Geelong singer-songwriter Xyla Haigh makes top 10 in Melbourne Music Week’s Fed Live competition

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Geelong singer-songwriter Xyla Haigh makes top 10 in Melbourne Music Week’s Fed Live competition

Photo by Alaina Nelson

Xyla is in the running to win $100,000 worth of career-kickstarting prizes.

Local singer-songwriter Xyla Haigh (AKA Tayla Haigh) has beaten thousands of artists to score a place in the top 10 best music videos in Melbourne Music Week’s Fed Live competition.

Bringing the importance of music back to Victoria, Fed Square launched the competition – Fed Live – back in October, revealing a grand prize valued at $100,000 for one talented Victorian band or solo artist.

To go in the running, artists needed to submit a music video showing off their talents. The competition was open to any and all genres and its sole aim was to support local musicians, particularly emerging acts, after what has been an incredibly tough year for the music industry.

Following the brilliant crop of talent that applied for the competition which was announced back in October, whittling it down to a final 10 couldn’t have been an easy task for the judges from music heavyweights MTV, Melbourne Music Week, DITTO Music and the Mushroom Group.

Boasting a killer selection of local talent from hip hop to electro-pop and back again, Xyla’s melancholic, thoughtful ballad ‘Summer Rain’ was shortlisted.

“I was genuinely shocked to learn that I’d made the Top 10. This year it was hard to be hopeful and inspired about being creative, so it was a surreal feeling knowing my song had been heard by industry professionals, let alone selected,” Xyla explains.

“Making the top 10 and the overall experience has given me even more of a push to keep writing and recording music, and taking on new creative challenges and projects moving forward.”

Inspired by the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Bon Iver and Lana Del Rey, Xyla’s sound is best described as melancholic folk-pop. Typically spending evenings in a hypnotic haze of bedroom loops and endless contemplation, Xylah’s songs take the listener on a journey as she candidly explores the perplex and melancholic angst of navigating life as a 20-something-year-old.

Channelling vulnerability, opening up and human connection, Xyla’s submission ‘Summer Rain’ clearly impressed the slew of industry folk – and rightly so. Penned during a moment of desolation, the two minute and 18-second track is alluring and melancholic, championed by immersive instrumentation and delicate, chilling melodies. The lyrics further tug at your heartstrings while Xyla’s soaring vocals and raw delivery serve the ultimate gut punch.

“I started writing Summer Rain during a lonely moment last year, but left the track in its incomplete state and put it on the backburner, ironically doing the same to the feelings that inspired the writing of the song in the first place,” Xyla explains.

“This year I decided to finish writing the song before lockdown hit, and I started seeing someone who lived in Melbourne, later becoming a hotspot. When the barriers went up between metro and regional Victoria the whole song became eerily fitting to what was happening in my life and I felt more connected to the song than I ever had.”

While the competition required an original song to be submitted, producing a music video was the main requirement for musicians. Complimenting the captivating combination of sadness and yearning in ‘Summer Rain’, the nostalgic VHS-style video captures Xyla as her authentic self.

“The video was filmed at my home with my long-time high school friend Joel Johnston who used an old VHS camera to capture the shots. He and I had worked together previously, in 2013 recording a (now quite humorous) country music video out in Bannockburn, so we were eager to override that memory.

“The aim of the video was just to show really simple, vulnerable and playful little glimpses into my life, who I am and the things I was feeling.”

With ‘Summer Rain’ in the top 10 music videos, now it’s up to you, the public and music lovers, to vote. If Xyla wins, she will take home a massive prize pack worth up to $100,000. Included is being played on MTV, at Melbourne’s Federation Square and in a live-streamed concert, exclusive career mentoring sessions, a tailored publicity and radio campaign, an MTV playlist addition and $5,000 cash, among other great prizes.

Talk about a huge leg up for an emerging musician.

You can vote for your favourite music video here. Voting closes 7 December. The overall winner will be announced 8 December.