including Daniel Elia, Alana Wilkinson, Manorism, and The Fabric (fronted by Angie McMahon). You only need a cursory glance at their singles to understand the influence of the GRID Series. Daniel Elia alone saw his track ‘I Know It Very Well’ premiered via Tone Deaf, due to its slick production and hard-hitting back story.
If you’re ready to take your career to the next level with GRID, there are a few things you need to know. You must:
- be above 17 years of age
- live in the Outer Perth area
- write your own original music
- be available to attend the program’s key dates, which can be found at the GRID Series website.
If you tick all the criteria, all you have to do is upload a track online to share alongside your filled-out application form and get ready to have your stories heard.
Meet Brisbane’s next wave of talent
With Western Sydney wrapping up, and Perth preparing to launch, GRID Series is already halfway through the program in South West Brisbane. After scouring the city for the next wave of talent with help of local legends BEMAC, the four artists taking part in the South West Brisbane program are rising hip hop star Chong Ali, singer-songwriter Katherine Waria, new wave act Syrup, and indie artist Jade Not Jane.
A Queensland Music Award nominee, podcast host, producer and rapper, Chong Ali has said himself that conservativeness is just not his style. In challenging a lack of representation of Asian Australians in hip hop, and working tirelessly both as an artist and activist, Chong Ali doesn’t pull any punches. “I’m trying to piss people off. I’m trying to tell our story,” he said in an interview last year.
Meanwhile, Katherine Waria is a proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island woman, with a deep and rich family history as a descendant of the Woppaburra tribe of Great Keppel Island and Argun tribe of Badu Island.
Taking cues from contemporaries Missy Higgins, Avril Lavigne, and Ashanti, Waria blends pop and RnB in a way that is truly creative.
Syrup are an alt-pop dream. What began as a solo project for bedroom producer Harry Pratt in 2018, has turned into one of the most exciting duos to come out of Brisbane in recent memory. Pratt and Henry Anderson blend the funk-indebted classic pop of Talking Heads with new wave moments that take cues from acts like Beach House and Methyl Ethel.
Genre-bending artist Jade Not Jane offers the raw power of classic rock, but with the sweet sensibilities of folk and the infectious melodies of pop’s contemporaries.
Having already gigged her way across Brisbane at venues like The Foundry, The Zoo and the Main Stage Queen Street Mall, it’s no surprise that Jade Not Jade hit #6 on the triple j Unearthed Charts with her track ‘I’m the Captain’. Now, she’s ready to take her career one step further and GRID is just the program to make it happen.
From its inception as an artist development channel to connect aspiring artists from outer suburbs with some of the most highly-regarded professionals in the Aussie music industry, GRID has since become a path to career longevity thanks to relentless work in creating bridges between musicians, songwriters, industry experts, and unmatched opportunities in the studio, on camera, and in a live performance.
For more information on the GRID series and how to get involved, head t the GRID Series website.