X-FACTOR winner and Eurovision grand finalist Isaiah Firebrace has shared an afternoon with local indigenous young people, singing with them and recounting his journey up ’til now.
Firebrace was invited to do a workshop at Binaalbaa Aboriginal Learning Centre at Tamworth TAFE on Sunday, the day after a show at the Capitol Theatre.
He said it was “such a great experience” and gave a special tip of the hat to local singer-songwriter Kelsey Strasek-Barker.
“Every person I got up to sing were actually really great singers with amazing voices, especially [Kelsey],” Firebrace said.
“She shared one of her original songs and that was just amazing.
“I loved her voice, so hopefully we can connect and write a song together at some stage.”
One of the organisers, Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) chief executive Fiona Snape, said the idea was to inspire young people, and not just those into music.
“He spoke about how long he’d been singing; about how he’d have to catch the train three hours to go to his training,” Ms Snape said.
“The message was, basically, that you’ve got to back yourself, take risks, believe in yourself – not just in music but in any career.”
Firebrace, a Yorta Yorta-Gunditjmara man from Moama on the NSW-Victoria border, said he’d done these workshops in a number of places and enjoyed “connecting with people on a more personal level”.
“The people of Tamworth are just so nice … It was just an all-round good vibe.”
As for his advice to the teens there, the 18-year-old told them: “Take every opportunity you can.”
“A chain reaction will happen, and you never know. … always just do your best, be proactive and know it takes a lot of sacrifice for great success.”
LALC trainee caseworker Samantha Duncan said more than 65 young people had come along, their ages ranging from about 10 years to late teens.
She said it was great to hear Firebrace urging the young Aboriginal kids to put aside any concerns about “shame” and to proudly strive for their goals.
“They loved it; I didn’t get one kid saying anything bad about the day,” Miss Duncan said.