APRA Board elections 2020: APRA Writer Director Nominees - Australia

Thursday, 15 Oct 2020

APRA received 8 nominations for the 1 vacant Australian Writer position on its Board.

All eligible members are strongly encouraged to take the time to consider the nominees and cast a vote. It's vitally important that writer members have a say in who is representing them on the board and making decisions about music creators' rights and royalties.

It's your music and your APRA. Get involved and vote. 


  1. Tushar Apte 
  2. Mark Callaghan 
  3. Brendan Gallagher (incumbent) 
  4. Jake Mason 
  5. Katie Noonan 
  6. Ziggy Ramo 
  7. Ric Stern 
  8. Sian Van Der Muelen 



Tushar Apte is an APRA Ambassador and an L.A. based producer, songwriter & composer. He has produced and co-written multiple gold & platinum records for Demi Lovato, Chris Brown, Zayn & Nicki Minaj, BTS, Blackpink, Noah Cyrus, Jessica Mauboy and many others in the US and internationally. To date, releases he has produced/co-written have amassed well over 500 million streams on Spotify alone. In 2016, Tushar signed a global publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music.

Tushar is also an accomplished film & TV composer, having worked on shows for NBC (most recently their #1-rated hit ‘Zooey’s Extraordinary Playlist’), BET (on the Award-winning feature ‘The Bobby Brown Story’ which Tushar composed with Songwriters’ Hall of Fame Inductee Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds), ITV and others.

A true modern day operator in the music business, Tushar is also an avid music technologist and early adopter, having contributed to sound design projects for Native Instruments, Splice, ROLI (as industry consult), Presonus and others.


I am passionate about creating a community and knowledge base for up-and-coming APRA writers to understand and navigate the ever-changing modern music business. 

Over the years I have benefited tremendously from APRA’s support and guidance and I think the natural next step to elevate this support system is to have a truly international perspective on the governance side.

While the music power centers (LA/London/Berlin) are likely to remain the same for the foreseeable future, there’s no doubt that having a global reach is the future of sustaining long-term writing careers. For APRA members I believe one key to this is having a member like me who is on the ground internationally and is a known and active member of the US (and global) writing community.

My own successful experience and contacts in the Asian music world (particularly Korea and China) have made me a firm believer that Asia is a key for the future of successful writing careers. This is another market where it will significantly help members to have a representative who is an active member with strong current contacts in the industry.

From a decision-making perspective, diversity and representation are critical across all levels of society. Diversity isn’t simply a token political gesture, but actively contributes to the growth, success and longevity of organizations. As an arts organization, APRA should be at the forefront of truly reflecting modern, multicultural Australia starting at the most influential levels. I aim to provide this representation (symbolic and practical) for Australian writers and creators of multicultural backgrounds. I truly believe the next phase of great Australian music is in the cross-cultural and indigenous influences that make Australia unique and one of the best countries to live in!

I also aim to provide my own experience and things I wish I knew starting up in the notoriously opaque world of music. This includes not just creative guidance, but practical knowledge on how to treat a career as a real business, and other challenges that come with a life in music (finding balance, mental health and wellbeing etc.)



An APRA writer member since 1980, Mark Callaghan is best known as the singer-songwriter with GANGgajang and The Riptides. In addition to playing thousands of gigs and penning over 400 songs including the classic ‘Sounds Of Then (This Is Australia)’, Mark has also composed theme music for over a dozen TV shows and had his music used in movies, plays and countless TV episodes.

Mark has also had a parallel career in music publishing, enabling him to combine his love of songwriting with a deep knowledge of the business that surrounds it. His industry roles have included General Manager of Shock Music Publishing, General Manager of AMPAL and Managing Director of Music Sales Australia (now Wise Music). Mark has also served as an Adjunct Professor at QUT and as a Director of Support Act Limited, where he created the all-inclusive 3,000-member EveryOneBand project to raise money for the organisation.

Most recently, Mark worked at APRA AMCOS as part of a newly created R&D team focused on analysing and recommending responses to opportunities and threats thrown up by the rapidly evolving global music ecosystem. The team also liaised with start-ups wanting to work with APRA in areas ranging from AI and Blockchain to MRT, Data analytics and new music business models.

Throughout his time working in the music business, Mark has continued to perform, write and record music and recently released a new solo single. As a singer, songwriter, musician, and industry professional, Mark has a unique perspective on the music business and a passion for songwriting that remains undiminished since he first grabbed a guitar and strummed a few tentative chords in sleepy 1970’s Brisbane.


