Artist in the running for enviro prize

May 5, 2023 BY

Natural music: SheisArjuna, real name Shannon Curry, released her song Vessel as part of her debut album called The Age of Convenience in November, 2021. Photo: SUPPLIED

ONE of the region’s singer-songwriters has been named as one of the twenty-two finalists for Music Victoria’s second annual Environmental Music Prize.

Bannockburn solo artist Shannon Curry, performing under the pseudonym SheisArjuna, has been given the nod for the $20,000 prize for her song Vessel released as a single in late 2021.

She said it’s an honour to be going up against other Australian acts like Midnight Oil, Tash Sultana and Xavier Rudd.

“I’m grateful to be recognised and on the list with all the names that are on there,” she said. “I write all my songs in a stream-of-consciousness way without planning.

“With Vessel I had a magazine in front of me called Dumbo Feather. It was during the time with the pandemic, bushfires and flooding and I was feeling the weight of that.

“The words from the cover of the magazine were diving into these big issues. The issue was called Consciousness Rising and that’s the first lyric of the second verse.

“The song is about using my voice to encourage people to be conscious of their actions and how they treat the world around them.”

The prize was launched in response to a UN Climate Summit in late 2021 by members of non-profit group Environmental Music, aimed at recognising songs that bring awareness to the environment.

The shortlisting committee for this year’s entries were made up of six music industry ambassadors and nine environmental impact representatives.

Curry has been making music for more than 20 years having started out performing with her brother as a teenager before cultivating her style as SheisArjuna from about 2017 onwards.

Between earning a degree in Animal Sciences, working as a wildlife carer and conservationist, and living out of her straw-bale house constructed in Bannockburn last year, she said her music is an extension of her environmentally-minded lifestyle.

“My eyes were opened when I was about 20 and I couldn’t unsee that,” she said. “I try to live a life that’s conscious of the mark we live.

“I think a for a song like Vessel to be up for an award like this, I feel like it has the power to reach more people that may not think about those issues.

“If they take a moment to listen to it because it’s palatable and then take a moment to absorb the lyrics, they might go ‘hey, that’s important’.”

Public voting can be done through the Environmental Music website with entries closing on Sunday, 4 June after which the winner will be announced later that month.