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The Regional Sessions: 5 questions with Kevin Mitchell

Story Published Monday 6 March 2023
Kevin Mitchell will deliver the keynote and lead workshops at Albany.

A true WA original, Kevin Mitchell of Jebediah, and who you also know as Bob Evans, will deliver the keynote In Conversation and lead workshops at The Regional Sessions in Albany.

We asked him why someone should go to The Regional Sessions, how to prepare, what to bring and more.

Kicks off 8 March in Albany - register for your FREE ticket to any of the five events.

The Regional Sessions Western Australia kicks off this week in Albany, and winds it way to Busselton, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Karratha and finishes in Broome on 20 March.

Get ready for The Regional Sessions with our Q & A with Kevin Mitchell of Jebediah, and who also performs as singer-songwriter Bob Evans.

1. Can you tell us why a songwriter should attend the Regional Sessions?

It's an opportunity for songwriters, particularly those who are starting out although not exclusively, to connect with others who are treading a similar path.

Songwriting can be a very insular pursuit and that's fine from an emotional point of view but from a more technical point of view, it can be so helpful to spend time with other songwriters and learn from each other.

Sometimes it's valuable to connect with other songwriters just for a sense of reassurance. Other times, being part of a melting pot of idea's and creativity can be inspiring. You may gain a new perspective or learn some new tricks. You might even come away from it with new friendships that could blossom into songwriting partnerships.

Regardless, music and art is something that is best shared, I think and you never ever stop learning. I've been songwriting for over 30 years and I still gain so much from talking about writing and sharing ideas with other people, whether they are beginners or veterans. I've no doubt that people who attend these sessions will come away from them with something that they can use to become a better writer.

2. What can someone expect from your songwriting workshop?

I do not profess to be an expert on anything and even though I have been doing this for a long time and have built a career out of writing my own music, everyone is equal when it comes to art and creativity. So the way I like to go about these sessions is to share a little bit about what I have done, what I've learned, what has been successful and what has not and hope that resonates with the other writers in the room.

Perhaps I can debunk some myths, like "writer's block" for example, (guess what? it's not real!). From there I think it's important to get to work, sharing songs and ideas and giving everybody a chance to chip in with their thoughts. It's a judgement free zone and no idea is a bad one. There is also no such thing as a right way or a wrong way, which is what makes the creative arts so special and why we love it so much. Everyone has their own way of going about creating music.

Ultimately, I hope that everybody, including myself, comes into the session with a grain of an idea and walks out with a new song!

3. What is a tip you can give to someone who might feel a bit unsure about participating in a workshop?

I would urge you to come prepared with an instrument that you use to write with, whatever that might be and an idea, no matter how small. It could be a lyric, a song title, a chord progression, anything. Feel assured that it is a very safe space. I know how hard it is to be vulnerable with your work in front of strangers but we are all in the same boat and we are striving towards the same goal: to turn an idea into a song.

4. How does being from WA influence your own songwriting?

I'm not sure that it has for me all that much to be honest. I have written a lot of music about home and family and friends and loved ones, so there is definitely a sense of place to alot of what I have written. It just happens to be connected to WA cos that's where I grew up. That's just me though and who knows, perhaps one day that might change.

5. Songwriting is often a solitary exercise – especially for someone starting out – how can collaboration develop songwriting skills?

A new perspective can be a powerful, eye-opening and world-expanding experience. At the same time, it can be incredibly reassuring and inspiring to come to understand that whatever obstacles you might come up against when writing are exactly the same obstacles that the best songwriters in the world come up against themselves time and time again. For myself, getting that first bit of positive feedback about my original songs from a fellow musician when I was a kid drove me forwards with a new sense of belief and inspiration.

Bob Evans - Born Yesterday