I believe there are significant challenges ahead for APRA as the global music business evolves even more rapidly in response to new technologies and business models, digital disruption and ever-increasing competition. I’m offering myself for election to the APRA board in the belief that my knowledge, experience and passion will help the organisation navigate the threats and opportunities these challenges will present.

Specifically, my main interest lies in assisting the organisation develop strategic plans to ensure that APRA and all its members prosper in uncertain times, while never losing sight of what I believe to be APRA’s core mission: to increase the revenues paid to Australian and New Zealand writer members.

APRA’s core values are also my own: inclusivity, diversity, social responsibility, respect and support for emerging and established songwriters and composers. I’d like to see more APRA SongHubs but with an additional local focus – from Northcote to Newtown - so that we can build a truly collaborative songwriting culture to rival that of Sweden. I feel that APRA should continue to embrace new technology and support Australasian innovation within the music and broader arts sectors.

Ultimately, we need to plan for an uncertain future. Membership of a board overseeing a $400 million business and ensuring that songwriters and composers are justly rewarded for their efforts is a serious business, worthy of serious consideration. Which is why I encourage all members to vote in these board elections. APRA is your society and it’s with APRA that you’ll probably have the longest professional relationship in your music careers.

A series of ‘sliding door’ moments throughout my career has combined to provide me with a broad knowledge of the business side of music in everything from A&R, print music and book publishing right through to copyright, licensing and new technologies. But I’ve always remained first and foremost a songwriter and if elected to the APRA board I believe I can make a significant contribution by combining my music-business head and my songwriter heart to help the organisation meet the challenges ahead and create a robust future that benefits all APRA members.



Non-executive Director since 2014

A music all-rounder with over forty years’ experience in the music business, I have toured Australia and the world as a performer. I’ve produced over thirty albums in as many years, more than half as an artist, including two ARIA winners (Jimmy Little’s 'Messenger' and my band Karma County’s 'Into The Land Of Promise').

I am the author of 'The Open Tuning Chord Book for Guitar', first published in 1994. I have also composed soundtracks for feature films, ads and TV series, and played guitar on recordings for David Bowie, Jimmy Little and Kylie Minogue, and others.

I’ve worked extensively with indigenous artists, producing recordings for the aforementioned Jimmy Little, Kutcha Edwards, LJ Hill, Emma Donovan et al, and as music director for 'Buried Country', Clinton Walker’s theatre production of the untold story of Aboriginal country music.

Since 2001 I have been active in education – teaching part time in the music departments of Ultimo TAFE & Australian Institute of Music, and the Bondi WAVE youth program, as well as lecturing on production at SAE and JMC. In 2018-2019 I taught songwriting part time at University of Technology Sydney (UTS). I have a BA Communication UTS 1988 and Certificate IV in Training & Assessment.

More recently I’ve become involved in artist advocacy, having been elected to the board of APRA (2014) and international creator organisations APMA (2016) and CIAM (2017). I have up-skilled in the modern dynamics of intellectual property rights in the internet and digital age, a landscape changing with exponential speed, and with oftentimes suboptimal outcomes for rights owners.

Since my re-election to APRA board in 2017 I’ve recorded and released three solo albums and played shows all over. Another album with The Dead Marines (myself, Bernie Hayes & Bow Campbell) is set for release in November 2020. Hand on heart I’m still a guitar player that loves to play, and that informs everything I do in music advocacy – it’s about the music.


I was elected to the APRA board in 2014. It has been an immensely rewarding and instructive experience. The international music ecosystem is vast, complex and interconnected. Learning and comprehending more about the environment we operate in as writers has been equal parts exhilarating, and terrifying. There is exponential change happening within our industry and negotiating our way through these changes will be important, and nuanced, work over the next few years.

I’m a member of APRA’s Awards & Grants (and chair of) Membership & Distribution committees and have learnt much about how our business operates. I’ve contributed as an independent artist, always conscious of representing working musicians. Foremost in my mind is that the music is the DNA of the company, that without the writers there is no business, period. My overarching impression is that in APRA’s broad church of management, publishers and writer directors, the writers’ interests always come first. My mission has been to ensure that is always the case.

