6 questions with new APRA AMCOS Ambassadors Lady Lash and Eleanor Dixon

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Two more dynamic songwriters have joined the APRA AMCOS Ambassador roster with Lady Lash (aka Crystal Clyne) and Eleanor Dixon each stepping into the role. Both are Aboriginal women deeply involved in music, community and inspiring others follow a creative path. Their first Ambassadorial duty? Sharing their perspective on making their own way in the music industry.

6 Questions with Lady Lash

Lady Lash is a Melbourne-based Kokatha and Greek woman originally from Ceduna, on the west coast of South Australia. An established MC, her music blends equal parts hip-hop and jazz with soulful lyrics and stories. She was in the cast of the first Indigenous opera, Deborah Cheetham's Pecan Summer, won The Age Music Victoria Awards Best Indigenous Act award, and has supported Jessica Mauboy, Paul Kelly, L-Fresh the Lion, Archie Roach and more. She is currently producing a documentary and a new album Therapy Tapes will be out in August.

1. My favourite song right now is:

Yadu from my upcoming LP Therapy Tapes, the song is in honour of our women on the Far West Coast of South Australia, that we are women of the sea, we are divine power and love of the land. Yadu means Deadly in our Kokatha Language.

2. I was drawn to hip-hop because:

The beat and the flows with a message of freedom. It gives me a sense of feeling on the edge of the universe, which is euphoric and connects with me mentally and spiritually.

3. You are currently co-prroducing a one hour documentary about your visits back to your Kokatha community in SA. What is the story you want to tell with this production? And why is it important to do it on your own terms?

It’s not only my story, it’s my community's story and that of my cousins, sisters, Brothers and Elders. I think the most important thing is that when we educate ourselves on where and who we are we have the power to speak and be heard with our positive energy. Looking after country is vital and keeping our language and culture alive for future generations. I have unpacked a lot of unknown things, although there’s so much more to learn and pass down. This needs to be honoured and preserved. There are so many layers and I’m in the process of creating a new sound from what we have filmed so far.

4. You also do a lot of mentoring and workshop leadership in the arts. What are one or two things you always try to incorporate into your teaching?

Having an open space to share our gifts without harsh criticism. Being positive and giving voice to how we feel, because I feel as an artist we are very emotional beings who need to express our inner-dwellings musically. We are ever evolving, creating new sounds and using different techniques to master our own art. Always being true to yourself will make what you bring sentimental.

5. The challenges facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander female songwriters in 2018 are…and what is great about being an female Aboriginal artist in 2018...

The drive and dedication is important, to have a presence in the industry is hard also. You're trying to balance between the nice and sincere or hard-sell business deals. But at the end of the day you need to be level-headed and focus on the task. We all have greatness inside us, and I feel being a female Indigenous artist in the industry is an honour that is rewarding. We're giving voice to our ancestors and our next generations, also letting everyone know that we're here as creators, innovators and most importantly powerful feminine entities.

...we're here as creators, innovators and most importantly powerful feminine entities

6. I am an APRA AMCOS Ambassador because…

It gives me an opportunity to educate creators of all walks of life. Opening doors for emerging artists who need guidance while feeling honest security, knowing their music can be protected with APRA AMCOS. With so many new events and fresh ideas given the spotlight, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.

6 Questions with Eleanor Dixon

Eleanor is a strong Mudburra woman from the remote Northern Territory community of Marlinja. She was the first woman to perform at the Bush Bands Bash, plays in family band Rayella, and is a member of Kardajala Kirridarra, the acclaimed all-female group that blends electronic and traditional music. She has performed with Opera Australia and the NT Symphony, at the National Folk Festival, Nannup Festival and BIGSOUND, and has been busy touring nationally with Kardajala Kirridarra.

1. A song that changed my life is:

I guess I don’t have a particular song that changed my life. It was Björk that changed my perspective of art and music forever.

2. My music is inspired by...

My spiritual connections to myself, my family, my culture, and purpose.

3. Please share a few words of wisdom for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women wanting to be a songwriter or musician:

I would say that if you are true to yourself and you believe in yourself more than anything, then know that what you feel will always guide you; to new places, to meeting new people, to experiencing the world. When you trust your own creative feelings and ideas you will know to not let anyone else tell you otherwise. You will then experience your dreams coming to life and that will be the most amazing thing to witness unfolding in your eyes. Also don’t be afraid to sing in your own language. Your language is your identity so sing it loud and proud!

Your language is your identity so sing it loud and proud!

4. Why are local resources like Barkly Desert Culture so important to supporting regional and/or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander songwriters and musicians in their creative endeavours?

Well, living in a remote community is a challenge when it comes to having opportunities in any creative art form, so I guess for a program like this it helps to support young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mob to be able to express their creative ideas and stories straight from their communities. This program in particular helped me and other young mob in this area to just do that -- so I am grateful and hopeful that more programs like this will continue for the benefit of young mob in these remote communities.

5. When you spoke with us at BIGSOUND, you mentioned how you can ‘tend to forget yourself’ with the demands and pace of the music industry. What has been your approach to staying true to yourself and community as this musical journey continues?

Well my approach was always trusting myself on a spiritual, physical and mental level. I never came looking for the industry with any ideas of it noticing me. There was no pressure. I had forbidden putting any pressure on myself. I neglected the idea of being someone other than myself. I stayed true to my identity through my language, my culture and community. I never had any intentions to being successful in any way. I just wanted to share my story and my grandmothers' story. I had faith in what I believed in, which was something greater, something beyond. I trusted my purpose as a storyteller and a messenger. I still do. It doesn’t change for me.

6. I am an APRA AMCOS Ambassador because…

I believe that people are chosen to be a part of a movement that helps others achieve in becoming a better version of their self through their creative work and showcasing it so that we all can learn and grow through each other’s process and experiences.

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