Open Mic Nights in Shepparton to beat barriers, hone skills

By Tara Whitsed

Young Shepparton music artists will have the chance to hone their skills while performing among friends in the retro vibes of Shingo’s Coffee Lounge.

Heard Instinct Open Mic Nights, a new initiative co-designed by Multicultural Arts Victoria and a group of young creatives from diverse cultural backgrounds, kicks off on Thursday.

The sessions will be held fortnightly from 6pm to 10pm at Shingo’s and will be hosted by veteran hip hop artist 1/6 (aka Aaron Stephanus), who recently moved back to Shepparton from Melbourne.

‘‘Seeing the music scene, along with the town of Shepparton itself expanding, it only feels right to be able to facilitate such a forum,’’ he said.

‘‘It will cultivate the talent of young artists in Shepparton and the Goulburn Valley region and will provide a safe and inclusive space where they can network with their peers and develop the relationships that are essential to any thriving creative culture.’’

Flavoured with self-produced beats, lyrics, rhymes and spanning genres from hip hop and R&B to soul and gospel, acts can include solo, duo or trio with backing tracks or one instrument.

‘‘When I was first coming up in the scene, I spent a lot of time at open mic nights,’’ 1/6 said.

‘‘It was the best way to gauge your performance levels next to more experienced artists.

‘‘It was also great to network with other artists and behind-the-scenes players such as managers, sound engineers, graphic designers, producers. Essentially to be introduced to the many facets of the music industry.’’

1/6 will be joined by young local artists Vince the Kid, Lasi Simaika and El Patron, with the support of MAV as part of its Emerge program to produce the nights.

The Emerge program is about building capacity of artists from diverse cultural backgrounds to develop new creative and cultural work, new conversations and new thinking.

The initiative follows on from the Ignite Sound Sessions music mentoring program — a partnership between MAV and St Paul’s African House.

‘‘Ignite Sound Sessions has revealed an amazing level of talent and aspiration and has highlighted the impressive skills of diverse young artists in Shepparton who have so much to share musically, lyrically and personally,’’ MAV creative producer Anita Larkin said.

‘‘It’s been exciting to see so many young artists learn about and engage with the creative process over the past two years and with Heard Instinct Open Mic Nights, we look forward to seeing them take their music to the next level and develop themselves as performers.’’

There will be prizes and jams and all young artists are welcome to perform. There’s no need to register, just rock up. The event is open to all ages and will be alcohol and smoke free.

The Heard Instinct Open Mic Nights are on every second Thursday, from February 14 to March 28, from 6pm to 10pm at Shingo’s Coffee Lounge, 173 Corio St, Shepparton. For more information, visit the MAV website or the event Facebook page.