In 2016 I helped form the Asia Pacific Music Creators Alliance (APMA) and was elected vice chair. APMA is one of five continental alliances that advises the International Council of Music Creators (CIAM), the global voice of music creators. In 2017 I was elected to the CIAM board, the first Australian member, and re-elected in 2019.

CIAM has been vital in representing writers’ interests worldwide, calling big tech, politicians and others to account for the use/abuse of music, and lobbying hard for fair remuneration for the use of those works – Google, European Parliament, Epidemic Sound, Discovery etc. More at www.ciamcreators.org

The board has supported me as a member of these important international bodies, something I don’t take for granted. I’m midstream with my work as a writer director and an advocate in the international space and I would like you to return me to the board as your representative.



A twice ARIA nominated and APRA awarded songwriter, member of the Resolution Pathways Stakeholder Group and Governance Committee (an ACCC authorised body that resolves issues and disputes for music creators, music users, APRA-AMCOS and OneMusic Australia) and a member of the Music Victoria Artist Advisory Panel, Jake Mason is a 25-year quiet achiever of the Australian music industry.

Jake’s co-write ‘This Girl’ (Kungs Vs Cookin’ On 3 Burners) charted at number 1 in over 10 countries and the top 10 in 35 countries. The song has had over 1 billion streams, earning its creators an APRA Award and was the most shazamed dance track worldwide in 2016. The Jake Mason Trio debut album ‘Stranger in the Mirror’ was ARIA nominated as Best Jazz Album in 2018.

Bridging jazz/soul and pop, Jake has released 15 albums and established his own label and studio - Soul Messin’ Records. He manages the business affairs of Cookin’ On 3 Burners and Jake Mason Trio.

Jake’s multi-genre success has been achieved through deep engagement with traditional musical technique and cutting edge technology in composition, performance and business savvy. This combination of skills has allowed Jake’s work to establish local, national and international reach.

Screen work includes TV as diverse as Love Island, A Million Little Things, MacGyver and My Life Is Murder. In advertising/sync, Jake’s music has featured in campaigns for Just Jeans, Westpac (Australia), Peugeot (Europe), Samsung (USA, played at the Superbowl), Vogue, Victoria’s Secret and the Ellen Degeneres Show.

Jake has featured with artists including Tex Perkins, Richard Clapton, Josh Teskey, Mark Seymour, Clare Bowditch and Hugh Jackman. He has co-written in recent times with Eric McCusker (Mondo Rock), Kate Ceberano, Tania Doko (Bachelor Girl), Paulini, and Melinda Schneider

Alongside his own musical pursuits, Jake is committed to the development of the next generation of songwriters through mentoring initiatives including APRA’s ‘Melbourne Sessions’ and his long-term association with Caulfield Grammar.

Jake is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, is deeply engaged with the Victorian music scene and is excited to contribute to the dynamic momentum of Australian music.


I am an experienced mid-career writer, bringing unique knowledge from a younger age group across genres including jazz, pop, electronic, soul and blues & roots scenes.

With my deep involvement in the business affairs behind my co-write ‘This Girl’ hitting over 1 billion streams, I have a crucial understanding of the digital landscape, and the challenges the industry faces. This is especially relevant in a new era of digital service delivery for APRA where technology now connects artists, business processes and audience. This experience is also crucial in a post-COVID landscape which is providing more unique opportunities for creation, collaboration and connection through technology.

After twenty-five years in the Australian music industry, I believe the key to survival is business savvy. I know how to keep the business of music moving through a deep understanding of royalties, artist management, international PRO issues, strategic connections, working with major labels and managing my own label and sustaining ethical business relationships. This places me in a great position to lead discussion on long term career sustaining strategy for APRA members.

Informing all my work is the fact I am a husband, a father and a born and bred Victorian. I grew up in a diverse and creative community ensuring collaboration is the base of everything I do. I maintain a successful international career from a Victorian base which brings both regional and international perspectives to the APRA conversation.

I believe active participation in music industry advocacy is crucial. I am passionate about APRA’s role in the Australian music scene. I support campaigns to increase Australian music radio and TV quotas, streaming royalty percentages, live music award rates and promoting artist mental health awareness. I am a strong advocate for gender equity, deeper inclusion and diversity.

First and foremost, I am a songwriter. Every day, I am engaged in the core work that unifies all APRA members. I write, I play, I collaborate. It is my day job, my night job and my soul. This is why I am confident I can represent the interests of my peers with compassion, commitment and confidence.



