The project connecting Geelong musicians to their town and music icons

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The project connecting Geelong musicians to their town and music icons

It’s clear the Aussie music scene is filled to the brim with amazing talent, especially with Melbourne having been dubbed the live music capital of the world, but it’s no secret that it’s a difficult industry to crack.

One of the most common pieces of advice that musicians receive about advancing their career is the advice to find a good mentor – someone you look up to who can guide you along the path of building a successful music career.

While this sounds great in theory, finding someone who’s actually willing to invest in you over a long period of time can be a real challenge, especially if you’re not that well-connected in the music industry to begin with.

Introducing Connecting Song, the Geelong-based program lending that much-needed helping hand and giving local deserving artists a little boost to their music career.

The program (an initiative of the City of Greater Geelong, as part of the Mountain to Mouth Contemporary Songline project), begun in 2016 with Adalita Srsen from Magic Dirt, Mark Wilson from Jet, and Tim Neal from Paul Williamson Hammond Combo mentoring the youth of Geelong and surrounding areas with a focus on developing unsigned musicians.

Now a bi-annual event, the project sees three industry professionals choose a singular act from the vast selection of competition entries, who they would then work to mentor throughout the course of the Connecting Song project to write, record and create a film clip that has Geelong as the central theme, which will then be shown at the Geelong After Dark festival in May.

This year, the program sees the return of Adalita and Mark Wilson, along with Mick Thomas from Weddings Parties Anything headed home to Geelong to work with the next generation of Geelong musicians.

“I just love being able to contribute to my home town community, a way to give back and I’m so proud to be Geelong born and bred,” Adalita explains of her involvement once again. “I love this town! It holds so many great memories and it was absolutely integral to my becoming a musician. Without Geelong, I never would be where I am today. And the Connecting Song project is so exciting to be a part of, I learn so much from the mentees and the program itself. Meeting all these wonderful songwriters and also the council members and industry professionals who are part of this big team that puts this program altogether.”

Following an excruciating selection process earlier this year, Adalita decided on her chosen mentee in solo musician Chloe St Claire, while Mick Thomas set his sights on Jack Meredith, and Mark Wilson buddied up with band emerging indie rock outfit Alby Jay (made up of Jeb Costin, Jarred Paggels, Tommy Doggett Williams and Callum Marriott).

“I just loved Chloe’s songs as soon as I heard them. She has a strong songwriting sensibility, impressive in someone so young. She has a beautiful, unique voice, and I really felt like her music could benefit from going through that big studio production process,” Adalita says of her mentee.

“Chloe is a hard worker. From the get-go, she was straight into the process and really pushed herself to get the best out of her song for this project. She really cares about her work and has amazing focus. I think Chloe also has the potential to be a really great music producer, which is something that I think was really starting to come out during the Connecting Song process.”

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Chloe Adele Perrett, assuming the stage name Chloe St Claire, has a rich history steeped in music, making her the perfect match for Adalita. With a musician as a father and an artist as a mother, Chloe was immersed in an environment that placed a lot of importance on self-expression and creativity, leading her to become transfixed with music, jumping from one instrument to another until she fell in love with the guitar.

“As a young solo artist, I’ve always really wanted to learn from others and develop my musicality,” Chloe explains of becoming involved in the Connecting Song project. “I’m always keen to improve my skills as a songwriter, and I thought programs like Connecting Song would offer such a great opportunity to support this. I was so stoked when I heard that Adalita had selected me to work with her for this years’ program.”

Taking on the role of both a guide and an adviser, Adalita and her fellow mentors have spent the past few months assisting their mentees with every step of the process, from the initial songwriting part right up until the final screening of the music video accompanying the track.

“Working with Adalita has truly been invaluable as she has taught me so much throughout the Connecting Song program,” Chloe continues. “She has given me some great advice about songwriting, taught me so much about the Aussie music industry and given me great insight into her experience as an Australian artist.”

Having begun her career in one of the most successful indie rock bands to come out of Geelong during the ’90s, Adalita credits Geelong in particular for being at the center of providing opportunities for career development to the average emerging artist in an industry flooded with established artists.

“I think it’s awesome,” Adalita says of Geelong. “There’s no time like the present to really give a go! I’ve always thought Geelong was such a great environment for creativity. There’s something about our town, so many different areas, geologically and atmospherically, that it really inspires, and Melbourne, being so close, provides so many opportunities to explore your creative path.”

“I think young emerging artists like myself should really take advantage of local programs like Connecting Song which promote artistic development and growth,” Chloe adds. “You can meet some fantastic people with really interesting perspectives on music and I think it really helps you grow as an indie musician. I would love to see more opportunities like Connecting Song for the Geelong community because they are just so rewarding for everyone involved.”

Becoming involved in the Connecting Song project is proving to be the ultimate kick start for Chloe’s career, with plans to release a new single as early as June this year, along with a second EP and even a regional tour of Victoria.

“I honestly think it’s impossible to choose the best part of the experience,” Chloe beams. “Working one on one with a music legend, learning the ins and outs of how music studios operate, making friends and connections with other creative minds have all been so valuable. I would definitely recommend Connecting Song to any emerging singer-songwriters out there. It will really give you the opportunity to develop as an artist.”

The Geelong inspired clips will premiere at Geelong After Dark, Friday 3 May 2019, with each mentee performing sets at the Worker’s Club in celebration of the process.

For more details head to