To help South Australia’s music scene continue to bounce back following the pandemic, grants are being offered to local artists and music businesses to create and share new work.
The Music Development Office (MDO) is this month offering grants of up to $15,000 to South Australian musicians and related businesses to support the making or delivery of new music.
The Project Support Grants are split into two streams – creative development and business development – with applications closing on Thursday, 18 May.
Creative Development grants are for artists, their producers or managers, who are looking to create or release new music.
Grants under Business Development are open to industry professionals, including artist managers and promoters, and support the creation, presentation, production or delivery of original music.
Singer-songwriter Carla Lippis knows firsthand how vital funding for original music is to South Australia’s cultural health.
Lippis, who received an MDO grant in 2022, returned to her hometown of Adelaide early in the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving behind a life in London that saw her singing cabaret in the West End and touring Europe with Italian band Sacri Cuori.
“We love it here,” says Lippis of her return to South Australia. “That’s why public funding is so important. We can live in the city we love and still have the chance to make the art we love.
“Funding for original intellectual property made in SA is paramount to getting SA on the map as a place where people can develop and create new art to push to the wider world. We have to be able to create things here, otherwise it’s very hard to keep artists living here.”
Lippis says she used the 2022 grant to support the promotion of her forthcoming album, Mondo Psycho, which takes the artist into new territory with a post-apocalyptic rock sound.
This kind of creative experimentation is often only possible with the aid of public funding, which can help create space for exploration and music that doesn’t neatly fit into commercial models.
The 2022 MDO grants supported a range of musicians working across an array of genres – from Lippis’ experimental album, to more radio friendly-artists like Stellie and Bad Dreems, difficult-to-define band Slowmango, and music venues like the Grace Emily Hotel.
Slowmango has a dedicated yet niche audience, and its members say their blend of African, Latin, Arabic and Western musical traditions is unlikely to find a place inside the mainstream.
The band was funded by the grant to finish – including mixing and mastering – its debut record, the creation of which was also supported by a highly successful crowdfunding campaign.
Band member Adrian Schmidt Mumm says public funding relieves some pressure for left-of-centre bands like his, and ultimately supports a more diverse and rich creative scene.
“Diversity and difference is essentially what makes us human,” he says. “The reason I make the music that Slowmango makes, that kind of diverse, world-influenced but then also kind of contemporary in the sense of it being western music driven in a way, it’s an amalgamation of the influences that I’ve had in my life and same with the people in my band.
“It’s expressions of different human experiences and I think that’s why it’s so important to have that variety and that diversity because there are just so many different experiences in the world.”
New albums, compositions, or songs can be expensive and sometimes long-term ventures. Often years in the making, projects like Lippis’ Mondo Psycho or the forthcoming Slowmango debut can regularly cost artists tens of thousands of dollars to produce.
The MDO grants are capped at $15,000, and are a vital part of keeping South Australia’s music scene both active and creative.
“I’ve been really supported by them to get my vision out there,” says Lippis.
Application for the Music Development Office Project Support Grants close on May 18. See the website for more details.
Slowmango’s debut album is slated for release mid-year. Keep an eye on the band’s website for their new single release on May 12.