Over the past 20 years, five-time ARIA award-winning artist Katie Noonan has proven herself one of Australia’s most hardworking, versatile and prolific artists. Named one of the greatest Australian singers of all time by the Herald Sun, Katie has produced 20 albums over her career with seven x platinum record sales under her belt and 26 ARIA award nominations that span diverse genres. Katie has performed for royalty, national and international leaders, and blazed a trail for young women artists. Music, for Katie, is a lifelong lesson, a generous act of giving, and a means to change the world.


I have dedicated my life to championing and celebrating Australian stories and songs.

I believe we make truly world class music and have been lucky enough to work across multiple sectors of our industry - from pop, rock, jazz and folk through to classical and electronica.

I have won 5 ARIA Awards (from 26 nominations), the 2019 Australian Women in Music Awards Creative Leadership Award, was voted in the Herald Sun's Top 20 Best Australian singers of all time (2013), was voted in the ABC's Top 50 Jazz artists of all time (2020) and was recently awarded the 2020 APRA AMCOS QLD Luminary Award for my work with First Nations Artists.

I have produced 20 studio albums (12 on my own label) and was the youngest and first QLD Artistic Director of the Queensland Music Festival and the Music Director of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Now more than ever, I believe we need to fight to protect the intellectual property of Australian musicians and work with our industry peers to establish enforced quotas in our Major Performing Arts Orgs and on our Radio, TV and DSP’s. I believe we simply can not continue to fund organisations that are not committed to telling Australian stories. We need to create an ecosystem that supports the intellectual property of our industry.

I feel with my diverse musical career on and off the stage, I offer a unique perspective to the APRA board.  I have been on and answered to multiple boards and also recently completely the AICD Company Directors Course.

I am a proud APRA Ambassador deeply committed to education and mentoring, and in 2016 established the first ever monetary award in history to honour a contemporary Australian female musician in the $15,000 Carol Lloyd Award.

The last QLD based APRA member was in 1975 (!) so I am keen to bring some fresh perspective to the board and join the 3 extraordinary women of the 12 member board and bring another female voice to the table.

Australian stories and sounds are world class and worth fighting for - now more than ever.



An APRA writer member since 2016, Ziggy Ramo has been an active songwriter, performer, producer and recording artist since 2015.  Recently, Ziggy released his debut album ‘Black Thoughts,’ which NME titled '2020's most important Australian Album.’  Ziggy’s voice is important to both the Indigenous Arts Community and the Australian Music Industry.  Ziggy has taken an independent approach to his career and has gained the recognition of the peers receiving the WAM Indigenous Artist of the Year and Hip Hop Artist of the Year awards, as well as Triple J's Unearthed Artists to Watch.

Ziggy is passionate about carving a better path for future First Nations Artists and continues to use his career and success to help reshape the industry at the highest level.  In September 2020, Ziggy addressed the 75th United Nations General Assembly as part of the 'Leaders On Purpose' and already is guiding us to a better future.


I am applying for a position on the APRA Board as I believe that it is important for our decision makers to reflect all people represented.  From the age of 15 I have dreamt of being able to turn my passion for music into a career. However being born Indigenous in this country meant I was as likely to go to prison as I was to finish high school. Now 10 years on from my dreams as a teenager I have slowly but surely carved my own space in the music industry, but that is not enough. My purpose as a caretaker for the country is to leave the space I occupy better than I found it. Through first-hand experience I have learnt that the infrastructure within our industry is both oppressive and exploitive by nature. Being an independent artist I understand the challenges of trying to build a sustainable career and I want to be able to help create pathways for all songwriters. Our board must be diverse to ensure that our diverse songwriters are supported and represented. I come from 50,000 years of storytellers. I want to help preserve and support these traditions for generations to come.



I am originally from New York, and emigrated to Perth in April 1982. I’ve had a dual career path for most of my adult life, with 42 years in senior management and 53 years in Show Business. My first senior management position was as Operations Coordinator for the S.E. Sector of Pan American World Airways in Miami, Florida.

I completed my undergrad studies in various universities in America, and became involved in the Education Sector upon arrival in WA, leading to secondment to Head Office within the TAFE Division. Subsequent to leaving TAFE, I established & operated successful businesses for 15 years, including: A Yamaha Music Business, a Travel Agency, Hotel, Restaurant, and Nightclub.

