Following a week of interviews in Sydney and Melbourne, 10 young Australian creatives have been chosen to be in the running to win one of three Realise Your Dream awards - $10,000 and a trip to the UK, where they will meet, work with and learn from their professional heroes.
Three panels of judges, featuring leading academics, arts managers and practitioners, were given the tremendously difficult task of choosing the 10 from over 650 applications, representing a huge range of art forms. Applications came from all over Australia this year, most markedly from Queensland, from which two of the finalists hail.
British Council Australia says, "Realise Your Dream gives us an incredible snapshot of both the Australian creative industries and the potential partnership opportunities in the UK. The sheer talent, motivation and breadth of this year's finalists means the biggest hurdle we face is whittling down exactly which opportunities to support. Frankly, I pity the judges - it's an almost impossible task this year!"
The 2012 Realise Your Dream finalists are:
Jolie Herzberg (festival director and artistic producer, QLD)
Saskia Moore (producer and artist, VIC)
Kate Just (visual artist, VIC)
Frankie Snowdon (dancer and choreographer, VIC)
Phong Chi Lai (shoe maker, VIC)
Emma Swift (radio announcer and producer, NSW)
Sukhdeep Boghal (rapper and educator, NSW)
Et Al (photojournalism collective, QLD)
Sam Hodge (photographer, NSW)
Elmo Keep (writer and broadcaster, VIC)
The top 10 will travel to Sydney to participate in a knock-out round of interviews, and to attend the 10th Anniversary Realise Your Dream awards ceremony at the newly refurbished Museum of Contemporary Art on 22 August, where the three winners of the programme will be announced. Realise Your Dream is a British Council initiative, in association with Virgin Atlantic, BBC Knowledge, triple j, NIX Co, Boccalatte and Show Group.
For more interviews see:
Jolie Herzberg Interview: www.girl.com.au/jodie-herzberg-2012-realise-your-dream-interview
Kate Just interview: www.girl.com.au/kate-just-2012-realise-your-dream-interview
Frankie Snowdon interview: www.girl.com.au/kate-just-2012-realise-your-dream-interview
Emma Swift is a radio broadcaster, writer and musician from Sydney, Australia. Her extensive broadcasting career has seen her travel across New South Wales as a reporter, rise with the birds to present the breakfast news on the national youth broadcaster triple j and curate and present 'In The Pines' a weekly radio program dedicated to playing the best new Americana, alt-country and folk music on the Sydney station FBi 94.5. Most recently she has shared her love for those musical styles with Australian Broadcasting Corporation by guest programming 'The Inside Sleeve' on Radio National and also contributing to 'The Critics Forum' on ABC 702. Her Realise Your Dream project involves many exciting radio and music collaborations in the UK, with her biggest dream of all being to work with the BBC broadcasting legend Bob Harris.
Question: Why did you decide to enter the 2012 Realise Your Dream competition?
Emma Swift: I am hugely passionate about radio broadcasting and I've always wanted to go to the UK and do some work at the BBC. My specialty is in folk and alt-country and in England at the moment there is an incredibly flourishing scene with people like Momford and Sons and Laura Marling. There is really exciting radio to be made and people to work with.
I love music, it's my whole passion. Music is my driving force. I trained as a journalist but I've spent an extensive time volunteering at a radio station in Sydney called FBi 94.5 radio and I have a music specialist program there. I work fairly extensively at Triple J, Radio National and even the ABC. I have an eclectic broadcasting background but I am really hoping that going to the UK for Realise Your Dream will help me hone my music fields and make a career, out of that.
Question: Describe yourself using five words:
Emma Swift: Enthusiastic, Passionate, Impulsive, Musical and Excitable.
Question: Can you tell us about In The Pines?
