Almost Famous

Carving out a career as a musician can be a very hard slog. John Caruso meets one Noosa hinterland performer who is prepared to knock on all the right doors and do whatever it takes to make it

by @JohnCaruso on Wednesday, 08 Jun, 2016

The last time we met Cooroy local Ayla Scanlan she was ready to start her Bachelor of Music at QUT, in the middle of a national tour with Kate Miller-Heidke and she was tuning up to perform at the Queensland Music Awards (QMA).

Since our autumn issue, Ayla won the Regional Award at the QMAs and fulfilled a lifelong dream to perform at the Powerhouse in Brisbane which is where the QMAs were held.

“I had entered in the past and last year I won the Billy Thorpe Scholarship which was a grant application where you had to demonstrate how you would spend the money from the scholarship,” explains Ayla.

“I put some cash towards the recording of my EP, When the World Ends which was released last November and I also made a video clip.

“Shooting a clip was kind of weird knowing that you’re the centre and focus of all the attention,” she said. “It took a while to get comfortable with the whole idea.”

Hitting the road and touring with Kate Miller-Heidke was another new and exciting experience for Ayla.

“We were backstage in Perth and I was sitting with a seven-and-a-half month pregnant Kate Miller-Heidke when she turned to me and said it felt like the least rock’n’roll tour she’d ever done,” explains Ayla

Performing at the Red Deer Music and Arts Festival, Jungle Love, Caloundra Music Festival and Woodford Folk Festival are a long way from busking at the Yandina Markets.

“My first paid gig was when someone saw me busking and asked if I would play at their wedding,” says Ayla. “I was thirteen!

“You’ve got to explore every avenue, open mic nights, school concerts and even house concerts where people will pay you to go and perform at their homes.

“It can be hard starting out for musicians. You’ve just got to keep on pushing and if you’re a songwriter keep doing it, even if you think the songs are not very good.

“Seek out places to perform, approach venues and keep knocking on doors. I did a lot of that myself,” says Ayla.

So what’s next for this local singer and songwriter?

“I have a few singles that are finished and I want to put those towards another EP which should be out in the next few months,” she says.

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