I completed two post-grad degrees at UWA (Management & Business Administration). Concurrent with my studies, I was employed within the Department of Justice running Courts of Petty Sessions and Magistrate’s Courts.

I’ve also had significant experience in Management in the Public Sector. I headed up the Meter Reading Services Division of the WaterCorp. I was also the Service Delivery Manager for Deloitte Touche Tomatsu (one of the Big4 Accounting firms in the world).

I am currently the Treasurer for the 2nd largest branch of the Liberal Party, sit on the Legislative Assembly Selection Committee for the Division, Treasurer of the Perth Jazz Society Board of Management, UWA Convocation Councillor & Former Chair of the 50th Reunion Celebration Committee.

As a Professional Singer/Pianist, I have performed for Royalty and Dignitaries from 4 corners of the globe, including the Former Governor of Western Australia. I have a substantial network within the Entertainment and Hospitality Industries built over my 38-year residence in Perth.

I have just released two new original tracks, which can be heard on a myriad of social media music platforms.

Should I be appointed to the Board, I feel my experience outlined above, dovetails perfectly with APRA’s own Mission Statement, as I have been dealing with real people in real situations and building real relationships that have weathered the test of time and have delivered real value in a myriad of disciplines within the community.


I seek election to the APRA Board to better understand the challenges that the Industry faces, with anticipated changes in the way in which we communicate, advancements in digital technologies, unprecedented growth in the Entertainment Sector, dealing with global health issues, and to collaborate with other Board Members over ways to further the goals of Copyright Protection/Collection Agencies. I also seek a greater insight into the way the Board operates, which in turn, should allow me to utilize the management skills I have acquired over the years, and make meaningful contributions.



Born and raised in Brisbane, Australia, Sian Van Der Muelen is a musician (known as Miss Blanks), brand & communications specialist, and co-partner at creative services agency, Point Blank Group.

Already in a short period as Miss Blanks, Sian has had the privilege and experience to tour extensively around Australia and abroad, showcasing her practice on a multitude of festivals including Laneway Festival, Listen Out, Dark Mofo, Vivid Sydney, and more, while employing over 30 people. She’s partnered with global powerhouses Spotify, Beats By Dre, Alexander Wang and more, is a consult to industry leaders, and an advisor to peers and emerging artists, all while self-managed. Miss Blanks remains a culture leader and prominent voice among the Australian music landscape for her social justice work and pioneering & championing for greater industrial, social, and institutional change for all - with a priority on underrepresented, marginalised, minority, disadvantaged, and displaced individuals.

Outside of the music space, Sian holds extensive cultural community development experience, having worked with community and within highly regulated government environments - acting as a bridge for change. Sian is passionate about promoting excellence in community work practice, positively impacting programs/organisations and helping clients by providing access to expert support and enabling potential. All of this has culminated in a remarkable client roster that boasts names G20, Brisbane City Council, Queensland Health, Department of Premier & Cabinet (QLD), and more.

In the brand space, Sian holds unique experience with global and domestic talent and brands who set the agenda in fashion, retail, consumer/lifestyle, and luxury - including but not limited to Kaiit, Nina Las Vegas, Charli XCX, PUMA, Red Bull, Alexander Wang, and more.  Creating key strategic alignments that stand firm on the foundation of authentic and organic connection, Sian’s ethos and practice is underpinned by innate understanding of brand and talent, with the insight, imagination and passion of a local understanding, combined with real global vision.


I am hoping to be elected as Writer Director for the board of APRA, where I can utilise my skills, range, insight, and experience to help advance the music community I am privileged to belong to and operate within.

I hold knowledge and passion for the wants and needs of our music community with the full inclusion and awareness of culture, identity, community, wellbeing and safety (as a holistic approach) and their importance, running parallel and linked with appropriate support. To this role, I would bring critical thinking, the ability to make sound judgement and advocate for others.

I understand the importance of and value of truth telling, accurate documentation and peacebuilding in relationships as a process and in seeing both music industry and music community engage with appropriate support to enable them to work towards achieving healthy and positive outcomes.

I believe I have a solid understanding of this role and paired with my own (lived) experiences, cultural background, unique position within the music community, and the ability to navigate the systems and cross cultural boundaries as well as my problem solving skills, communication and interpersonal attributes offer unique strengths with transferable skills and knowledge to make me an advantageous candidate for this board position.

I hope to have the opportunity to represent our incredible music community!

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