Meet the artists involved in the current show.
Touted by many as the new ‘Queen of Aussie Rock’, Nicole Hawkins, frontwoman and singer-songwriter of GRANDHOUR (who were recently crowned ‘Australian Independent Rock Artist of the year’), will captivate you with her emotive vocals. A blend of sensitivity, storytelling, power and raw emotion makes Nicole a vocalist who demands the attention of her audience.
As one of the country’s most talented emerging songwriters, there is a refreshing honesty in Nicole’s emotionally thoughtful lyrics, whether written from a place of heartbreak or hope. Nicole’s influences stem from artists such as Carole King, Jeff Buckley, Queen, Led Zepplin, INXS, Chris Cornell & U2 to name a few. Writing songs since the age of 12, at 18 she was selected as a winning songwriter for the International Year Of Tolerance National Songwriting Competition and her original song was included on a commercially released CD with the likes of Kate Cebrano & Died Pretty.
Nicole was immersed into the world of music at a young age with a father who is a Jazz musician. Her first instrument was piano, and although she began with the Suzuki ear training method and performed at the Sydney Opera House, Nicole didn’t continue with formal classical musical training, instead opting for guitar as her instrument of choice to accompany her songwriting; preferring the freedom of basic training and self-experimentation. Vocally, Nicole has worked with various teachers including David Jaanz and studied under Ken Taplin’s rock vocal method.
A born performer, Nicole has performed her original music in venues around Melbourne and supported the likes of Bic Runga, Shawn Mullins, Russel Morris, Dallas Crane, Karnavool, performed as backing vocalist with Christine Anu on National television and performed the Australian Anthem to a crowd of 35,000 people at the Drag Racing Nationals to a standing ovation. Although she loves recording in the studio, Nicole’s favourite place is on the stage performing – it is her happy place – whether performing on a large stage with a rock band or in an intimate solo or duo setting.
Nicole is currently recording the second album with her band GRANDHOUR and is working on a new duo project ‘DIAMOND & NIGHTHAWK’ which promises to display another side of Nicole’s songwriting and musical style.
What others have said:
“You can’t help thinking of some of the female legends of rock like Lita Ford or Pat Benatar when you hear Nicole sing”
- Black Velvet Magazine – UK
“[GRANDHOUR’S] sensational debut sits nicely alongside other female-fronted rock acts such as Halestorm, NR, RD & Benetar.”
– Mark Donnelly, Rocktopia
“Fabulous diverse vocals from Nicole Hawkins, a lady who has a set of pipes up there with the best of them.”
- Fireworks Magazine – UK
Vanessa is a violinist, composer and arranger based in Sydney, Australia.
Having composed scores for numerous short films, Vanessa applied to undertake studies at the Australian Film Television and Radio School in 2011. She completed the year with a Graduate Certificate in Screen Music and was shortlisted for the 2011 European Union Film Award. Vanessa’s diverse performing experience, including classical, rock, pop and world music, has influenced her compositional style. She likes to experiment with new sounds and textures to strike a balance between acoustic and synthesised instruments.
Vanessa started playing the violin at the age of 3, having won eisteddfods and scholarships including into secondary school and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where she studied with Associate Professor Goetz Richter.
Vanessa is a versatile performer in both classical and popular genres. As a soloist and/or part of an ensemble, she has recorded numerous albums, soundtracks and TVCs. These include productions for the Sydney Theatre Company, NIDA and the Sydney Film Festival, films Gabriel and Happy Feet 2, and the game Soul Calibur V. She has also performed at live and televised events for such artists as Leona Lewis, Goldfrapp and Lior. Vanessa also enjoys playing contemporary classical music, having premiered new works by up-and-coming Australian composers.
Vanessa is currently being mentored by Australian film composer Antony Partos (Animal Kingdom, The Slap) of Sonar Music, as part of the Screen Music Mentorship awarded to her in 2012 by Women In Film & TV NSW. She is the recipient of the 2012 Johnny Dennis Music Award for Best Instrumental Piece, awarded by the Australian Guild of Screen Composers.
Since 1997 Glenn has been a freelance musician performing in bands and duo’s and as a solo singer/guitarist. From 2000 through 2007 he was involved with the band, The Dead Abigails, as a songwriter, guitarist and vocalist touring both nationally and internationally. The band also recorded at such illustrious studios as 301 Sydney and Metropolis in Melbourne.
In 2007 he started the rock band, The Dog Line, in which he was the songwriter, guitarist and lead vocalist. He is also a founding member and musical director of funk/soul outfit, Mayfield.
