First Sounds grows careers for emerging First Nations musicians

Wendy McWilliam, 11th December 2020
Print
The Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) and First Nations Media Australia (FNMA) are excited to announce the expansion of First Sounds in 2021. 
 
Thanks to renewed funding from the Australia Council for the Arts, First Sounds 2021 will enter a new phase of this exciting initiative. Whilst First Sounds 2020 focused on getting more First Nations artists on the airwaves, 2021 will see First Sounds expand with the addition of a one-on-one mentorship program, supporting First Nations artists to take their careers to the next level. 
 
First Sounds launched in 2020 when First Nations content platform, indigiTUBE teamed up with the CBAA’s Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (Amrap), to showcase fresh Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander talent. The inaugural year has been a resounding success. 120 First Nations artists have been featured on the indigiTUBE platform and made available for community radio airplay via Amrap. In addition, 4 compilation volumes have been distributed on CD and digitally across the country, featuring 48 carefully curated songs selected by a panel of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music industry leaders.  
 
“Being part of the First Sounds complication has been a great opportunity for me and my current profile, as it not only given me exposure to the broader circle but has also given me the opportunity for my music to be heard in a different way. I love sharing my creativity with many other local artists across Australia. First Sounds has also introduced me to other amazing artists and allowed me to connect with other creativities. I think it's really important for projects like this to be dedicated to mob and give them a platform that only highlights Blak excellence on a mainstream level because I know mob find it hard to find the right stepping stone on where to take their music. First Sounds is a perfect place to start for that extra boost in getting the right exposure to the industry! I look forward to seeing where it goes!!,” said J-MILLA, proud Mak Mak Marranungu hip hop and R&B artist (pictured). 
In 2021, Amrap and indigiTUBE will continue the popular First Sounds CD compilations for community radio airplay, with all eligible artists featured on the online platforms too. In addition, a selection of promising artists from the 2020 First Sounds program will receive one-on-one mentorship from First Nations industry leaders, alongside curated media kits to help take their music careers to the next level. Artists will receive support with building a digital profile, refining interview skills and business development – all combining to turn airplay into the best opportunity to grow a sustainable music career. The mentorship program will include a two-day intensive between artists and mentors as part of BIGSOUND 2021 in Brisbane. 
 
“We started this project thinking about how to get more First Nations voices heard and the response has been awesome in terms of lifting their profile and letting people know about the amazing talent in our communities,” said indigiTUBE Manager, Jaja Dare, “In 2021 we want to take it next level by helping artists make connections and get the tools they need to make music their job if they want to do it full time. It’s about empowering First Nations musicians with this knowledge from people who are already doing it, and we have a great crew of established professionals in the music industry who have already been part of the curation for the compilations. We are stoked to have support from the Australia Council for the Arts to make this happen – it’s going to be epic!”
“The diversity and quality of music featured on the First Sounds compilations in 2020 has been incredible” said Amrap Manager, Andrew Khedoori, “It has resonated so well with stations, who have played tracks ranging from hip hop, roots, rock, reggae, pop and more. It has been great to see some of the tracks featuring First Nations languages being picked up by radio across the country too. We can’t wait to hear more language content featured in 2021.”
Stay tuned for an artist callout in early 2021!
 
Check out the latest in the First Sounds 2020 compilation Volume 4.
 
If you’re a broadcaster and you’d like to receive the First Sounds CD compilations, contact Amrap by email amrap@cbaa.org.au or visit amrap.org.au.

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