"This opportunity is important to me because it's the next step in my ever-evolving career," said Rhodes.
Artist, producer and songwriter Blake Rhodes, who performs as Mr Rhodes, is the recipient of a fully-paid scholarship for the one-year Abbey Road Advanced Diploma of Music Industry course, provided through partnership of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music Office (NATSIMO), Abbey Road Institute Australia and Studios 301.
A Bundjalung man from Lismore, NSW, Blake has relocated to Sydney for the course, which commenced this week.
Designed by industry for industry, the course aims to build a music professional’s capability in music production or sound engineering so they can take their career to the next level.
"Blake is a multi-talented creative force across producing, writing, performing and collaborating in the studio. We are so proud to be able to provide this opportunity to him in partnership with Abbey Road Institute Australia and Studios 301, and to raise the visibility of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music creators in the industry," said NATSIMO Director Leah Flanagan.
We asked Blake a few questions as he was settling in to life in Sydney.
Why is this opportunity important to you?
This opportunity is important to me because it's the next step in my ever-evolving career. I see it as another level-up moment and an incredible chance to learn from some of the best working engineers and producers in the world, while simultaneously building my network and community at the same time.
What do you hope to get out of this opportunity?
First and foremost I want to grow as an artist and a writer, I want to get better at mixing and I'm really excited to take full advantage of the world class facilities and my disposal. I am also looking forward to working with new people and finding a community of like-minded artists.
You’ve relocated to Sydney for this opportunity, can you give us some insight into some of the issues regional musicians come up against when trying to engage with an industry that is predominantly metropolitan-based?
Yeah, relocating to Sydney is a huge change in lifestyle for me but for the last few years I have been back and forth from Lismore to Sydney writing and performing a lot, so it feels less daunting than it would have a year or so ago.
From my experience, especially the style of music I make, it’s a lot harder for regional artists who are creating and performing original music that isn’t your traditional guitar, drums, bass to make a living or get yourself noticed due to performance and networking opportunities not being as available.
The internet has definitely made it a lot easier to be seen and heard but I think the disconnect between the regional areas and the industry is still quite large. We need more development opportunities and networking events for musicians of every level.
You’ve been releasing music as Mr. Rhodes, do you have any plans to release music in 2022?
100% I have a whole stack of music coming out this year of my own and a bunch of collaborations as well. I actually just released a collaboration with a friend of mine Mike Watson called 'Outrageous' that is one of my favourite songs I’ve been a part of.
What do you think helped to make you a successful applicant?
Honestly, I just threw my hat in the ring not really sure if I would be the successful applicant. If anything I think it's the persistence and applying for as many opportunities as possible. I've had possibly the best two years of my career getting to compose and perform in a theater show FLOW to receiving the Create NSW Generations Fellowship, and being a part of the NATSIMO's RESONATE writing camps. All of the opportunities I have had came from being around taking advantage of every opportunity presented to me and not being afraid to fail.