Emma Swift: In The Pines is a weekly alt-country, folk and Americana program which goes to air every Tuesday night from 9pm-11pm on the Sydney station FBi 94.5. In The Pines is a very popular specialist music program where I focus on new, upcoming and emerging artists across those genres as well as trying to provide a history lesson, when relevant, for some of the more classic bands. I have had a range of fantastic guests on the show for interviews such as The Falls, Matt Corby and ARIA nominated singers like Jason Walker. I have also had some fairly incredible, international guests on the show such as Grammy winner Jim Launderdale who was interviewed and played live tracks. Hayes Carll, who is a very successful Texas based songwriter, will be on the show in August. In The Pines is always a pleasure and a whole lot of fun, to do.
Question: Why do you want to work with Bob Harris?
Emma Swift: Bob Harris is a legendary UK broadcaster, he started out in the 1960s and 1970s and used to host a show called The Old Grey Whistle Test. If you look up any old classic BBC footage on YouTube in the 70's it often has Bob Harris introducing these legendary acts. Bob Harris now hosts the specialist country music program and he has exceptional taste and high standards. Bob Harris is legendary for making and breaking really good quality Americana and Folk artists. Even in his 60s, he is still so passionate about music broadcasting and sharing his love, for music and his enthusiasm is completely infectious! I saw him last year at the Americana Music Awards in Nashville where his contribution to music broadcasting was formally recognised as he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Americana Music Association.
Bob Harris is a wonderful man and I am completely inspired by his approach to sharing his love for music - he doesn't follow trends he likes what he likes and that is something I would like to do. His an amazing and inspiring man.
Funnily enough he followed me on Twitter (@em_swift this morning - woohoo!
Question: What's a typical day like, for you?
Emma Swift: I work a regular 9-5pm job and I volunteer at the radio station outside of that. Occasionally I do casual fill in shifts on ABC National and Triple J as well.
A typical day for me, in regards to In The Pines, is walking into FBi and my CD pigeonhole is completely overloaded and stocked with great, exciting and brand new music. I then spend hours and hours and hours listening and sifting through the music to work out what I am going to play. I contact a lot of the bands to let them know if I'm going to play them on the show because I think that is very important.
When I'm not listening to music I am obsessively on the internet reading about music and consuming it all the time via blogs, magazines and extending my network.
I play music too; I'm in a band and do a little bit of music management. I am trying to get my music out there which can be an interesting and fun exercise.
I have just begun a segment on the ABC on their state-wide afternoon show where I talk about folk and alt-country music. It's funny because it has just taken over my life! I don't mind that it has, I love that it has because I live and breathe it, all the time.
Question: What inspires you when writing your own music?
Emma Swift: I am inspired by musicians like Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams and Elvis Costello (who was also my first musical true love). I'm interested in narrative song-writing and truth telling but I also love harmonies. I am a choir girl; I grew up in rural Victoria and New South Wales and spent a lot of time singing in choirs. I enjoy singing traditional and although sad, I enjoy weepier songs.
Question: Where do you hope to see yourself, in five years?
Emma Swift: In five years I'd love to be working at the BBC. I'd love to have a music program and/or produce a music program that specifically caters to folk, Americana and alt-country. I think there is an incredibly opportunity for broadcasters, like myself, with the internet to develop podcasts. In five years I hope to be continuing with what I am doing now on a stepped up level perhaps in London or in Sydney. Whatever happens I hope to use the Realise My Dream opportunity to be the best broadcaster that I can and really let that be my world. I want to share my love of music with the world.
Question: How do you find time to fit everything in?
Emma Swift: I don't sleep very much (laughing)! I have a very hectic schedule with In the Pines on Tuesday nights; I host a Folk-Club on Wednesday nights (with a Sydney community that I'm so proud and happy to be a part of) and on Thursday, Friday and Saturday I am always out at gigs. I have a lot of energy and I am very passionate about music. When you're following your passion you can find the time; fortunately for me a lot of my friends and some family are also really into music.
Question: Do you have a website?
Emma Swift: I do, it's inthepinesonfbi.wordpress.com.
Interview by Brooke Hunter