Meet the finalists for the inaugural Gold Coast Music Prize

For the very first time, the Gold Coast Music Awards is offering a career-defining prize to an emerging artist who’s expected to make great strides in the coming year.

This year, the inaugural Gold Coast Music Prize is being sponsored by Bleach* The Gold Coast Festival and an impressive list of local industry experts have thrown their weight behind the concept to put together what is, absolutely, a career-boosting prize of epic proportions.

Three incredible Gold Coast artists: Doolie, DVNA and DENNIS., will go head to head for the Gold Coast Music Prize which will offer the winner an incredible list of opportunities.

The Gold Coast Music Prize is supported by Bleach* Festival and incorporates one mentoring session with Artistic Director and CEO of Bleach* Festival Rosie Dennis, the creation of an artist profile clip to be shared by Bleach* for promotional purposes, an online profile on Bleach* and Placemaker’s digital channels, introduction to Bleach* partners looking to support local artists, the opportunity to be the opening act for Bleach* Festival’s Behind The Golden Doors event in late 2020 as well as future paid opportunities to work with Bleach* in 2021.  

The prize also includes a comprehensive single release PR campaign from Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, a self-managed artist mentoring package from Asho at Foostomp, artist-to-artist mentoring package from Julz Parker and Leesa Gentz (Hussy Hicks), strategic grant and award writing support from Wombat Creative, a photo shoot or music video package from The Edit Suite, feature marketing and promotion of gigs as well as a live recorded video from GIGL, venue hire and marketing for a gig at HOTA, instore performance opportunity at #beatniks Record Store and 12 months of editorial and advertising support from Blank Gold Coast. In addition there’s a luxe stay at QT Gold Coast in an ocean view king suite, with breakfast for two in Bazaar and one-day complimentary pool cabana hire with a $100 food and beverage package plus paid performance opportunities (where possible) available through Southport Sharks, CBD LIVE, Gold Coast Music Awards and East West Presents.

 

DOOLIE

Tell me about your musical career to date?

I used to write all the time when I was younger, or even just sing random things and pretend I’m in a music video or on a stage. I started doing musicals, choir, eisteddfods, and singing concerts and music camps, until I decided I wanted venture out on my own and start getting out there. So I started busking and doing pub gigs for a few years. Then by 2015 I had written enough songs that I could select a few to record.

By 2016 I had won a Queensland Music Award and decided to start my own project where it would be me, a band, and all my original material… I would be on a stage, I would wear costumes, and there would be lights and a crowd, and that’s exactly what happened. Things started to really evolve by then, I started meeting new people, learning new things, wearing bigger and bolder costumes.

Then I met the Etcetc team, and I did my first features with Poolclvb and Paces. I started getting to know more people once again, and it led me to perform on stages at Splendour in the Grass, Falls Festival, Big Pineapple Festival as a guest vocalist, and I even had my own set at Big Pineapple Festival. I’ve met so many talented people who I’ve had the luck of working with.

What do you love most about being an artist on the Gold Coast?

I love the community! And I just love how nice and supportive everyone is of one another. I love how close the community comes together, and also how great some of our live venues are. I also love how accessible things are for Gold Coast musicians, like performing at great venues, and how they’re all really close together.

DENNIS.

Tell me about your career to date?

I moved to the Gold Coast 6 years ago from Yeppoon to study at Griffith University Queensland Conservatorium of Music. I had always been super in love with music growing up and studying music after school just made sense! During my degree I travelled to Nashville on a two week scholarship and really made the connection that I was pretty serious about making music a full time thing!

I graduated in 2017 and released the first single of the DENNIS. project in 2018. Since my debut single ‘ALIVE’ I signed with Independent label ‘Get Smart Music’ started by Industry veteran Russell Thomas, released two more singles ‘TRAP DOOR’ and ‘VERTIGO’, played a lot of shows in 2019, produced a full on music video for ‘VERTIGO’, got announced as the opening act of the ‘Drop Festival’ Coolangatta 2020 and now I find myself in the running for four Gold Coast Music Awards.

What do you love most about being an artist on the Gold Coast?

The Gold Coast has become my musical mum! When I was nine I sang for the Gold Coast Mayor at the Christmas Lights Up Awards and I felt like the bees knees. When I moved here and played my first show at Nightquarter I really felt a sense of connection to the music community here on the Gold Coast and when I was asked to open up the Drop Festival for this year, I realised how much being a Gold Coast artist feels so good and so right. If I hadn’t been pushed to pursue my career here on the GC I’m not sure I would feel as fulfilled and backed as I do today! All those things my real Mum makes me feel everyday. I am so lucky to be a Gold Coast artist.

 

DVNA

Tell me about your career to date?

When I was 18 I started to take my music a little seriously. I went over to the States to work with some producers and songwriters and that’s ultimately what lead me to falling in love with production itself. On returning home, I enrolled myself into a degree and was taught / self-taught the basics of songwriting and production.

I was 24 and after finally being happy with a song to the point of release. ‘Girl On The Move’ became my debut single and that’s where things really started to take off. Triple J quickly jumped on board and have supported my releases ever since. Four singles later and I can happily say I’ve played festivals I thought I never would have, worked with some incredible artists all over the country and get to do music as a close to full-time job.

You studied at TAFE Gold Coast. Can you tell me about that experience?

I praise TAFE for being my gateway into the music industry. The teacher-to-student relationship was super personal and I felt like I always had access to them which helped a lot. The facilities in the campus itself were of a super high standard and always well looked after. We were encouraged to use the studios at all times. I met key people during my studies and can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t attended TAFE.

What do you love most about being an artist on the Gold Coast?

How close and supportive all of the artists are around here. We show up to each other’s gigs and get behind each other’s journeys. It’s truly beautiful to witness. Not only that, the city really pushes us as well. Publications like Blank GC, festivals like Bleach* just to name a few always make themselves present and check in with us: assisting with promotion, making sure we have everything we need. It’s great to be a part of this community!

We announce winners of this and nine other categories of the 2020 Gold Coast Music Awards on Thursday 30 April from 7.00pm. Get the viewing details at bit.ly/GCMA2020.

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