With a keynote address from Sydney’s own beat masters Hermitude, FEEDBACK is a music conference for young people who want to learn how to get gigs, release music, build a fan base, work with publicists, get airplay, find a manager and much, much more.
One of the panellists is musician Lisa Mitchell, who'll be providing her own insights into how young people can enter the music industry.
You are part of the panel at next week's FEEDBACK music conference for young people in Sydney. Looking forward to the event?
[Lisa Mitchell] Hi. Yes, thanks for having me. I can’t wait! Apologies in advance if I go off on tangents!
When you remember your early years as an artist, what were some of the issues you faced that you can now provide advice about?
I’ve been really fortunate in that I’ve always had supportive managers and friends around me, but the hardest thing I’ve had to learn how to do is make decisions when there is no right or wrong. There’s often no one answer to anything and that can be really difficult to just make a decision and stick with it. I’ve learnt to be trusting and forgiving of myself with my decision making.
The event is part of the Vivid Ideas Exchange; how important is it for young people to have access to industry members at an event like FEEDBACK? And how important is it for people of different ages/ experiences to interact, engage with each other...share advice, offer support etc?
Great question. I think it’s so important. Like I said before about there being no right or wrong ways in this songwriting/ performing way of life; most of it comes down to just having friends and support to work through ideas and worries with.
I love listening to what other artists have to say, their stories and ideas and what perplexes them. Still to this day I am seeking out older, wiser artists to ask questions. I loved listening to Laura Marling's ‘Reversal Of The Muse’ podcast where she spoke to Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris.
If you're a young person wanting a career within the music, entertainment industry, what is the best advice you can offer them?
Trusting yourself is the number one I think. From financial to creative decisions. Trusting that you know what to do, that you know how to find your kindred people, your managers, your business team. Listening to your own intuition as well as your mind/ Dad/ guru/ spirit guide to make your decisions.
From a young person's POV, what are two or three things they need to do before approaching the industry?
A nice, growing bunch of demos and feeling confident playing live are pretty much the beginning of any kind of music career I think. A touch of ‘I don’t care if this happens or not’ is very attractive, but mainly just genuinely enjoying yourself. When someone is inspired they really give off beautiful energy and people want to be around them. Good incentive to stay inspired.
Experience is a valuable asset. But you need time to build experience. Are there any tricks of the trade you can offer young people to fast-track their progress?
I think playing live is the fastest way to learn about yourself as a performer and as a songwriter. Once you become confident on stage, you can start trying things, changing the way you do things, changing the order of your set, changing the tempos, adding beats or another player if you can afford it, working out if talking between songs is your thing or not. Experimentation is where it’s at.
Away from FEEDBACK, what is happening creatively in Lisa Mitchell's world?
I’m writing a new album, but I feel really reluctant about that right now. It’s such a process! I know now that I just have to ride the fear waves when they come… I often look to my favourite artists (both musical and visual artists) at these times and remember how they inspire me. I know they too would’ve felt reluctant and scared about sharing their art at some point. And yet aren’t we all glad they did!
Any live shows planned?
I am about to start this big Australian tour with Dustin Tebbutt which I have a feeling is going to be a bit of fun. Check out the dates, hopefully see you there.
FEEDBACK takes place as part of Vivid Ideas Exchange at Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney) 12 June 11am-4pm.