Music grants offering big opportunity to emerging artists

June 29, 2022 BY

Torquay musician Libby Steel (centre) performing at Loch Hart Festival earlier this year. Photo: KIRSTY RENEE HILL

LOCAL musicians have until the end of the month to apply for the state government’s Music Works Grants for 2022.

Torquay-based musician Libby Steel was one of the lucky recipients in 2020’s round of music works grants, receiving $9,999 to assist her produce, record and promote her debut EP.

Ms Steele said the grant application process might appear as daunting, but the benefit it could provide might be what is needed to get any budding musician’s career off the ground.

“It is an extensive process, I’m not going to sugarcoat it, but when I found out that I had received the grant I burst into tears,” Steel said.

“It is a big grant, and it does make a difference for emerging artists.

“It allowed me to begin working with a whole new group of professionals and to continue working on my music, even through COVID-19.

“One thing I can also say for sure, is the team at Creative Victoria were so good and once I created that connection, we were in constant communication.”

Applications accepted will receive funds ranging between $4,000-$40,000 for individuals or groups and organisations.

Musicians across the country were stripped of their networks and bookings when COVID-19 crippled the entertainment industry.

For Steel, it was no different – she could not see her producer for over a year as a result, which delayed the completion of her EP, but things are looking up moving forward.

“It was really difficult being a musician during the lockdown period and it was the same for my musicians,” she said.

“Everyone’s income, everyone’s passion, everyone’s social life was just dropped, so we had to try to reinvent ourselves.

“Thankfully for me I found a silver lining because I did have this grant, and I was able to teach myself how to use a music production program which allowed me to create my own demos and a lot of the vocal trackings that made it onto the final songs of the EP.

“Because of this grant, I have grown as a result and so has my music.”

Steel’s six-song EP is an “open landscape” of sounds featured with folky pop and R&B themes entwined, using Libby’s voice to tie everything together and telling a story of becoming a woman.

The EP was created with the highly respected John Castle, alongside her bandmates Liam Brennan (guitar), Cam Jerabek (keys), Jake Pickering (drums) and Jesse Stan (bass).

Steel’s full EP will be released in two months’ time, but the first two songs “Ebbs & Flows” and “Settle” are already on music platforms for listening.

For more information on Steel’s music, head to libbysteelmusic.com.

To get access to the Music Works Grants application portal, head to www.creative.vic.gov.au/grants-and-support/programs/music-works.