Multi-talented musician wins Southern Cross University’s inaugural Rolling Stone magazine scholarship

The future is tuning up to be major for Southern Cross University Bachelor of Contemporary Music student Leon Holstegge who has been awarded the inaugural Rolling Stone sponsored scholarship.

Now in the second year of his degree, Leon couldn’t believe his luck after applying for the scholarship which will give him a total of $15,000 to help with his studies and align him with the internationally-acclaimed Rolling Stone publication.

Southern Cross Uni and Rolling Stone have partnered to offer similar scholarships to students for the next three years. It’s open to commencing and current students undertaking the Bachelor of Contemporary Music at the University’s flagship Lismore campus close to Byron Bay, and Coomera Creative Campus on the Gold Coast.

Leon started playing music when he was about four years old. After high school he chose to pursue music at Southern Cross University because of its strong reputation in the music industry.

“As a kid I started on drums because I saw my dad set up an electric kit and I was always intrigued by it and then it just went on from there. I saved up enough money for my own guitar – a Fender Telecaster – I spent all my life savings on it, about $2,000. I was 12 years old and I knew exactly what I wanted and got it modified in the shop,” Leon said.

“I’ve had a lot of friends come to study at Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus and they recommended the music course to me and I’d heard it was one of the best in the in the country.

“They’ve added new facilities to the campus. There’s a purpose-built performing centre there which can link up to the other recording studios in the block, which is cool.

“I was scrolling through Facebook and saw the link for the Rolling Stone Scholarship and thought ‘this could be nice’ and then just went for it. It means a lot actually to be the first person to be awarded this scholarship – it came as a surprise to me when I got the news. I didn’t think I had much of a chance then I got an email saying I was one of the top 10 applicants.

It’s a bit overwhelming, because it’s such a big business, the Rolling Stone Magazine.

Leon is a versatile instrumentalist playing guitar, bass and drums, and aspires to be an accomplished session musician.

“Currently I’m playing drums, bass and guitar and I’ve been messing around with piano a bit. My main goal is to become a session musician. I just like to play with everyone and across all the styles as well.

“This scholarship will definitely help me with paying the fees and for rent now that I’ve moved on to campus.”

The origins of Southern Cross Uni’s music degree are in the heart of the NSW Northern Rivers, one the most creative regions in Australia, which has long been a place that national and international artists call home. It’s a destination for musicians performing at major festivals or recording at some of the region’s most iconic studios.

For more information about studying the Bachelor of Contemporary Music or studying creative arts in 2021 visit

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