Opinion: The Future of Australian Music

A new revolution was spawned when reality television paved the way for relatively unknown musicians to catapult themselves onto the main stage and become what seemed an almost overnight success.

While the usual cast of overnight successes seem to burn bright and fade fast, the likes of Matt Corby, Lisa Mitchell and Owl Eyes (ie Brooke Addamo) are all too familiar with the necessary steps taken to achieve reputable recognition when they decided to audition for Australian Idol in their respective years and left prematurely in the Top 12 as a result of the least amount of votes by the Australian public. While their early exits did not deter their plans to proceed with their preferred profession, they have exemplified how persistence has paid off in their efforts to pursue their passion.

Rather than relying on their newfound exposure from show business, Corby, Mitchell and Addamo have instead found their place in the independent music scene by performing at numerous gigs and festivals, featuring in the coveted Triple J Hottest 100, as well as receiving many accolades, including APRA and ARIA nominations, which is perceived to be an impressive feat considering the taken alternative route mixed with the amount of time spent in the music industry. The craziest part is that they are only in their early twenties.

Another notable mention is the fact that all three are singer-songwriters, proving that creative control can sometimes work in your favour when the opportunity arises. As it currently stands, Lisa Mitchell will release her second album in September 2012, titled Bless This Mess, whereas Matt Corby and Brooke Addamo are still working on their new releases, with the latter set to launch her debut LP this year.

Addamo, under the moniker, Owl Eyes, has experienced a positive response when she approached fellow Melbourne songwriter, Clare Bowditch, for artistic assistance: “The Australian music industry at large has been incredibly supportive, particularly to young homegrown talent,” she says. “Everyone realises there’s a space for everyone and you’re not competing against each other. You’re just creating and everyone has the same passion as you, so you obviously have something in common.”

Clare Bowditch has also lent a hand to Mitchell for her debut album, Wonder, which became the start of something special for the songstress, including platinum status and three ARIA Award nominations. Mitchell’s side project, Golden Arrows (with Lanie Lane) was also aided by Bowditch by the way of the single, “Miss You Like the Rain”.

Similarly, Corby has also found his strength in working alongside mentors, such as producer Tim Carr (Ernest Ellis) and Bree Tranter (keyboardist from previous band, The Middle East). When he almost gave up on music, Corby powered on and pulled through to record his most successful album to date, Into the Flame, which has gone on to achieve four times platinum in the Australian ARIA Charts.

In retrospect, it’s encouraging to see such a small industry come together and support one another in the hopes of helping others and giving sound advice (pun intended). It just goes to show that there is a lot of creative collaboration in the community that is overwhelmingly suggestive that mateship in Australian music is well and truly alive, especially for the new generation of musicians who are hoping to make a name for themselves in such a competitive, yet concentrated environment.

Clare Bowditch is set to unleash her new record, The Winter I Chose Happiness on September 14, to coincide with her Australian Tour in September/October.