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Five Victorian songwriters head to Nashville to seize global opportunities

Media Published Tuesday 4 June 2024
Top L-R: Ella Hooper, Michael Honan, Andrew Swift; Bottom L-R: Lindsay Rimes, Jem Cassar-Daley, Benny Morrell. Photos: Lachlan Scallion

Jem Cassar-Daley, Andrew Swift, Ella Hooper, Michael Honan and Benny Morrel were handpicked by hitmaker Lindsay Rimes

Part 2 of the ‘Melbourne to Nashville SongHubs’ takes place 3-5 June at Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI)

Five Victorian songwriters have been hand-picked by country music hitmaker Lindsay Rimes to attend the second part of the Melbourne to Nashville SongHubs, which kicked off earlier today US time, at the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), from 3-5 June.

The opportunity paves the way towards international recognition and success for these local songwriters as they make invaluable connections in the world’s biggest music market.

Participants making the voyage to Music City include ARIA and CMAA Golden Guitar Award winner Andrew Swift, 2023 NATSIMO PDA Youth winner Jem Cassar-Daley and previous APRA Songwriter of the Year Ella Hooper.

Other participants include emerging Warrnambool singer-songwriter Michael Honan and Soul/Pop/ Folk artist Benny Morrell.

This group comprises a hand-picked selection of the 12 Victorian songwriters who attended ‘part 1’ of the songwriting camp on the Mornington Peninsula.

Part 2 takes place at the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) presented in partnership with the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria’s Music Works program. Australian-born Nashville-based hitmaker Lindsay Rimes continues his curation duties.

Rimes’ credits include the 7x US Platinum hit and Billions Award-winning ‘Heaven’ by Kane Brown. Additionally, Rimes produced breakthrough star Nate Smith’s self-titled debut album and co-wrote Smith’s two #1 Billboard Country Radio hits: ‘Whiskey on You’ (US Platinum certified) and ‘World on Fire’(a record 10 weeks at #1). Rimes was honoured for one of the Most Performed Songs at the BMI Country Awards in Nashville last year. Rimes is undoubtedly one of the most in-demand songwriters in Nashville right now.

Rimes has ensured that the selected songwriters get the chance to work with some of the best in the biz. His roster of guests feature fellow Aussies-in-Nashville including multi-APRA Music Award winner Morgan Evans (‘Kiss Somebody’), Kylie Sackley (Alan Jackson and Keith Urban) and Phil Barton (Lee Brice, Lee Kernaghan, The Wolfe Brothers and more) as well as Jesse Dozzi, Jared Kneale and Claire Wyndham. Rising Aussie star Melanie Dyer and Tasmania’s own The Wolfe Brothers will also join the sessions.

Rounding out the talent are US artists Danielle Blakey, Ben Didelot, Nicole Croteau, Halle Kearns, Autumn Buysse and Megan Redmond.

“Congratulations to the five songwriters heading to Nashville for this one-of-a-kind-opportunity. The Australian connection to Nashville is a special one and we are grateful to Lindsay Rimes for curating SongHubs and drawing upon his network for the Nashville sessions. The potential here is huge and we would like to thank the Victorian Government for their support in making this ambitious SongHubs happen,”said APRA AMCOS CEO Dean Ormston.

Minister for Creative Industries Colin Brooks said: “The global market for country music is huge and growing and the Allan Labor Government is proud to back our home-grown artists to propel their careers on the world stage.

“Victoria leads the country in nurturing our talented musicians and performers – and we’re continuing to back our musicians to take their career to the next level with a $1 million boost to our Music Works program.”

Since SongHubs launched in 2013, across more than 90 events worldwide, over A$4m in performance royalties for the initiative's collaborators has been earned. SongHubs has produced commercial releases for the likes of Briggs, Troye Sivan, Tayla Parx, Morgan Evans, Peking Duk, Tkay Maidza, Ainslie Wills, The Chainsmokers, Guy Sebastian, Ecca Vandal, Chaii and many more.

Melbourne to SongHubs (Part 2)


Lindsay Rimes

Special Guests:

Phil Barton
Tyler James Bellinger
Danielle Blakely
Autumn Buysse
Nicole Croteau
Zarni Devette
Ben Didelot
Melanie Dyer
Morgan Evans
Halle Kearns
Megan Redmond
Kylie Sackley
The Wolfe Brothers

Victorian Participants:

Jem Cassar-Daley*
Jesse Dozzi
Michael Honan*
Ella Hooper*
Jared Kneale
Benny Morrell*
Andrew Swift*
Claire Wyndham

* Selected from SongHubs part 1 to travel to Nashville