EMERGING from her father’s shadow, Jem Cassar-Daley is one of just 27 students at Tamworth’s CMAA Academy.
The country music pianist is stepping out on her own and hopes to hone her songwriting skills at the two week intensive.
“It’s coming down to becoming your own artist, breaking away from that,” Jem said.
“It’s difficult because you want to do a lot of the things they did, you aspire to be like them, I look up to my dad [Troy Cassar-Daley] quite a lot and it’s just about releasing your own music.
“My spin on things isn’t the same.”
Jem’s love for country music started at a young age, and with a father like Troy Cassar-Daley who could blame her?
She plays a number of different genres, but country is usually where it sits – her music is influenced by the changes in her life at the time.
“I think it’s whatever I’m facing at the time, at the moment after just graduating school there’s a lot of changes happened so it’s adjusting to that,” she said.
“A lot of my music is reflecting on that at the moment, it’s a change of life for myself and my family.
“There’s also the typical love and heartbreak in music because it speaks through music very well.”
Along with Brisbanite Jem, closer to home Werris Creek resident Joel McKay is inspired by his own small country town.
A friend suggested he enroll in the academy and it wasn’t long until he was accepted into the exclusive program.
“A friend thought I’d have the talent to do it so I decided to give it a go and hopefully further my music,” he said.
“I want to be a songwriter and learn everything I can – be a sponge.”
His style is a mix of alternative, roots and blues and he’s inspired by his own life.
“I think the best song I’ve ever written is called Easy Street and it’s about Werris Creek – not so much about anyone but the town itself.”
McKay said he’s learned more in three days than he has in three years writing music.
The CMAA Senior Academy wraps up with The Academy Live graduation concert at Wests on January 18.