MELBOURNE | SYDNEY AUGUST 2019
Support Act CEO, artists and music professionals talk career development and mental health at Nando’s Music Exchange
Photography by Pat Stevenson and Ian Laidlaw
Nando’s Music Exchange program is designed to help emerging music creatives aged 18 to 24 progress their music career by connecting them with experts in the industry, supporting the next generation of Australian music talent.
Hosted by radio presenter, television personality and DJ Jane Gazzo, the MX line up included some of Australia’s best industry talent such as Nyxen and Ecca Vandal through to industry stalwarts including Sammie Anschau Queen Bee at Beehive PR and Support Act CEO, Clive Miller.
The event also included immersive panel discussions and artist workshops that shared exclusive industry knowledge on areas of music publicity and branding while addressing important subjects including mental health in music. Here are some of the highlights:
Prioritise your mental health
The nature of the music industry can have a significant impact on mental health and wellbeing. Support yourself and those around you by understanding the challenges that come with the job.
Clive Miller, who started his career in the music industry working as a broadcaster, promoter and manager recognises the critical need to provide crisis support to artists and industry workers in the music biz. Support Act is a charity organisation created to provide specialised support for the music community who are experiencing mental health issues.
“A recent Australian study showed that musicians suffer from anxiety and depression at rates five to ten times higher than people in the rest of society. The causes for some artists to experience heightened levels of anxiety, depression or other issues can often be low or irregular incomes, highly competitive working environments, sleep deprivation and the loneliness and stress that comes with touring and substance abuse.”
Balance is key, know your limits
Artists are speaking up about mental health in the music industry, the emotional and physical toll of the job and recognising the need to prioritise their health and wellbeing.
“It’s important to recognise that although some of your best creativity comes from experiencing raw and often difficult emotions, you also need a break from that headspace. Many artists have found that mediation has been an effective technique to help look after their mental health by bringing them into the present moment. The goal of meditation is not to get rid of your thoughts, it’s to be able to have control over when you access them.
“Find a balance, making sure you have identified techniques which help you destress. They have a term in the acting world called ‘de-rolling’ which means to disconnect and create the time to go and do other things, whether its exercise or hanging out with friends, something that’s going to give you distance.”
“The Support Act Wellbeing Helpline is a free, 24/7 confidential phone counselling service available to anyone working in music who may have any concern about any aspect of their mental health and wellbeing. Anyone can ring the hotline and you’ll get put through to trained psychologists with expertise in the music industry. They are able to offer help in many areas of mental health, like depression, anxiety, addiction and suicidal ideation to name a few.”
If you, or someone you know is struggling with mental health, call the Support Act hotline on 1800 959 500.
Get your music out there
Publishing your music is key to getting exposure and with the rise of digital channels, creatives now have access to a range of free services which allow artists to reach new audiences.
Triple J, Australia’s only national youth broadcaster, has two million listeners tune in weekly. Uploading music to Triple J Unearthed can have a big impact on emerging artists hoping to build their audience and get their name out there.
Nyxen, electronic music artist and 2016 Triple J Unearthed winner says SoundCloud and Triple J Unearthed are great places to start releasing music.
“I began releasing my music on SoundCloud when I first started out. It was probably just my friends listening at that stage but eventually my audience grew so I continued using it to release my new music for the first few years. It’s a great way to be heard on a global scene. That said, it’s also important to grow with people at a local level. You can put your music on SoundCloud and Spotify to get listens overseas, but what’s important is having a local network who support you. I’d recommend Triple J Unearthed to any new artist wanting to get their music out there.”
Keep it consistent
Stand out and relate to fans by creating an easily identifiable brand that is unique to you, and remain consistent across all platforms.
Sammie Anschau, the Queen Bee of music publicity company Beehive PR, says that your branding should be consistent across every touchpoint you have with your audience.
“The best branding tool is ensuring your aesthetic is in line. So, when you do have a release, your press photo matches your tour art which then matches your pack shot. All your photos should then be translated to your socials and other platforms such as Triple J Unearthed so when someone goes to look for you in all those different places, and they do go to all those places, they can see exactly who you are.”
Don’t fake it ‘til you make it
Social media plays a big role in building an artist’s profile, and it’s vital to tell an authentic story in order to build a strong connection with your audience.
Alex Zaccaria, Director at Australia’s leading music and entertainment digital agency, Bolster, advises that your budget should be spent on showing people your music rather than buying fake followers or likes.
“Don’t spend money on new page like campaigns or follower campaigns. They are only gaining you metrics they don’t actually mean that much – you will lose those followers as quickly as you got them.”
Nando’s, a proud supporter of Australian music, developed MX to provide opportunities for creatives to network with a community of like-minded people, and support the next wave of budding artists to further develop their craft and industry know how. The Global Music Exchange, kicking off on Monday 9 September 2019 will take six early career music creatives to the famous London Roundhouse, in an all-expenses paid trip to work with artists from South Africa, UK and Australia.
This feature was created from the knowledge shared at the Australian Nando’s Music Exchange workshops, which were held in Melbourne and Sydney this year.