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International singer-songwriter inspires UCOL students in NZ Music Month

By UCOL on Friday, 10 May 2019

A photograph of international singer-songwriter speaking at UCOL in Palmerston North.

Award-winning Indie-Folk singer and songwriter Mel Parsons led a discussion on the future of music with UCOL music students yesterday.

Having returned from touring Canada, USA and Germany, Mel was in Palmerston North to open for The Proclaimers at The Regent on Broadway.

UCOL Music Programme Leader, Kane Parsons, said it was fantastic to have Mel meet with our New Zealand Certificate in Music and New Zealand Diploma in Creativity (Music) at UCOL.

“Mel has come from small-town New Zealand and moved onto the world stage. It is a great way to promote how kiwis can make their passions a career and the reality of the work that goes into that.”

The students had an informal meet and greet with the singer to discuss the future of the music industry in New Zealand and internationally and how to make your mark on the world as an artist. 

“When I first started, I had no idea what I was doing, said Mel. “One thing I discovered, is that if you want something, you have to make a start in that direction. Work hard, put money into the things that count such as a publicist, make your own work through tours with a quirk. It’s easy to get stuck in a mentality of thinking we don’t deserve to self-promote. Accept that you are good, and your work is good and put in the hard work.”

Mel Parsons had lots of pearls of wisdom to offer up to budding young performers on subjects from Spotify insights to how to DIY an international tour.

“You have to think of yourself as a business, be your own record label; your own brand. It’s important to use tools such as social media to your advantage when marketing, and to work at making your own gigs happen. You may be a poor artist for a while, but if this is what you love, then it’s worth it.  After a while, you will find you have a sustainable career doing what you love.”

“It’s hard, and you’ll get plenty of “No’s”, probably 50 “No’s” for every “Yes”, but you have to keep going. Know your market; know where you fit and have some confidence in yourself.”

Mr Parsons said the students were enthusiastic about the value of this session.

“Many of them are already producing their own content and share it across various music streaming platforms,” he said. “Watch this space for some more kiwi talent hitting not only our stage but the international stage too.”