Industry lowdown at the right stage

AFTER a week of hosting senior CMAA Academy of Country Music students, the juniors and their parents have moved in.

Ranging in age from 11 years old to 17, they’ve come from across the country to Tamworth for expert, intensive country music tuition for a week from some of the best in the business.

Ashlyn Neil from Mackay is at the academy on a scholarship and wanted to attend to improve herself as an artist.

“It’s a big learning experience,” she said.

“We’ve been learning about the industry and how to handle things. I’ve been singing since I was little and been playing guitar for three years.”

Fellow student 14-year-old Bridget O’Shannessy from Brisbane said she wanted to bring country to the city.

She’s been singing in competition for about three years, but singing all her life.

“My granddad lives in Kingaroy and there is a bush ballad festival around Anzac Day with walk-ups,” she said.

“When I was about 10, I told my mum I wanted to enter and sang Pony by Kasey Chambers, even though I had singing lessons with a classical teacher. I love it and that’s where I started.”

Bridget said her granddad paid for her to attend the junior academy.

She will perform during festival at the Shine concert with Carter and Carter.

Kearsley’s Mackenzie Pringle is another 14-year-old who said she also wanted to improve her performance and increase her knowledge of the music industry.

“I want to work with people who’ve been in the industry for a long time,” she said.

“It has been a great experience and I have loved the jam sessions because you learn a heap.”

West Australian bush balladeer Kate Hindle travelled across the nation to attend the academy.

She is on a scholarship from the Australian Bush Balladeers Association.

“I want to gain more experience to be the best performer I can be,” Kate said.

“I also want to meet new people. Academy is definitely living up to my expectations and more.”

The junior students graduate on Thursday night at Wests.

Bridget said she was excited about kick-starting the festival with the graduation concert and Kate said it was a great opportunity to put what they’d learned into practice.

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