Episode 5: Four women talk about forging a music career in Australia. Jazz artist Frances Madden, composer Ella Macens, indie-folk artist Hannah Robinson and electro pop artist Ruby May
On a cold night, a couple of days out from the beginning of Winter, Julie Kerr gathered four impressive music makers for the Music Love podcast. All Australian, all women, and all under 30. One jazz singer, one composer, and two indie/pop artists, to talk all things music. What is like to independently build up your music business as an artist? Social media, marketing, artistry, down time, up-skilling, finding new people to present your music to, community radio, commercial radio, day jobs, wedding gigs, and more. The result is a wonderfully warm and uplifting conversation where women come together and talk about the joy and the trials of working in music. Meet Hannah Robinson, Frances Madden, Ella Macens and Ruby May.
Meet Hannah Robinson who has been employed full time in music since she left high school. Booking bands, and playing shows has sustained Hannah since she finished up at the Newtown School of Performing Arts. Actually, Hannah's mother made a huge life decision to bring her daughter down to Sydney to study - all the way from Bunderburg, Queensland. Before that, Hannah was trained in the Gondwana choirs. Now, she would love to get into music therapy. Her EP Lunar is beautiful, and she's writing a new album now.
Frances Madden has been blessed beyond measure with talent, elegance, class and her gorgeous voice. Indeed her cup runneth over. Frances was the recipient of the 2016 102.5 Fine Music FM Stefan Kruger award late last year, has opened for Dionne Warwick, regularly sells out jazz clubs around the country and has been compared to Diana Krall and Norah Jones. Praise follows her everywhere she goes. Frances is a rising star in the jazz scene, and has captured many hearts, but is just getting started. Despite her natural gifts, Frances is truly a very hard working musician. She has invested hundreds of hours as she studies and practices music, learns and honours the standards, composes and writes original works like a pro, looks after her voice, and continues to give performance after performance.
Then there is Ella Macens. Composing original works and having them performed by some of Australia’s and Europe's greatest choral and orchestral groups is not something many women have the opportunity of doing. However, Ella is well into her second year at a brand new Masters degree created by The University of Sydney called the National Women Composers Development Program. The NWCDP - rolls right off the tongue - aims to bring some change to the under representation of women composers in Australia, and indeed around the world. The course kicked off last year and four women were selected out of many applicants to take part. The fortunate four - Ella Macens, Clare Johnston, Elizabeth Younan, and, Natalie Nicolas - are being mentored by some of Australia’s top women composers, industry experts, and members of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s composition unit. Over the course of the two year Masters degree these women will have the opportunity to write for and work with the Goldner String Quartet, The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and percussionist Claire Edwardes. Ella is being mentored by some of Australia’s leading female composers, Maria Grenfell, Moya Henderson, Anne Boyd and Rosalind Page, and at the conclusion of the degree, each ensemble and Clare Edwardes will commission one of these women composers to write a new work. It's an exciting initiative and an incredible opportunity.
Ruby May, is a singer/songwriter from Sydney's Northern Beaches. Her penchant for beautiful melodies with an equally beautiful voice to match makes for gorgeous tunes. But after the launch of her first EP Wanderer, in 2014, Ruby found out she would need some jaw operations. During that time of forced silence and painkillers, Ruby wondered what her future held. She started exploring other career pathways but, as it does, the music beckoned. After wandering - pun, yes - down the film making road, she couldn't stop thinking of how much music meant to her. A couple of years and many questions later, Ruby May has her heart and hand firmly committed to music. Her jaw operations were successful, she has made a full recovery, and has released a brand new single called Chasing The Sun produced by Nik Karlin and it is just divine. Ruby's voice is pure and striking, and the song embodies the warmth of the rays through the window on a long road trip.