Sponsored by APRA, the Caloundra Music Festival Emerging Youth Artist Mentoring and Promotion program was open to local (Sunshine Coast) musicians’.  The aim was to take advantage of the high calibre musicians in town for the Caloundra Music Festival that would otherwise be unreachable for a mentoring opportunity such as this.  The program sought to enhance the knowledge, experience and networks of our local emerging artists and support them in moving forward in their careers.  In addition to securing a spot on a major festival lineup they gained recognition within the music industry both nationally and internationally.

3 musicians were mentored by Danielle Caruana, front women of Mama Kin.  The mentoring package included an hour one to one with Danielle, Danielle then attended sound check with the artist and watched their set.

Feedback from Teila Packman, front women of SOULA.

I was lucky enough to meet and be mentored by Mama Kin at this years Caloundra Music Festival. I found this opportunity very beneficial and took away a lot of helpful advice. Danielle shared with me some great tips on protecting my vocals (especially while touring), creating energy on stage and connecting with the audience. Some of her best advice was offered when I asked her how she looks after herself as a performer. Her answer was “well… I treat myself as an athlete.” Although I obviously already knew that my instrument was a part of me, she cemented just how important it is to take extra care of yourself as a singer. Early nights before gigs, plenty of water (“all the time, if you’re dehydrated today then you probably didn’t drink enough water 3 days ago….”), no food just before bed (so you don’t get reflux and burn your vocal chords) and good quality healthy food are all very important. I enjoyed having the time with Mama Kin not only to learn but to make connections and to have a joke as well. Being a part of the CMF lineup this year was awesome! I loved playing at the festival and also spending time in the Green Room and meeting other bands touring from all over the world was a fantastic experience. I would recommend the artist mentoring program for any other bands/ artists who have a strong passion for music and are willing to learn more about their chosen instrument.


Feedback from Andrea Kirwin, singer songwriter.

My mentoring opportunity with Mamakin was a very insightful and eye opening experience. I came into the conversation with some preconceived ideas of what Daniele might be like and I admit I was taken aback on how driven, intense and committed she was both as a person and in regards to her music career. Daniele shared her thoughts on how to achieve success as an independent artist. I had some questions I was going to ask Daniele (about how she manages her career with family life etc) however I didn’t get a chance to ask them. She began by asking me a few questions on where I was at in my career and then encouraged me to take steps towards building my fan base by touring locally on a two month basis and visit schools. I explained to her that this wouldn’t suit my family situation as both I and my partner work full time and I study, but she explained that if I wanted to make it in the current Australian Music Industry, I needed to be dedicated, driven, goal orientated and commit time to connecting with people in the music industry and fans. Daniele said a few times that if music was my hobby that’s cool, there’s no pressure and to enjoy what comes my way but if it is my career I need to work at it and be innovative, engaging and creative in order to set myself apart from all the other Artists in Australia (of which there are thousands).

On many levels Daniele is right. The music industry, like any industry, requires Artists to sell themselves through promotion, advertising, marketing and focus on the getting of things. i.e. Facebook likes, people’s emails, fans, networking contacts, venue contacts and industry contacts. There seems to be a capitalistic need to grow your fan base and your name exponentially and the more people know about you the better your career is going and the closer you come to being successful. There came a time in my mentoring session where I really felt like crying. I felt as if there was a pressure to chase something in the outside world that would then give me that feeling of happiness and success as an artist. Some kind of recognition. Daniele apologised to me for coming off as intense and hardlined. She asked me how I was feeling, and I said ‘nervous’. She said that’s good and it’s all just energy and I’ll be able to transform it into creativity. She offered to come and see my gig after the mentoring session and I was the most nervous I’d been at a show in years. Daniele left for another mentoring session after 2 songs and I was able to finish my set feeling more like myself.

My mentoring experience with Daniele taught me that my music is neither a hobby, nor my career. It is an expression of my soul, which I love to share with people. It comes from a place inside me that exists outside the wants and needs of the music industry as it is not a product that needs to capture people on an email list or receive recognition from the outside world. After the Caloundra Music Festival I dropped out of my Music Business Diploma at Sunshine Coast tafe as I realised a career in the Music Industry is not for me. I realised that I am so happy where I am right now in my life and that my music will find it’s way to the ears of people that need to hear it. I am so grateful that I could meet with Daniele and learn this. It is a blessing and I thank the Caloundra Music Festival for giving me this opportunity. Sometimes you need to hear what you are not, in order to appreciate all that you are. 

Feedback from Sahara Beck, singer songwriter.

Did you benefit from the mentoring
Yes I did

How did you benefit?
Mainly with song writing and performing.

Best tips?
To make the choruses in future songs that I write very simple. Also that when I’m performing I shouldn’t be afraid of anything, whether its controlling the crowd or just jumping into the crowd and dancing with them.

Highlights of the mentoring
Getting good advice and getting to hang out with Danielle afterwards.

Did you benefit from being part of the CMF lineup?
I had an amazing time, I met so many new people and I got to join my friends on the main stage which was so fun and obviously benefited me by getting my name out there.

What was the best thing you got out of mentoring?
The performance advice has changed the way I think about performing to people.

Would you recommend the CMF mentoring for other bands/artists?
I definitely would, it’s always a great thing to get advice from someone who has been where you are now. I’m very greatful and hopefully I get to be a part of Caloundra music festival again next year.

30 musicians that make up the All Star Show Band were mentored by Nicky Bomba.  The mentoring package included a two day workshop, performing on stage with the band at the Caloundra Music Festival Launch Night AND performing on stage with the Melbourne Ska Orchestra!

Feedback from Elissa on behalf of the All Star Show Band.

Did artists benefit from the mentoring
Yes! All the artists greatly benefitted from this mentoring programming. They learnt a lot about improvisation, composition writing and stage presentation.

Best tips?
How to play together as one. How to play more music by ear and without reading charts.

Highlights of the mentoring
Artists performing with an international act. Performing on stage with Nicky Bomba and the Melbourne Ska Orchestra. Learning Melbourne Ska Orchestra repertoire.

Did you benefit from being part of the CMF line up?
All participants and mentors greatly benefited from being a part of the line up, as they got to work with internationally and nationally renowned artists and hear their stories/experiences as musicians.

What was the best thing you got out of mentoring?
To challenge and show the participants that they can play music without charts with confidence. To create harmonies within the different instrument sections.

Would you recommend the CMF mentoring for other bands/artists?
Yes we would definitely recommend this experience to other bands/artists as our participants learnt priceless practical and performance related skills from working with such experienced artists/mentors.