Local artists ready to launch

Baraka the Kid, aka Fiston Baraka. (Ivan Kemp) 370025_08

Matt Hewson

Five emerging local musicians will take part in the Grass Roots Indie Development (GRID) program as it comes to Geelong for the first time.

Baraka the Kid, Daisy Kilbourne, Elena Nichols, Ridzyray and Wild Gloriosa were selected from a pool of 50 applicants to take part in the program, which offers mentoring, collaboration with producers, recording sessions, live gigs and the creation of an artist documentary.

The mentors for this Geelong GRID program include MC, producer and multi-instrumentalist Joelistics (Joel Ma), engineer, songwriter and producer Becki Whitton, producer Ariel Blum, festival programmer Rich Moffat and Broken Leg PR director Monique Matosic.

Blum, who was also one of the co-founders of the GRID Series back in 2013, said the program had come a long way from its beginnings as a local meet and greet gig at the Elsternwick Hotel.

“We realised there was something there the artists really valued, (which was) meeting people in the industry and creating networks,” he said.

“So we expanded our program. We’ve been running for the last 10 years in outer suburban areas in Victoria and also interstate.

“We’ve always invited artists who are incredibly talented but haven’t necessarily had the support network beneath them to excel and become visible in the ecosystem.”

Lovely Banks rapper Baraka the Kid, aka Fiston Baraka, came to Australia from the Congo with his family in 2010.

For Baraka, 23, the program is all about soaking up the experience of the program mentors.

“I’ve been making music for so long that I know how to be creative and how to elevate, so for me it’s more so about grasping the mindset of all the producers and branding partners,” he said.

“It’s being able to be in the same room with people like that, learning from them, and taking that knowledge back and applying it to my music and my brand.”

Member for Geelong Christine Couzens said the state government was proud to support young Geelong musicians through the Geelong GRID program.

“That young musicians, from different cultural backgrounds, can receive support and mentoring from experienced industry professionals, gives them the opportunity to grow as music professionals,” Ms Couzens said.