There are only quiet murmurings that can be heard across the ground floor as the artists and participants collectively go about their art making in Artful Dodgers Studios in Collingwood. In walks a young aboriginal man with an eager smile as he makes a direct line for the piano waiting across the room. Once seated, with great care and respect, he raises the lid of the piano exposing the keys of abundant musical opportunity. He strikes a chord and releases his abounding talent through the harmony of instrument and voice. What comes out of his being can only be described as a lifetimes enrichment from a man who has grown up on a plentiful musical diet of George Jones, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Elvis Presley and Stevie Wonder. As the musical starvation is relinquished it is not only a build up of creativity that is released but tears too. He is in his element.
Lawrence Austin Junior is a 22 year old Noongar and Gunditjmara man. As a singer songwriter born in WA, Lawrence came over to Melbourne to make it big. He writes songs about strength and the importance of being able to forgive and forget for his debut album due to be released later this year. Lawrence says he is doing it for ‘his people’; a diverse group, collectively those who connect with him culturally and musically.
This young man is looking towards the future, hoping that his experiences with hardship will assist him to mentor young musicians.
Lawrence’s family helped him by leading by example. He remembers sitting on his grandfather’s lap while he played country and western songs. Also the large gathering of family at Christmas where melody and music were the cohesive key as they sang and played by the ocean of Western Australia.
Even to this day Lawrence always gets ‘nan to give the ok on a song before I sing it’.
Lawrence is a regular attendee of Artful Dodgers Studios in Collingwood. It is here that his passion for music is expressed through the mentoring of Jesse Sullivan and Jesse Hooper (Killing Heidi, The Verses) in the music and recording studio on premises.
As with many attendees of these wonderful studios, Lawrence has experienced hardship and is trying to overcome his adversity through his music. But he does not stand alone in his battle, staff from the studios and also his family are supporting him along the way.
This has led him to be confident and true to himself, saying ‘there will be no lies in my music’. And the strength that he has obtained from his difficulties has opened up a enriched sense of self, proclaiming he creates music that says ‘stand outta my way’!
He is a deeply emotional young man with the insight that we need to ‘get rid of this heartache we all feel inside ourselves…through compassion and support’ which he believes can be found in music.
Lawrence is a truly talented young man who’s passion is infectious and his confident respectful attitude towards music and life are admirable.
However he is still humble and saves the most important message for his music, saying ‘when my words fail, I believe music speaks’.
Lawrence will be performing Friday 11th July at Federation Square at 1pm as a part of NAIDOC Week. Come along to support this rising star.
Click this link to hear one of Lawrence’s original songs ‘Oh My God’