Made Deadly to Unearth Even More Aboriginal Music Talent for 2019

They stole the show and the audience’s hearts at Saltwater Freshwater Festival in January. Now Made Deadly is back for 2019, and it promises to discover and showcase more gifted Aboriginal musicians, stellar performances and inspiration from around the region than ever.

The “Triple J Unearthed”-style project supports Aboriginal musical talent on the Mid North Coast (MNC) of NSW. A joint collaboration between Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance (SWFW) and music development organisation Grow the Music (GTM), its inaugural 2018 success will see it grow to more locations this year.

Made Deadly 2019 will offer open-mic sessions to Aboriginal musicians, singers and performers in seven Mid North Coast locations. From these live sessions a total of eight performers will be selected to perform at SWFW Festival on Australia Day 2020. The final eight will receive studio time to professionally record one of their tracks and mentoring and rehearsal time with a high-profile Aboriginal music mentor and the GTM team.

The 2019 Made Deadly open-mic sessions will be held at:

  • Coffs Harbour (covering Bellingen to Woolgoolga)
  • Bowraville (also covering Macksville)
  • Kempsey
  • Port Macquarie (also covering Wauchope)
  • Taree
  • Forster
  • Karuah

Dates, venues and judging panels will be announced in late July.

The Made Deadly performers were the highlight of SWFW Festival 2019 and included folk, soul, hip hop and instrumentalists. Until Festival, many had been quietly plugging away at their musical dreams within their own communities, largely unseen by the public eye. That first opportunity to perform in front of a large audience was transformational, with the exposure kick-starting their performing career on the region’s gig and festival circuit, including Coffs Harbour Harmony Festival.

Hip-hop artist and Dunghutti youth Nigel Kennedy, 16, (aka MC Manchild) was a 2018 finalist. The story behind his powerful raps moved the judging panel to tears, and his performance was a highlight of Festival. He said: “I started music because I’d been going through a depression stage. I started writing my own lyrics. I found that putting it all down on pen and paper, lets everything out. I’m telling the story of my life in these raps.”

Nigel said: “I connect to the land through music. I connect with my people, and not only my people – other people. Words can’t explain the feeling of having thousands of people being moved by my own songs – that’s crazy.”

Jane Tavener, Social Enterprise Coordinator at Saltwater Freshwater, said: “We know that we’ve barely scratched the surface of the Aboriginal musical talent blossoming in this region – and the amount of people keen to get involved and have the opportunity to share their musical gifts.”

Made Deadly is made possible thanks to the support of Create NSW and the NSW Aboriginal Land Council.

For interviews and media enquiries contact Jane Tavener on (02) 6658 1315 or