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Helen Shanahan

Helen ShanahanPerth singer, Helen Shanahan, won 2013’s Telstra Road To Discovery and returns to perform, along with Timothy Nelson & The Infidels, at this year’s WA heat at the Fly By Night this Thursday, August 14. For more information, check telstra.com/trtd.

Describe your experience in last year’s Telstra Road To Discovery?

Last year’s experience with Telstra Road was one that I will never forget. I felt so lucky just getting into the program so I was just trying to take in as much as I could. I got to meet so many amazing people from all over Australia who I now have as my good friends and as a great new network. We had a very intense ‘boot camp’ in which we were given information about all aspects of the music industry, and to my excitement we had a songwriting workshop where we performed our songs for Josh Pyke, Andy Bull, Kim Churchill and Ella Hooper. It was really nerve-wracking but I learnt so much, and it was invaluable to hear their advice.

How has winning it advanced your career over the last 12 months?

Winning the competition has opened me up to a whole host of new opportunities. I have had the support of Mushroom Music and their creative director, Bill Page, who has been mentoring me and giving me advice on my songs. He has helped me get in contact with a fantastic producer Pip Norman (aka Countbounce) who will be producing my EP over in Melbourne next month. The support of both Telstra and Mushroom Music has been invaluable as it is very easy to feel like no one is listening sometimes! They assisted me with my grant application to get me over to Canadian Music Week earlier in the year, and their letters of support were a big reason for its success. Winning the competition has just given me more drive to put my music out there and now with these new networks I feel like I can play it to a larger audience.

Any advice for this year’s entrants?

I think the best piece of advice, is to just remain true to your sound and style as they are looking for someone unique and are not out to change you. They are looking for true artists with great songs, so if you stay true to that you can’t go wrong.

You’re off to Melbourne soon to record your next EP. What can you tell us about this forthcoming release?

I am indeed! This next release is going to be very interesting as we are working with Pip Norman – whose produced Dan Sultan, among many others – who is going to work on the overall ‘sound’ of the EP. I hope this EP will have more direction than my previous recordings, and I am excited and nervous to hear what it will sound like.

Then you’re off to Nashville. What’s happening there?

As part of the prize from winning Telstra Road To Discovery, I will be heading to Nashville in September to play at the Americana Festival. It will be a very surreal experience to be playing at iconic venues such as the Bluebird Café. I will be doing a day of recording in a studio over there with a Nashville producer, along with doing a co-writing session with songwriter Kim Richey. I can’t wait.

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