Glenn has worked on Jersey Boys and is involved with the project, Bobby Fox and The Treatment. Bobby (played Frankie Valli in the Melbourne and Sydney seasons of Jersey Boys) and Glenn have been collaborating since early 2011 and recorded our debut EP over the past summer working alongside some of Sydney’s finest musicians: Marty Hailey (David Campbell, Smoke And Mirrors, Producer/Engineer @ Blackfoot Studios), Joe Accaria (David Campbell, Smoke And Mirrors, Tap Dogs, Human Nature), Nick Sinclair (Tina Arena), Tim Hartwig (Charlton Hill, The Voice Australia) and Michael Azzopardi (assistant musical director on Jersey Boys).
Mark Da Costa is a Sydney based singer/song writer. You may have seen him on Australian Idol in 2007 as a top 12 contestant or simply seen him lighting up the stage live at a local Sydney pub playing with his cover band “The Black List”. When he appeared on Australian Idol, he rocked the house with his renditions of Evie by Stevie Wright and Whole Lotta Love by Zepplin.
Mark Da Costa is now well on the way to establishing himself as an original solo rock/pop artist. He wants to prove that it is possible to manage your own career and release a quality record without the help of a major label. Not wanting to discredit the great work the majors do, but to simply achieve a career in music on his own hard work and artistic integrity would be the ultimate goal.
Mark is an unbelievable vocal powerhouse and demonstrates his love of the Rock genre in every performance he gives.
Lozz has played and toured with well-established Sydney acts including Urthboy, Pat Capocci, The Drey Rollan Band, Drummer Queens, The JHD Revival Band, Sirens Big Band and Rackett. Lozz is well known and respected in the Sydney music scene as “That Red Head”. Her old school style rockabilly trio blends blues and country together with a dash of punk attitude. Lozz will be joining the team for percussion duties.
“Sounds like Janis Joplin & Angus Young had a baby and baptised it in Bourbon”. – Rolling Stone
Dallas is the namesake front woman of the three-piece, award-winning Australian rock outfit, Dallas Frasca. A stand-out of her class and an almighty presence on the mic. Frasca has not stopped for over a decade. She’s toured the world, clocking over 900 shows with her band including 9 international tours and has managed to pop a Top 30 Australian ARIA charting album under her belt, a #10 Aus album as well as many awards including ‘Artist of the year’ at the Independent Music Awards. Her song, ‘All My Love’ finished 3rd in the International Songwriting Competition (ISC – over 16,000 entries) which landed her band to sign with Verycords in France. ‘All My Love’ also reached the #10 charts in the Czech Rep when re-recorded & released by 18yr old Lenny (Sony). In Melbourne, Dallas runs her own independent record label, Spank Betty Records and has supported the likes of Ugly Kid Joe, Patti Smith, Aerosmith & Van Halen and even been endorsed by ‘Slash’ himself; ‘Great vocals, riffs & grooves’. Dallas has also fronted legendary Aussie rock band Midnight Oil in support of Amnesty International.
Charlotte first started playing the cello after her move from New Zealand to Sydney as a young child. Her studies at the Conservatorium of Music Sydney were followed by postgraduate study in Moscow and the UK. In 2005 Charlotte was selected to be one of the first ‘ACO Emerging Artists’ and was a fellow with the orchestra and member of ACO2 for two years. In 2008 her string quartet held an artistic residency at the Banff Arts Centre in Canada where they worked closely with the Schoenberg Quartet. Tours and performances worldwide have taken Charlotte to the UK, Canada, America, Germany, Russia, France, Italy, Finland, Estonia and New Zealand.
Within Australia Charlotte has performed regularly with the Melbourne and Tasmanian Orchestras and performed for audiences including Princess Diana, Prince Charles, and the last three Prime Ministers of Australia. Charlotte and her quartet currently tour, collaborate and perform with Lior and Boy & Bear. She has also shared the stage and recording studio with a wide range of artists including Richard Tognetti, Steven Isserlis, Kolja Blacher, Caroline Almonte, Helen Grimaud, William Barton, Andre Rieu, The Beatnix, Sarah Blasko, John Farnham, Joseph Towadros, Tim Freedman, James Morrison, Marcia Hines, John Paul Young, John Farnham, Jessica Mauboy, Jess Chalker, Ball Park Music, Passenger, and Angus & Julia Stone. When Charlotte isn’t playing on stage she can be found watching/dancing at Coachella or Splendour in the Grass.
Rachel Thompson, violinist and violist, has worked in symphony and opera orchestras in New Zealand, Australia and the United States. Since moving to Sydney in 2009 her performance experience has expanded to the rock arena.
