Cashing in on Local Regional Musical Talent

Cashing in on Local Regional Musical Talent

Monique Boucher

It’s great to have talented artists come out to regional WA and spread beautiful music, literature and visual art throughout the community – but it’s even better when we can use that opportunity to also cultivate a town’s local artists, bursting with talent and ready for the stage.

Eight regional musicians from Broome to Ravensthorpe were involved in a mentorship opportunity with performer Monty Cotton during July – August, as part of the Lotterywest Shows on the Go Country Arts WA state tour of A Boy Named Cash.

Broome local musician Sabita Latchman takes the stage as the opener for A Boy Named Cash. Picture by Janie Davidson.

The Local Talent Mentorship program gave community presenters the chance to discover and connect with emerging local singer/song writers and musicians and provide participants the opportunity to learn from a professional touring artist about the technical and performance aspects of a career in music.

Some local musicians even had the chance to perform a short set of their songs as an opening act, before Monty took to the stage for A Boy Named Cash. Audience members remarked how wonderful it was to see local singers perform and what a great opportunity it was for them to shine!

Mentees ranged in age from 14 – 54, with musical genres covering Country, Folk, Blues, Rock and even Hip Hop!

Monty said every participant was at a different stage in their career or interest in music.

“The way I approached it was to see what they were hoping to achieve in music and go from there.”

A variety of topics were covered during the sessions including: song writing, stage presence, chord progressions, exploring new genres, reaching new audiences, being a tribute artist, marketing your music, auditioning for reality television or music competitions, finding other artists to jam with and using loop pedals, multi effects and percussion stomp boxes.

The feedback from participants was incredibly positive! Emerging sixteen-year-old singer/songwriter Sabita Latchman from Broome felt the experience was a truly life changing moment she will treasure and remember for years to come.

“It was both a privilege and an honour to be able to share some of my own compositions with the audience and put into place some of the performance advice from Monty,” she said.

She also created a documentary for her school media project on Monty.

Erin Pope, singer/songwriter from Southern Cross, who was involved in the program at Mukinbudin said what she loved most about being involved in the program was the collaboration between local musicians and a touring act.

Wheatbelt musician Erin Pope with Monty Cotton. Picture by Janie Davidson.

“As a singer/songwriter in the Wheatbelt it can be challenging to find an audience or a place to share original music. Teaming up with an amazing performer like Monty gave me the chance to experience all the other aspects involved with putting on a show.

“I was able to spend time with the crew as they were setting up and see things from the production side. As well hearing stories gained from a lot of experience touring through WA.

“It’s so important to have collaboration programs like this in regional areas between musicians/entertainers of different experience levels and styles as it helps to build confidence in performing, while getting the chance to share something positive with your local community.”

Fourteen-year-old blues musician, Blake Munday from Ravensthorpe said it was good fun to meet Monty as well as learning new chords and stage set up.

“My favourite part of A Boy Named Cash was being able to be [Monty’s] mentee.

“Monty also told me what pentatonic scales and blues scales I should learn next. I really enjoyed watching Monty perform.”

Blake Munday has a jam during his mentoring session with Monty Cotton. Picture by Janie Davidson.

Community presenters have also expressed their support for the Local Talent Mentorship, saying it gave them the chance to connect more with the younger members of their community and discover local talent they previously did not know existed. Some of the artists they discovered have been offered opportunities to perform post the mentorship program in their town and neighbouring towns.

Monty Cotton thoroughly enjoyed his role as mentor with the local artists: “It was great to have an impact on some of their lives.”

A handful of mentees have even stayed in touch directly with Monty post their mentorship opportunity.

This is the first time Country Arts WA has offered the Local Talent Mentorship as part of Lotterywest Shows on the Go, and from this success we are looking to repeat the program in the future!

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