The Young Black and Deadly Talent Development program provides industry training, mentoring, live performance experience and recording opportunities for talented young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. We’re going to be sharing profiles of our current 2016 YBD group of performers, beginning with this deadly country music artist from Western Sydney, Maddison Lyn Collier.
Tell us about yourself, who are you and where are you from?
My name is Maddison Lyn Collier. I’m 17 years-old and live in Western Sydney. My family comes from the Blue Mountains. I am from The Gundangurra and Darug Tribes.
I live with my Dad Brett and my Mum Donna, I also have five siblings. I have been singing country music since I was four years-old with the Camden Valley Country Music Club.
I had stopped when I was about eight and restarted singing again in 2012, and I’m now a junior member of the MacArthur Country Music Club.
Since returning to singing I have competed in many country music competitions. I have won Junior Overall in Macarthur, Forbes, and South Coast Country Music Talent Quest.
In November this year I won the A.C.T.S Australian Country Talent Seekers Quest in Parkes. I am the youngest person to win it and the 6th person from Macarthur to win.
What would be your favourite memory growing up?
When my school teacher Mr Clarke made sing at the school assembly in Tharawal language. I was so scared. I hadn’t performed in four years. Before I went on he told me that I can do it and all I had to do was believe. So I did sing the song and from that day onward my life began to change. I started to attend the MacArthur Country Music Club and started entering country music competitions all over New South Wales. I have also performed at many schools and Aboriginal events. I joined the Gondwana Choir and was selected to travel to Melbourne and Western Australia to sing in Aboriginal communities. Then I took a big leap and started competing in competitions again. After that I audition for Campbelltown Performing Arts High School and made it in for vocal. I now attend there and for the two years I have been there I have performed at numerous events. Just from that one choice I made I have achieved so much. I not only thank my teacher, but also my parents, my supporters, my mentors, my friends and my family.
When did you discover your passion for music?
I guess the passion came naturally. I love singing I love music, I love the beats behind the song, the lyrics crafted for the beats, the instruments, the singers, every little thing that makes the song what it is. I love the music.
If you could only listen to one artist for the rest of your life, who would it be?
Johnny Cash. I wouldn’t ever get sick of hearing his voice. I would have it on a continuous loop. So every moment of the day I can hear his voice. Not just his voice but the lyrics themselves that describe the feeling of what it was like to be him.
If you could collaborate with any musician past or present, who would it be and why?
Johnny Cash and Kasey Chambers are my biggest country music Idols. I have listened to their songs over and over again and know all their songs word for word. I believe that Kasey’s quirkiness and Cash’s soulfulness and my awesomeness we would make one hell of a trio.
Have you ever performed live in front of a crowd before? What was it like for you? And if not, what are you looking forward to the most about getting on stage?
I remember the first time I got up on the stage and competed in a competition. It was in 2013 at Bargo Sports Club for the MacArthur Country Music Competition. I had been practicing for weeks. When I first signed up I wrote down the song ‘Pony’ by Kasey Chambers, but I thought I was singing ‘Travelling Solider’ by the Dixie Chicks, so that was the only song that I was practicing. I didn’t know that once you send the form in that’s the song you had to sing. I was devastated, I wasn’t prepared. See the reason I didn’t want to sing ‘Pony’ was that I was afraid that I couldn’t hit the yodeling parts in the song, so I thought it was easier to stick with the Dixie Chicks. I was so upset but then five minutes before I had to go on stage I went outside to practice with my singing teacher and I hit the note! I was surprised at first that I could do it. But then I realised it was me all along who was doubting myself. When I got up on the stage to sing I gave it all I had. I could see the tears of joy rolling down my mother’s face from how proud she was of me for believing in myself. On that night they presented the awards to the winners and just after they finished the last junior section they announced the Junior Encouragement Award and I won! I was so shocked that I received the award, I wasn’t expecting it, and then I started to realise that all I had to do was believe and have faith in myself to achieve the impossible.
What does being involved in Young Black and Deadly program mean to you?
Being one step closer to making my dreams become a reality, this program gives me the skills and knowledge of what it’s like to work in the music industry. Being involved in this program I will meet many talented and qualified musicians who have worked with other artist and who have performed at events. Working with these musicians will give me pointers and directions on how to improve and how to achieve in what I believe. Plus it allows for me to get out there promoting what I do best, singing country music!
Who is a person who inspires you?
My Mother and Father. They’ve worked their wholes life’s to be where they are. Six beautiful kids who are all extraordinary and talented in their own way. My father works day and night to keep a roof over our heads, my mother is a full time teacher’s aide in special education who is also studying a degree in Primary School teaching to follow her dream. My parent make me believe that it doesn’t matter where you come from or who you are, what matters is how hard you work and if you believe in yourself you can do it. I have been competing since 2013 and every comp I go in, no matter what, my parents provided me with a new dress, cowgirl boots and belief and support to achieve. My parents are my idols.
You enter your time machine and go 10 years into the future. Where will you be? What will you have achieved?
By then I would have hoped to have sold millions or even billions of my albums, and have fans that are devoted to my music as much as I am. I hope to break the record for Best Country Album of the Year! I would love to have achieved my goals in Tamworth and Nashville. I hope by then I’m collaborating with talented people such as Kasey Chambers, Carrie Underwood, Kasey Musgrove, Miranda Lambert and Ed Sheeran – I love red haired boys!
What part of Young Black and Deadly are you most looking forward to?
All of it! I am a singer songwriter and I love that I have received this opportunity to showcase my talent to others. Meeting new people and making connections with other people within the industry is a huge bonus. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime that I’m going to grab with both hands and learn as much as I can from it. Getting out there and having people appreciate what I can do and showcase my talents as a singer songwriter. I hope from this experience I can share what I have learnt and become a role model within my community.