Ambassadors galore! Announcing 13 new female songwriter Ambassadors

Thursday, 13 Dec 2018

The aim of the APRA AMCOS Ambassador program is to have music creators represent the organisation to the wider music industry, media, educational institutions, government, and, of course, music audiences. It’s our members’ stories that so effectively communicate key messages about copyright, royalties, songwriting, music education, career pathways and more, and at the start of the year we set out to invite more members to join the ranks, so that their unique experiences and expertise can be utilised in meaningful ways across the industry.

 And, we’re finishing 2018 with one grand announcement of 13 new female Ambassadors:

Ainslie Wills
All Our Exes Live In Texas: Georgia Mooney, Hannah Crofts, Elana Stone, Katie Wighton
Alex Hosking
Anna Laverty
Jen Cloher
Juanita Stein
Justine Clarke

APRA AMCOS Director of Member Relations Milly Petriella has the honour of inviting members to the Ambassador program, and said, "While APRA AMCOS represents our 100,000 members in myriad ways, the most eloquent and affecting spokespersons are our members themselves, which is why our Ambassador program is so vital to what we do. I’m so pleased to appoint these talented and influential women to be Ambassadors and I look forward to their deeper involvement in supporting the rights of music creators globally."

As part of our commitment to gender parity across membership programs, there was a dedicated focus in 2018 to invite more women from different backgrounds, geographic regions, professions, and musical genres to be Ambassadors. This is in line with APRA AMCOS' 40/40/20 measure on all membership programs, and brings the Ambassador program in line with that threshold.

As always, we ask new Ambassadors to share their thoughts on career, copyright and creativity when welcoming them into the fold. Here are our 10 (or so) quick questions with the new class of Ambassadors.

Copyright is meaningful to me because:

It makes songwriting feel like it's an important asset, which it is, it is sometimes easy to think that what you are making isn't worth much.

What is important for emerging songwriters to learn about when starting out?

Trust your gut. When you feel like something isn’t right or if you feel like you need to be living somewhere or making a certain style of song, you should trust your intuition and follow it. The next thing is take a risk. Nine times out of ten your gut is telling you to do something and then the next step is to just do it. Without sounding like an advertisement, the hardest part about what we do is showing up, going out to events, meeting people, going to that second session. Take a risk and back yourself because if you don’t how can you can’t expect others to?

When did you realise you wanted to be a producer?
Well I wanted to be a sound engineer for as long as I can remember, before I even knew what it was called. But I realised I wanted to become a producer when I started assisting in studios and saw other incredible producers at work. Being extremely creative and having huge visions for songs then employing weird and wonderful techniques to realise their vision. The studio is the most magical place in the world for me.

I’m an APRA AMCOS Ambassador because:
APRA AMCOS is a hugely important organisation that supports people like me. They enable us to call music our profession, which is a huge privilege. There tends to be a lot of mystery around how to operate within the music industry as a performer, writer, composer, manager, booking agent, promoter, publicist etc but these organisations make the process more transparent and therefore easier to navigate - especially for the artists themselves. That's why they are awesome.

Copyright is meaningful to me because:
It is becoming harder and harder to make money in this ever-changing industry. Copyright gives artists the respect and credit they deserve for creating and sharing original work. It can be the difference in being able to make a living or not.

What is an important element to writing songs in a group?

Listening. When you have so many songwriters in one room, all singing/blending voices and instruments its so important to listen to each other. I think having strong musical ideas but also being open to listening to new ones/ones you hadn't thought of and giving everything a go.

Was there a musical moment that changed everything for you?
A musical moment that changed everything for me was starting the I Manage My Music workshops in 2011 (that still run today). I started to learn about the industry I am part of and how to create a sustainable business practice. It has been a hugely empowering experience and I have learnt so much.

If you’re coming to London to pursue a career in music, you should prepare by…

Ain't nothing gonna prepare you really, you just need to be interesting and good at what you do to start with. I recall feeling overwhelmed with the landscape and sheer volume of music when I first arrived in London, but over time I recognised that what people liked about my music was that it came from a different place.

Is there a part of the business you would like help to de-mystify for other women in music?
I’m basically a (very) small business now and that’s been an enormous learning curve for me. And thrilling! None of it would have happened without a team of people who believe in what I do (most particularly a great manager) and who really know what they are doing.

How does APRA AMCOS support its members and their many, varied career pathways?
Oh how do I count the ways?! I think for me there are two main ways I feel supported by APRA AMCOS. Performance royalties is one - a big one. It's a passive source of income that I don't have to pay for the pleasure of receiving...! And secondly the amazing advocacy work that APRA does on our behalf - speaking with politicians and other active music industry groups in order to make the music industry landscape more sustainable for us.

What can APRA AMCOS do to further support songwriters in PNG?

APRA AMCOS has a huge opportunity here to really strengthen the concept of 'ownership' not just where music is concerned but further reaching into Papua New Guinean's relationship with land and culture. There has been a lot of unrecognised and recognised trauma left over from our colonisers - the Dutch, the Germans, the Brits and up until 1975, Australia. It is sad to say that a lot of local Papua New Guineans find it very easy to give away what they should fight tooth and nail to protect which I believe is a residual effect of colonialism and our destructive relationship with Westerners and Western societal values. As PNG continues to be thrust into the depths of globalisation and the attraction of wanting to be more Western over the preservation of culture and land prevails, the need to promote the importance of ownership of what is rightfully yours is imperative to PNG's survival. What better way to teach this than through the art of music and music ownership.

I’m an APRA AMCOS Ambassador because: 

I like to see songwriters become more educated about their revenue streams and how to protect their work and be compensated for the usage of their work and APRA does all this and collects our income and takes care of us, so it’s an honor to represent.

My approach to songwriting can be described as… 

Unrestricted. I don’t feel obliged to contain myself to any genre or anything. My main focus is to always go whenever the song or feeling takes me.

Welcome to all the Ambassadors appointed in 2018. Take a look back at the Ambassadors announced earlier this year: Eleanor DixonEmily Wurramara, Holly Rankin (Jack River), Ian Moss, Jane Arnison, Kylie Sackley, Lady Lash, Nancy Bates, Rochelle Pitt.

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