WHO – emerging talent

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MICHAEL DAVID THOMAS – Abandoning his former life as a lawyer in 2011 Michael changed his name and hit the road with an acoustic guitar setting out on a pilgrimage. His travels took him on an extensive tour playing all around Australia and the US with his former band Breaking Hart Benton. Breaking Hart Benton made three records, including an album produced by acclaimed producer Mark Moffat.

In 2015 Michael chose to go it solo and signed a record deal with Brisbane independent record label ‘Airlock Records’ founded by Ian Haug (Powderfinger), becoming the label’s third signing. Produced by Haug, Michaels debut contains a tantalising mix of well crafted melodic and up tempo songs and sparser lyrical numbers. Together Haug and Michael David Thomas brought these ‘folk’ songs to life and captured a fresh, modern sound. The EP rides a delicate interplay of strings, electric and acoustic guitars and Michael’s signature smooth effortless vocals containing a delicate mix of well-crafted melodic and up-tempo songs and sparser lyrical numbers.

Perhaps Michael’s unique take on the world is what makes him an exceptional songwriter. He is able to look at the human existence from a different place, a place from which he can comment intelligently and deeply on the absurdity of our actions and social norms, all with a spark of humour, a wink to the knowing. The film clip for his latest single ‘Jump In’ for example features a male stripper from Cap D’Adge and performer Mario Queen of the Circus accosting unsuspecting passers-by in Brisbane. The inspiration for the film clip comes from Bob Dylan’s neologism ‘glissendorf’, or the satirical and random act of harmless disturbance an individual might perform in public places to analyse the social psychology of the subject, with the added effect of eliciting unpredictable and often amusing behaviour. Basically, doing unusual things to see how people react, something Michael has been known to partake in and hints at through his music.

Michael David Thomas belongs to a rare class of songwriters whose songs can simultaneously punch the head and the heart, make you laugh and cry, and reference the old while still providing a completely unique perspective.

MISSY LANCASTER – Missy Lancaster is a country girl from a small town that wants to share her music with the world. The 20 year old has hit the ground running with her fresh style and genuine performances landing her support spots for the likes of Adam Harvey and Troy Cassar-Daley.

Missy’s interest in Country Music started early and at just eight years of age she gave her first public performance when she joined multi-Golden Guitar winning artist Luke O’Shea on stage for a rendition of John Williamson’s anthem “True Blue” at a gig in her hometown of Picton. Missy then started singing lessons at the age of twelve and guitar lessons at the age of fifteen and her love of music took flight. Missy recalls, “I sat in my room morning, noon and night learning songs. That was it…I was addicted! I would come home after school and write and play and it took over my life.”

Missy recorded her debut EP in 2014 with Simon Johnson handling production. “’Til I Figure It Out” was independently funded and released in January 2015 and climbed all the way to #1 on the iTunes Country Album chart. The release coincided with a successful run of shows at the 2015 Tamworth Country Music Festival and marked a huge leap forward from busking on Peel St just twelve months earlier. Missy has kept her foot on the accelerator opening performing over sixty gigs throughout 2015 including supporting Tania Kernaghan at the legendary Birdsville Races.

Missy is currently in Nashville recording her second EP which is slated for release at Tamworth CM Festival in January. It is important to Missy to release her new EP at the iconic event. Missy’s flavour of contemporary Country Music may not be to everyone’s taste but you can’t question the young Artist’s dedication to the genre “I am proud to call myself a Country-Pop Artist and to be a member of the Country community. I hope one day I can be part of bringing new people to Country Music just like my heroes Kasey Chambers and The McClymonts have done.”

ANGELA EASSON – Adelaide-based singer-songwriter Angela Easson recently released ‘Once Upon A Time’ – the first single from her debut album “Wanted”, out this month. This self-penned track was inspired when reflecting back on her first real love and to where she is today. The new music was recorded with producer Rob Mackay (Luke O’Shea, Tanya Self, Kaylee Bell) of Pacific International Music in both Queensland’s Hervey Bay and country music capital Nashville, USA. Influenced by her country music female idols Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, and Kacey Musgraves, all 12 remaining tracks on “Wanted” were also written by Angela, a 2010 CMAA Country Music Academy graduate.

Angela began singing at the age of 10 when she fell in love with country music after attending her first country music event in Mount Gambier, SA. Moving to Adelaide in 1997, she has worked with many South Australian musicians, branching into different genres including pop, jazz and blues. Angela is an active member in the community, including the lead vocalist for the Onkaparinga Big Band.

Angela’s many accolades include being crowned the international winner of the 2010 Trans-Tasman Entertainer Of The Year award by the Norfolk Island Country Music Association and the 2009 South Australian Senior Champion Of Champions. 2011 saw Angela named a Toyota Star Maker finalist and the release of her self-titled debut EP. Angela’s natural song-writing abilities were celebrated in 2010 after winning the South Australian APRA Modern Country Song Of The Year and the South Australian APRA Overall Country Song of The Year with her song ‘Forget To Forget You’.

Angela is married with two children – daughter Chloe 4 and son Lachlan 3 , 14 months apart & she stresses this was not planned! When not performing, Angela runs her own successful bookkeeping business in the Adelaide Hills and is known as the “singing bookkeeper”.

CAM SCOTT – New Zealand’s Cam Scott brings rock inspired vibrancy to the modern country genre. With a high-voltage performance, he brings the party wherever he goes. Taking out Best Male Artist at the New Zealand Country Music Awards in 2015 with his first recorded release, the future looks bright for the talented artist.

Cam Scott hails from the South Island and is part of a young group of Kiwis including Kaylee Bell and Jody Direen that are changing young peoples’ perception of country music in New Zealand. Cam says, “The growth in demand for country music in New Zealand just in the past 12 months has been massive. It’s an exciting time for our genre here.” One just needs to look at The Branding Festival that attracts a young crowd of early 20-somethings and Australian artists Morgan Evans and Kaylens Rain are to join the party this year.

Cam is also starting to make noise this side of the ditch. He played CMC Rocks in 2015 and has been invited back again for the 2016 Queensland Festival. CMA global board member Rob Potts said, “Cam Scott is one of the shining lights of the contemporary country scene in NZ and performed with great confidence at CMA Music Festivals GlobaLive Show in Nashville and on the CMC Rocks stage, two of country music’s biggest stages. We are excited to have him back at CMC Rocks Qld as part of a strong contingent from NZ in March 2016”.

His debut single ‘Something Bout a Girl’ was released in November 2014 and second single ‘Praying Rain’ has just hit radio and we should see a video clip real soon. Both singles were produced by Brisbane based producer Andrew Cochrane (Jared Porter, Caitlyn Shadbolt, Kaylens Rain).