Every young performer hopes to be noticed by the industry at large, and to build a team that will take their music to the next level. But how do you do that?
How do you take what you believe is a great song, a great band, or an incredible performer, and expose
them to the audiences who’ll break them on a national or international level?
OCA recently discussed with Montaigne about how she got her break, her recent high rotation Triple J success, the release of her debut album, and her triumphant performance at Splendour In The Grass this year.
In addition, the panel featured music industry professionals who record, represent, book and promote influential young artists on a daily basis, along with a representative from APRA AMCOS.
Managers, bookers and influencers like Rob G (Tkay Maidza, RUFUS, Boy & Bear), Michele Porto (Holy Holy, Montaigne), Nic Kelly (Project U, Night High Records) and Michael Szumowski (San Cisco, Nicole Millar) appeared on the panel, to help you elevate your industry game.
Check out the discussion in full below.
Caroline McKnight – APRA AMCOS
Caroline McKnight works in the Writer Services department at APRA AMCOS, a not-for-profit organisation that collects and distributes royalties to songwriters, composers and publishers for the use of their music.
Caroline organises member events for APRA AMCOS and can often be found in a classroom talking about APRA AMCOS and music copyright.
Michael Szumowski – Alberts
As a songwriter and producer, Michael has worked with many local and international artists across multiple genres. A well respected industry creative, Michael spent 6 years as Alberts Head of A&R/Development where he signed such artists as San Cisco, Montaigne, Josh Pyke, Nicole Millar, Urthboy and many more.
Recently Michael was commissioned to write the score for the animated kids television series Bottersnikes & Gumbles based on the classic children’s books by Australian author SA Wakefield.
In 2012 Jess Cerro was a Triple J Unearthed finalist with her song ‘Anyone But Me’. She was still 16 years old and in high school. Signing a publishing deal with Alberts, Jess juggled her higher education with a musical one, celebrating getting her HSC by finishing her first EP ‘Life of Montaigne’.
There’s been a string of impressive songs leading up to ‘Glorious Heights’ – ‘I Am Not an End’, ‘I’m a Fantastic Wreck’ and, more recently, ‘Clip My Wings’ and ’In the Dark’. The last two find a home on Glorious Heights, which fortuitously also arrives after Montaigne’s star-making guest role on Hilltop Hoods’ double platinum No.2 hit ‘1955’. Her stunning cover of Sia’s Chandelier for Like A Version was so powerful that Sia herself tweeted in admiration of the vocal chops on display.
‘Glorious Heights’ continues the beautiful musical partnership with producer Tony Buchen (The Preatures / Andy Bull), who also co-writes a number of songs on the album. Montaigne and Buchen have created unapologetic references to great pop acts of decades past, interwoven into a fresh sonic landscape. The first single ‘Because I Love You’ is a wildly infectious pop tune hiding the postmortem of Montaigne’s first boyfriend.
Much has already been made of Montaigne’s powerful voice – compared to Regina Spektor, Marina and the Diamonds, Bjork, Florence & the Machine and St Vincent. Good company, and accurate comparisons. ‘They are some of my influences, especially vocally,’ says Montaigne. ‘I’ve been compared to The National once, I was very happy with that. And Owen Pallett, I was so happy with that, he’s in my Top 5 favourite artists.’ ‘There are a lot of artists that influence me: Arcade Fire, Everything Everything, Coldplay, SigurRos, Depeche Mode, Talking Heads…it’s a long list.’
‘Glorious Heights’ has introduced Montaigne as one of this country’s most interesting young lyricists. Her vocabulary is exemplary, her subject matter diverse. ‘I was a very philosophical teenager,’ she says. ‘Lots of fears. But you learn, what’s the point? You need to get through life in the most healthy and positive way possible.’
Fans of the video game Kingdom Hearts may also spot some obtuse lyrical references.The album cover, featuring Montaigne and two dragons, was created by American illustrator Wes Talbott, also touches on Montaigne’s love of medieval video games as well as being a metaphor wrapped in some really cool artwork. ‘The two dragons represent problems or adversity,’ She says. ‘I’m slaying one dragon, or one problem, but over my shoulder another dragon is just about to eat me. I’ve just defeated one, but I can barely bask in my victory because I have another problem on the horizon. You are the hero of your own life. You have to keep going, and use your endurance. It’s character building.’
After opening slots for Boy & Bear and Megan Washington, and playing arenas with Hilltop Hoods this year, not to mention a sold out national tour, Montaigne is ready to showcase ‘Glorious Heights’ live. ‘I enjoy connecting with the audience,’ she says. ‘I want to feel as close to them as possible. I thrive on being on stage.’
Michele Porto – Wonderlick
Starting her career at then PolyGram Records, now Universal Music Australia, Michele spent over 16 years working with artists like Powderfinger, Spiderbait, Matt Corby, The McClymonts, Bernard Fanning, The Living End, and labels such as Dew Process, Modular and Ministry Of Sound.
Now at Wonderlick – home to Boy & Bear, Josh Pyke, Montaigne, Holy Holy and others, Michele is the General Manager of Marketing & Promotions for Wonderlick Entertainment, home to Boy & Bear, Josh Pyke, Montaigne, Holy Holy and others.
Michele oversees the marketing, promotion and label management for the management roster and the Wonderlick Recording Company. Founded by Stu MacQueen and Gregg Donovan, Wonderlick pride themselves on putting their artists first, building long-term careers and successful long-term partnerships with their artists.
At just 21, Nic Kelly is already a powerhouse in the Australian music scene. The founder of Night High Records (in collaboration with EMI) and pop news platform Project U delivers his Twitter and Instagram audience an honest, vibrant serving of encyclopaedic music and pop culture knowledge. Whether it be appearing on radio for Kiis and SeaFM, engaged in high profile spats with Azealia Banks or interviewing the brightest talent, Nic Kelly at the centre of everything.
Rob Giovannoni (aka ROB G)
Rob has over 20 years experience in the music industry. Rob has worked with Severed Heads, Itch E & Scratch E, Custard, Sidewinder, Swervedriver (UK), Aphex Twin (UK),Clouds with companies Trading Post Agency, Hype and Underground Promotions. Talent Booker for Spectrum, FBi Social, Oxford Arts Factory, The Gaelic Club, Newtown RSL & The Globe Venue & promoted club nights such as Underground Radio, Bleach & P*A*S*H.
Currently he is the Co-Director of *SELECT MUSIC AGENCY for acts such as Ball Park Music, The Jungle Giants, Boy & Bear, RUFUS, Tkay Maidza, amongst others.