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Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Growing talent with Mikey B

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Mt-Warning-MikeyNo tree grows without nurturing the seedling. And that is the commitment Mullum Music Festival makes to emerging young talent every year with its Youth Mentorship Program.

Having just opened for applications, the mentorship boasts four mentors over four categories, with Anne McCue as the Vocal mentor, Loren Kate for Singer/songwriter, Bethanie Jolly for Under 15 and Mikey B for the Band category.

When it comes to being a mentor, Mikey believes, ‘The most important thing for any musician is to know that no-one else is going to do anything for you. If you have anything you are inspired by you have to go with it; you will never be happy with whatever other people do for you.’

It’s this autonomous approach that has seen Mikey build his own unique approach both in his solo work and with his band Mt Warning. Mikey believes it’s about confidence.

‘I haven’t always had it,’ he says, ‘but building the confidence takes time, and I am still working on it. You have to trust your instincts – and know how to put yourself out there.’

Hearing feedback for any artist can be challenging, and when you are starting out it can be hard to hear. Mikey believes that often when you get feedback people are generally confirming what you already know.

‘I think when it resonates, it’s like when you read the stars in the paper – you know what you want to hear already; feedback helps you define it.

‘I am extremely optimistic or arrogantly inpenetrable; once my head is set on what something is, I know what I want.’

The one thing you can’t do with musicians is make assumptions. Mikey didn’t grow up listening to the music you would expect.

‘Music is a weird thing for me. I have never been an avid listener; I grew up listening to musical theatre, characters telling stories that are part of a bigger picture. I love it, I love the big crescendo moments – it’s part of my misspent youth. Listening to Jesus Christ Superstar and Rocky Horror Picture Show!’

Mikey doesn’t think he needs to invent characters necessarily to colour his songwriting. ‘There are plenty of stories in my own life; I used to invent stories but the more I invent outside the more I realise that I have enough!’

So what should we expect from Mikey B at Mullum Music Festival?

‘I guess for people who haven’t seen me in the area for a while, a return to form, me on stage bearing it all, but with samples and a bit of cabaret and tap dancing. It’s like idiots’ cabaret, but I am enjoying sharing random thoughts; it’s just nice to be with people in a room and talk shit!’

For budding artists 19 years and younger wanting to find out more about the youth mentorship, go to mullummusicfestival.com (also for program and ticket information).

Applications close Sunday 4 October. Mullum Music Festival19–22 November.


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