Ella Hooper got her big break in 1996 when she entered her song “Kettle” into a Triple J song contest and won.  Success with Killing Heidi and more recently Versus followed and she is now about to release her first solo album, In Tongues.  Currently the Melbourne Music Bank ambassador, she is putting the call out for your original songs about Melbourne.  We had a chat to Hooper about this opportunity, her new album and Frankston’s famed op- shops.

PEARL: If you had to write a song specifically about Melbourne, what would you write about?
HOOPER: I think what I would go for is something unique to you about Melbourne, like a particular street that is well known to you rather than the big landmarks. Even though that’s pretty beautiful…no one has done it better than Paul Kelly singing about the MCG or St Kilda Pier or the Nylex clock. 

PEARL: Do you think Frankston classifies as part of Melbourne?
HOOPER: Yeah I do – I mean I feel like it does.  In my career I’ve gone down to play in Frankston, I go op-shopping there and I live in Brunswick.  I don’t mind getting on a train and going to the outer burbs.  I still feel like they are a part of Melbourne.

PEARL: If you were at the start of your music career right now, would you audition for X-Factor or The Voice?
HOOPER: Not me particularly because I’m a song writer.  Those competitions are more, I think for people with outstanding voices.  The Melbourne Music Bank comp is more about the song writing skill and the overall package that you present. Nothing against the Voice or X-Factor but those opportunities are already quite common for outstanding singers.  Now we want the artists.

PEARL: I see that you have a new album coming out in October.  Is there an overall inspiration for the album?
HOOPER: Yeah, it’s basically about metamorphosis and change.  I’m looking at a few dark things. It was sort of a difficult album but one that I had to do.  I felt the only reason I should do a solo album was when I really had something to say.  What I had to say turned out to be a little bit dark, but I think a lot of people feel that way at different points in their life. 

PEARL: You have been a part of the live music scene for most of your life, what kind of changes have you seen in the industry and touring in that time?
HOOPER: The internet has just made things so incredibly easy.  Easy to tour, easy to contact other artists even to communicate with each other, so we are really lucky.  We are living in a time where being a musician and recording has become incredibly easily accessed.  But that can be a negative as well because there is a lot of noise out there.  There are a lot of people trying to get noticed and do similar things.

PEARL: What would you say to someone thinking about submitting a song to the Melbourne Music Bank contest?
HOOPER: I would absolutely urge them to do it because I think every time you enter something, even if you don’t win, you get so much experience.  Even if you get accepted into the final 12 and you don’t take home the whole thing, you are going to get exposed to some serious industry players.  Another thing I love about this competition is that it has real people who could actually help you in your career involved.  There is no down side.

The winner of Melbourne Music Bank, as judged by music fans and industry experts (including Hooper) gets studio time at Sing Song Studios, their song in a Bank of Melbourne ad, a video clip made by Wilk, live gigs, album artwork and PR and marketing advice. To enter, get your song in by September 7th to www.bankofmelbourne.com.au/melbmusicbank

PENNY IVISON

 

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