The Bachelor of Popular Music graduate showcase has been a tradition almost since the first students graduated in 2001.
Since then, it has grown from an informal chance for “one last jam” to the polished presentation you’ll see on Thursday 26 November at The Arts Centre Gold Coast. That’s when Queensland Conservatorium’s Popular Music program will showcase intimate performances by some of the most impressive emerging artists in SEQ. Aquila Young, Phoebe Sinclair, Cadence, Sunday, Isabel Wood and Sophie Canning, Static, Mikayla J, Jake Fox, Georgia Bell, Miranda Ward and Lachlan Bambach are all on the bill.
While the graduate showcase represents the culmination of three years of full time study for those involved, those students performing are already well embarked on their musical careers, many having released EPs and toured.
Dr Donna Weston who is the Program Director for the Bachelor of Popular Music said that individual artists and groups from the BMP have already received worldwide acclaim and recording contracts.
“This year’s graduating cohort is pretty much the same as every year – a bunch of super talented students representing a wide range of music styles as well as allied music industry skills from audio engineering and production to music business,” she said.
All graduates have played extensively in live contexts, and have written an impressive folio of original songs.
“When we first introduced this event many years ago, it was originally intended as a sendoff kind of event – a chance for students to play together one more time. But we have realised that the talent on show is too impressive to keep to ourselves and have been working toward making this a professional showcase to the public and to the industry,” Donna said, adding that this year they’ve well and truly reached that goal.
Donna said the live performance will include a wide range of original music from a group of exceptionally talented musicians, “the likes of which you would expect from any professionally staged event.
“While it might be called a student showcase, the quality of the music is equivalent to what you would hear on the radio,” she said.
“Four of the students performing have recently returned from a university funded trip to Nashville,” Donna added. “They wrote, performed and recorded with some of Nashville’s finest producers and session musicians, resulting not only in some amazing tracks, but also in several offers which will no doubt launch musical careers.”
With prestigious alumni including Kite String Tangle, Wolfmother and Bobby Alu, the Queensland Conservatorium’s Popular Music program has a reputation for producing music professionals of the highest calibre. This year’s graduating class is no exception and you can see eleven of those graduates perform live at the Graduate Showcase, Thursday 26 November at The Arts Centre Gold Coast.
BPM Graduate profiles
pop | singer songwriter
Sunday may not be a household name but this soulful poet is about to make waves with her genre-defying sound and mind consuming lyrics. Originally from Cairo, Egypt, this singer songwriter relocated to Brisbane, Australia at nine years of age only to begin song-writing a year later. Through absorbing sounds from the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Ed Sheeran and many more, Sunday has rightfully grown into her own unique artist, and a brilliant one at that. Sunday manages to light up entire venues and amaze audiences at every show with not only her onstage presence but her self-tailored onstage look, allowing her to shine in her own image even more.
Listen at soundcloud.com/sundayofficialmusic
alternative | indie rock |dreamscape
In a hidden pocket of smokescreen and haze lies Aquila Young. Cast in deep shadows with an alluring presence, the artist echoes the past in a nostalgic escape. Small and fragile with instinctive electric flair, she merges an array of sounds to form the motions between soul and song. Her Latin name translates to the eagle, a notion of fierce character through a truly vulnerable nature. It is her love for the eternal winter that serves as a musing where the soundscape takes the form of the seasoned elements. During the cooler months an invigoration transpires evoking a core of passionate expanse. The songs are swept up in rolling drums; lush, swelling guitars and deeply resonant vocals with sounds that emanate a brooding core of surreal and dreamlike capacity. It translates into a dynamic explosion of songs collectively travelling deep into the unknown. Aquila Young recently released her debut EP Distance Echoes.
Listen at soundcloud.com/AquilaYoung
ambient | electronic
An individual sound. Emotional, instinctive and honest; that is Phoebe Sinclair. Originally hailing from the shores of northern England, the now Brisbane based singer is making her mark on the ambient/electronic music scene. Many artists have influenced her hypnotic tunes. From the artistically exuberant Sia, to the fanatically melodious Ellie Goulding, to the delicately hypnotic Thelma Plum, all of which come together in one harmonious bundle, delighting the senses. Heavily reliant on her soulful vocals and the ardent lyrical content, Phoebe Sinclair’s music has a habit of lulling her listeners into a peaceful serenity before breaking all the rules. Her compelling performances transcend her listeners, leaving hearts in throats and melodies in mind. Currently working on her upcoming EP Phoebe Sinclair is bringing whole new levels of incandescence to her already glowing music.
Listen at soundcloud.com/phoebemusicofficial
Fox and Fiasco
alternative pop | folk
Gold Coast indie band Fox and Fiasco burst onto the music scene last year, releasing three singles, a killer EP and playing a rack of shows, tour dates and festival slots. Emerging from humble beginnings as an acoustic brother-sister duo, Fox and Fiasco have since recruited a talented bunch of motley musical friends to create the tight five-piece sound with vocalist Brendan Huxley on guitar and mandolin and his singing sister Jess Huxley, joined by bassist Tim Newans, drummer Ban Radnidge and pianist Matt Liao. In the past year the band has graced local festivals, parties and travelled the east coast on an eight-date Secret Garden Tour, before knuckling down in the studio in early 2015 to pump out their debut EP Once Implored with five tracks of catchy indie-pop tunes that have listeners hooked. Their latest single Love Changes Everything, which features Canadian band Tasman Jude, was piped as the Easterfest 2015 theme song with punters packing out the band’s every set at the Toowoomba festival.
Listen at soundcloud.com/foxandfiasco
folk | singer songwriter
Isabel Wood is a solo acoustic artist living on the Gold Coast who blends the musical styles of folk, indie and pop to create a captivating and unique sound. Isabel started playing guitar when she was fourteen and soon after discovered the beauty that was the mixture of poetry, vocals and acoustic guitar. After a year of classical vocal training she then began competing and placing in Sunshine Coast eisteddfods. She explains that “participating in these types of activities brought me closer to other musicians and also helped me to gain confidence on stage and as an artist. The main thing I have realised during the years of my musical journey is my new found love and passion for music and therefore life in general.”
Listen at soundcloud.com/issys-imagination
If Max Martin and Ryan Tedder joined forces to create a super songwriting duo to save pop music, who you gonna call? Static! Static consists of Jake Barker and Lara Frew. Barker and Frew befriended one another while studying music at Griffith University’s Queensland Conservatorium. They discovered that they both have a passion for songwriting and producing a range of pop music. With Barker’s ear for catchy melodies and pop production and Frew’s sincerity with lyrics, Static has the perfect combination. After writing and producing countless songs Barker and Frew came to the realisation that on certain tracks, collaborating with multiple vocalists was necessary to do their music justice. By having these guest vocalists feature on some of their songs, Jake and Lara are able to achieve their vision.
Listen at: soundcloud.com/staticmusicofficial
_ _ _ _
Bachelor Popular Music – Graduate Showcase, Thursday 26 November from 7.30pm, The Arts Centre Gold Coast Basement.