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9 things we learned at The Regional Sessions

Tip Published Tuesday 13 July 2021
Matt Corby at The Regional Sessions (Kurt Petersen Photography)

Connection and inspiration were at heart of The Regional Sessions in NSW.

Don't worry if you didn't attend - you can watch all five keynotes.

And, stay tuned for more news to come about more sessions!


A big wholehearted thank you to the songwriters and music makers who came along to one (or three!) of The Regional Sessions held around New South Wales in June.

A common sentiment from attendees at each event was how meaningful connection is to getting inspired and creating, and how fleeting that connection has been during COVID. We're grateful that we could help connect so many wonderful songwriters in Tamworth, Byron Bay, Wagga Wagga, Dubbo and Wollongong to each other and with our talented mentors and guest speakers.

Here’s a round up of some of the top tips and takeaways from the sessions.

1. What makes a song grab a listener’s attention?

Byron Bay keynote speaker Robbie Miller discussed in his ‘brutally honest’ keynote, that after seeing his teenage niece skip through numerous songs on Spotify just a few seconds in, he decided to try a different approach.

“It’s hard to get into the mind of every music listener,” said Robbie.

“I gave up four bars of chord introductions and went straight to singing,” he said, with the intention to “keep them til the chorus.”

Wollongong keynote speaker Jim Moginie gave a similar tip, “If you want a win: don’t make us wait for a chorus.”

2. Who writes the songs? Your inner-child.

Jim Moginie talked about the sides of writing:

“There is an adult and a child. Let the child-side write, don’t let the adult try and edit you during this period…the editing can create writer’s block.”

3. Worth trying: mumble writing

In her songwriting workshop, Tia Gostelow shared that one of her lyrical strategies is mumbling along to chords and then she goes back and works on lyrics using the shape of those sounds.

4. Discuss: the business side is as important as the musical side.

Harry James Angus told the Byron Bay audience that “Songwriting is maybe the only thing in our professional lives that we have control over."

5. Advice for emerging artists? Keep on going all the time.

Wagga Wagga keynote and producer Wayne Connolly:

“Don’t take too long. Be consistent with what you do. Keep on going all the time. It’s hard when you put out two songs and take three years for something new and everybody goes cold. I don’t know you keep it up, though. I think if you’ve got a group of people you care collaborating with and a bunch of you can be sharing the songwriting and just pushing stuff out, that’s a pretty good way to go.”

6. Working with a producer and/or collaborators is not an instantaneous, magical thing.

Matt Corby said, “Don’t expect a lot from the first session, because you need to have real engagement.”

His fellow collaborator Robbie Miller said “…being on the same page is key – it’s fundamental. But it’s about building a relationship, and that’s time and in music that’s money.”

Sahara Beck spoke about how the studio is a vulnerable place. She has learned to be really clear about what she wants and no more “Ok, that’s fine” and agreeing for the sake of agreeing.

7. Songwriting splits: “Be civilised.” (Jim Moginie)

We have a guide for that.

8. “Being a decent person is not a betrayal of your art.”

In Dubbo, You Am I frontman Tim Rogers talked about a recent interview he did with Gene Simmons of Kiss and the notion of sacrificing everything for your art and for work and for being the best.

“I think with that ‘You’ve got to get up, you’ve got to work hard, you’ve got to sacrifice everything,’ really, honestly, I think that’s a terrible way to go about it.

“I think to strive to be happy, to be gentle, to find your peace, is not to betray your art at all.”

9. Hot tip: more Regional Sessions are in the pipeline

Stay tuned, we've got more to come!