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Byron Shire
July 14, 2024

Youth and mentors set for Mullum Music Festival

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Mali’ Biggins mentor for the Mullum Music Fest 2019 is singer-songwriter Juzzie Smith. Photo Tree Faerie.

Eve Jeffery

A handful of very lucky young musicians have been given a wonderful opportunity as part of this year’s Mullum Music Festival’s Youth Mentorship Program.

For a decade now MMF has offered young musicians the chance to be heard, a chance to find an audience and start their career with a talented and experienced mentor.

Many of the past winners have gone on to international careers – festival Director Glenn Wright has always been passionate about creating spaces for musicians at every level of their career.

‘The best way to find emerging artists is to give them a place to emerge. Mullum Music Festival is that place where many new musicians get a leg up and develop relationships with their mentors and peers.’

Yesterday young musicians, mentors, festival organisers, music lovers and media gathered at Rock N Roll Cafe in Mullum to announce this year’s winners.

Vocalist Phoebe Neumann was chosen to be mentored by Leesa Gentz and Julz Parker from Hussy Hicks. Photo Tree Faerie.

Mentors Hussy Hicks

Vocalist Phoebe Neumann was chosen to be mentored by Leesa Gentz and Julz Parker of Hussy Hicks.

Phoebe has been playing a variety of instruments for a long time and recently started to write her own music. ‘I think it’s such an amazing opportunity and you can learn so much from a mentor,’ she said after the announcement. ‘I am really grateful and excited to be a part of it.’

Phoebe says she is hoping to learn about being on stage. ’I want to learn how to present my self and my voice in the best possible way and learn what it’s like to be a musician and use my vocals and take care of them.’

Julz Parker says that she and Leesa feel really fortunate. ‘We were both playing music in our teens and we had some really wonderful mentors who shared their secrets and helped get us through. So if there is any way we can pass on little bits of things we’ve picked up over the years and be accessible – that’s the main thing.’

Julz says the mentor relationship doesn’t finish at the end of the festival. ‘There’s only so much you can get out of a weekend and there are infinite things that can pop up. Sometimes you just have to solve a problem and you have to reach out to someone who may have solved it before and maybe we can problem-solve together.’

Julz says one of her best pieces of advice for vocalists is to remember the voice is a muscle. ‘The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.’

Phoebe will play an original song as part of her performance at the festival.

Time to move forward and step up

Mali Biggin is no stranger to the mentorship program, Mali was a recipient of a mentorship when she was 15.

The singer-songwriter recently took a hiatus from her songwriting to study in Melbourne. She’s now back in full force and ready to start creating and sharing her songs again to the world.

Mali’s mentor for 2019 is singer-songwriter Juzzie Smith.

Mali says this is very special for her. ‘I’ve always been into music but I’ve never had anyone who can help me with growing from where I am and from when I started when I was 15.

I feel like I am stuck in that younger version of myself and now I’m 20 and want to step up find my songs now and find who I am now in my music now.

Mali says she needs some help with her songs and building from where she was. ‘I need the tips and tricks, how do you even write a good song? That’s what I need help with.

Juzzie says that it’s important for young people to have mentors, ‘We’ve done it all  – we can fast forward all those stepping stones that they don’t really need, to take the big jumps that take a lot of energy and time and they can just go straight enjoying the fun parts.

‘Mentors who have lasted a long time in the industry have worked out a cool thing – they’ve made a living out of music and worked out a balance – that takes ages for some artists and if you can give them a few little secrets, we’re all up for that.’

Juzzie says it’s important to really enjoy what you do. ‘Then you’ll do it forever and, you’ve got to learn that music is for everyone,’ he said. ‘For me, I feel if you’re going to write a song, make it for everyone, so everyone feels part of it. It’s a beautiful feeling.

The list winners and mentors are:

Mentor for Band – Andrew Morris (The Wilson Pickers) for Blackwood

Mentor for Vocal – Leesa Gentz and Julz Parker as Hussy Hicks for Phoebe Neumann

Mentor Singer/Songwriter – Juzzie Smith for Mali Biggin

Mentor Under 15 – Mandy Hawkes for Bridge Left

All winners receive a session with their mentor and a 20-minute performance at the Mullum Music Festival 14-17 Nov with the winner of the Under 15 presenting at the Opening Night Gala.

Tix and program info on mullummusicfestival.com.

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  1. What a great program, congrats to all involved and what an opportunity for the younger musicians.
    These are the simple thing’s that not only change the future for the people involved they also change our community in such a positive way. my respect to all.


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