CCEntertainment performances that she has been a part of in Sydney include, ‘A Day in the Life’ (The Beatles), ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and ‘Storyline’. Rachel is as comfortable playing in a string backing group for the British band UNKLE, as she is, playing in the pit of the Capitol Theatre for the Paris Opera Ballet Orchestra.
Rachel was trained in the USA. She spent four years in Philadelphia and a post graduate year at the University of Bloomington, Indiana. Rachel was invited to play with a group of string players selected from the prestigious music conservatories of the East Coast USA, who performed at a Christmas concert at Carnegie Hall. As the winner of the New Zealand National Concerto Competition, she performed the Bartok Viola Concerto with the Christchurch Symphony. Rachel has played alongside international artists such as Andrea Bocelli, Kiri Te Kanawa and Diana Krall, as well as a line up of Kiwi talent that includes Anika Moa, Bic Runga, Dave Dobbyn, John Rowles, Shapeshifter, Golden Horse and Fur Patrol.
One of Australia’s most highly sought after drummers with an extraordinary ability to cross every conceivable stylistic boundary, gordon brings a unique energy to any performance as both an exciting soloist and a very supportive team player, with a driving, natural feel.
Born in Sydney, 1968, Gordon started playing drums at age 13. Like many young musicians, his initial inspiration came from the raw rock of bands such as Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, however he quickly developed an interest and passion for an extremely broad range of music styles in particular, Jazz. He studied at the NSW Conservatorium of Music during which time he began playing in Mike Nock’s band and later joined The Don Burrows Quartet gaining amazing international touring and performing experience. Between his travel commitments, he quickly established himself as one of Sydney’s busiest freelance musicians performing everywhere from small clubs to studios and concert halls.
Since then, Gordon has worked with the cream of Australia’s Jazz, Pop, Rock, and Country artists and many international acts including, Lalo Schifrin, James Morrison, Bob Mintzer, Leo Sayer, Bob James, Tom Jones, Bob Florence, The Commodores, Bob Geldof, Barry Harris, Nat Adderley, Maria Schnieder, Lee Konitz, Suzie Quatro, Lionel Richie, Glenn Shorrock (from Little River Band), Tina Arena, The Sydney All Star Big Band, Roger Frampton, Bobby Shew, Anthony Warlow, Russell Watson, Rob McConnell, Don Rader, Dale Barlow, Eartha Kitt, Jimmy Barnes and many more.
Gordon spends a lot of time freelancing in various recording studios and can be heard on many movie soundtracks, albums, and television themes. he played five nights a week nationally on Tonight Live with Steve Vizard in the early 1990’s, and was the resident drummer for Australian Idol. He also recorded Anthony Callea’s ‘The Prayer’, which is the highest-ever selling single in Australia by a local artist.
New Zealand-born piano virtuoso and composer Charmaine Ford has blazed a trail of awards confirming she is indeed one of New Zealand’s most distinguished musicians. She has also released two self-penned jazz albums, showcasing her extraordinary talent.
Charmaine has played the piano professionally since her mid teens and has been composing since the age of six. At age 19, she was awarded a Travel Grant Scholarship from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) to study in London. There, Charmaine spent three months learning from two of England’s top jazz educators, Nikki Iles and Pete Churchill, while also taking lessons from one of the world’s leading classical pianists, (the late) Professor Yonty Soloman.
Ford has performed and toured extensively throughout Australasia and has appeared on New Zealand National Television several times including ‘Dancing with the Stars’. She has been invited to play at many of New Zealand’s international jazz festivals, as well as performing in concert with ‘The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’. In addition to her staggering list of achievements, Charmaine appears on numerous recordings covering a wide variety of genres.
Since moving from New Zealand to Sydney in 2008, Ford has rapidly become in demand as a performer, educator and session musician. “Nothing could have prepared me for this young pianist’s spell-binding virtuosity” BAY OF PLENTY TIMES, NZ
Prior to establishing CCE, Joseph founded and ran the Tuesday Nite Club at Sydney’s Iguana Bar, where he booked and showcased more than 400 original artists from 1997 to 2003. Since the 1990s he s also been an active professional musician, leading his own ensembles, Akradia and Jazz Nouveau, and collaborating with many notable artists and acts, including ARIA award winning New Zealand singer and songwriter Jenny Morris, and Australia’s Matt Finish, Jeff Duff and the Wayne Cornell Orchestra.
In 2012 Jazz Nouveau released Reminiscing which is a stunning collection of Little River Band songs with a soulful twist. Featuring five guest female vocalists including Emma Pask, Evelyn Duprai, Danielle Blakey, Anthea White and Anita Spring with proceeds from the sale of this CD going to Variety, the Children’s Charity.