Siobhan features on the 2011 FReeZACentral Mixtape compilation, produced as part of this year’s FReeZACentral Mentoring Program. Siobhan won the 2010 Queenscliff Music Festival Foot-In-The-Door Competition and has recently graduated from the FReeZACentral Program, where she was mentored by Jen Cloher.
Been playing live since: 2007
Played/performed at: 2010 Queenscliff Music Festival, Northcote Social Club, Corner Hotel, East Brunswick Club, Ding Dong Lounge, Blue Tile Lounge, Vibe, The Drunken Poet and The Evelyn Hotel
Instruments: Vocals, Guitar, Piano
What are your musical influences and how have they evolved since you first started out?
Artists that influence and inspire me are artists that write their own music along with incorporating their music accompanied by profound lyrics. In my opinion, some of the greatest artists of all time are the ones that have something to say – like Bob Dylan. Lyrics are probably the most important thing – for me this is what makes a song stand out from the rest.
Over the years I have undeniably developed as an songwriter both musically and lyrically. The older you get the more observant you become to the world you find yourself in. I find that I have more to write about lyrically as well as now being able to more easily play around with words whilst maintaining the beat overall of the music. Furthermore, playing live has been a large learning curve for me. I used to see myself as a musician and then a performer and I would hide behind the microphone and guitar on stage. Now I’m starting to see myself as much of a performer as a songwriter.
Have you had any prior involvement with FReeZA, The Push or FReeZACentral?
As a musician I applied to be a part of the 2010 Queenscliff Music Festival Foot-In-The-Door Competition. I was successful in my application and was given the opportunity to play live at the Queenscliff Music Festival. I ended up winning the overall competition for the best acoustic artist. Without FReeZA I would never have been able to be given the opportunity to play at such a well respected music festival. I’m also just about graduate from the 2011 FReeZACentral Program, where I had the opportunity to be mentored by Jen Cloher. In 2011 I was proudly a volunteer at the Push Over festival.
What is the music-making process like for you?
For me I always start with the music. More often than not it will be on the acoustic guitar. I begin by playing around with sounds until I find something that I like. Once I’ve found something I like I then hum over the top and try to build a lyrical melody around the music. Once I am satisfied with how this sounds I then replace the hum melody with lyrics. For me, songs never come to me without an instrument in my hands.
You chose the song ‘Penny Farthing’ to feature on the FReeZACentral Mixtape compilation, what is the song about?
‘Penny Farthing’ is probably the most insignificant song lyrically that I’ve written. Due to the whole songwriting process for this track being very pressured and pushed, I took the approach to just have fun lyrically with this song. I wanted to write and create a song that didn’t necessarily mean much personally to me however still had the ability to become meaningful in its own way to each listener. Overall, I guess this song is about a Penny Farthing.
What did you get our of being part of the FReeZACentral Program?
Jen Cloher has undeniably been helpful in my overall growth as an artist. She has been understanding of where I am coming from being a full time Geology/Commerce student in my final year, along with trying to balance the recording and planned release of my debut album Soldier Heart. Similar to Jen, I have chosen to take my time with releasing the album shortly after I graduate – when the time is right – that is not to rush it. I know that despite the mentoring program finishing soon, this won’t be the end of Jen’s advice and support, which is sure to continue well into the future.
Why do you think compilations are important for showcasing new talent?
Compilations provide the opportunity for upcoming musicians to have their work featured alongside artists that have gained a further foot-in-the-door of the music industry. They are the perfect way for listeners and music industry personal to discover new talent as they provide the opportunity for artists to be heard by these individuals who would usually never be exposed to such tracks. Overall compilations allow upcoming musicians to be associated with more well known artists, exposing them to an audience which would otherwise be unobtainable.
Did you ever make mixtapes as a kid?
I sadly never made up mixtapes as a kid. My parents had a heap of records around the house however we never had a turntable that worked, so all those records were never played. To make matters worse I grew up in a small country town with no CD store in the town, this was at the time when internet was too slow for downloads or streaming, and MySpace and Youtube were non-existent. Therefore my childhood was limited to my parents’ CD collection which consisted mostly of classical music, and I stayed clear of those. You could say that growing up as a kid I was hardly exposed to the pop culture of that time.