Bundaberg musician Mark Lavender has been accepted into the prestigious CMAA Academy of Country Music course in Tamworth.
Known for his love of country music, Mark has tailored his path as a performing musician, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.
Locally he's already renowned for his ability to entertain a crowd with his impressive range.
Mark said he was excited to be given the opportunity to attend the college of country music in Tamworth.
“As a professional musician full time since a young age, I have always known that my path in music has always been the right one for me as my passion for song writing and sharing that with an audience is what gets me onto that stage every night,” Mark said.
“Being part of the college is an honour as I will get to enjoy and be present and learn from a knowledgeable collective.
“As an artist I always feel the way we grow is through having a yarn, watching others work and listening to other interpretations of songs and originals.
“Being able to spend two weeks with other talented individuals and mentors, I know that I will take away the next piece of the puzzle, or the next verse in my song.
Mark said he never dreamed of being given this chance.
“Honestly no, I was the comfy musician – played my tunes night in, night out, and never was the person to jump off the ledge.
“I have a lot of friends who have been through and have always told me….. ‘righto Lav… it's your turn'.
“As an artist who has morphed more into my own originals over the years, I feel that it was not that it was the wrong advice, but it was never the right time for me as I needed to morph into the artist that I wanted to be.
“I have always been the country kid, singing the county songs and have always stayed true.
“Finding my own identity as that however has taken time and through writing my own originals, I now know my brand.”
Mark finds his music style
Mark said the experience would come close to a highlight of his career, next to the time he travelled to Nashville.
“I was lucky enough to have the opportunity in 2015 to have a guitar session with Brent Mason when I went to Nashville,” he said.
“As a budding lead player, he has always been my idol in his style.
“As a song writer, I find that my lead playing is what inspires my melodies in my song writing and most of my songs come from me mucking around with licks that I can't get out of my head.
“During the session the advice he gave me that I will never forget is ‘Don't be afraid to be different.”
“I love the chicken picking style of lead playing with a modern twang. He reminded me that we hear music how we hear it, and we play it how we feel it and the same guitar never sounds the same in another's hands.
“Finding your style and your sound is defining your craft.
“Taking the stage with two guitars one night with one of my idols to jam a set to a packed house was a night I won't forget.
“Two guitars playing different styles and harmonies from different generations but with the same love for music and of song and storytelling – thanks Bill Chambers.”
Mark’s love and passion for music shows in his performances, and he has the ability to build and maintain new and current supporters for his music.
Mark Lavender Tamworth bound
CMAA Academy of Country Music course is in hot demand as it is the only course of its kind in the world and provides students with new opportunities.
From January 4, 29 students will spend 10 days with some of the top Australian country music artists for the intensive senior course.
Mark will have the chance to learn from Golden Guitar winners Ashleigh Dallas, Kevin Bennett and Lachlan Bryan, and be led by director Lyn Bowtell and general manager Roger Corbett.
“Anyone who knows me, knows I am all about relationships and connecting with people,” Mark said.
“I grow from working with and alongside others.
“As someone who has worked in bands my whole life, I always love to see what each artist brings to a band and how you can keep your own flair but somehow can make it work – I love the originality that everyone brings to a group and how that challenges you as an artist and how other artists challenge you.
“For me it's about finding those opportunities for me to reflect and challenge myself.
“Listening and learning on how to make a successful and long-lasting career, while meeting the needs of the ever-changing audience, but staying true to your craft is the hopeful advice I wish to learn from the mentors.”
During the course, the students will be immersed in all aspects of the music business, musical performance, song writing, promotion, and recording, among other aspects of making a career in music, all from top industry insiders including INXS’s Andrew Farriss, Troy and Jem Cassar-Daley, Kasey Chambers, Mike Carr, Catherine Britt, The Buckleys, Melody Moko, Allan Caswell, and Aleyce Simmonds.
Musicians are travelling from as far away as the Northern Territory, Queensland, Victoria and throughout New South Wales to attend the CMAA Academy of Country Music course.
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