Q&A with singer/songwriter Tullara Connors
Twenty-three year old Australian singer/songwriter, Tullara Connors has quickly developed a reputation as one of the country’s brightest up and coming performers.
We chat with Tullara to find out how she kick-started her creative career with the Young Regional Artist Scholarship Program.
Why did you apply for the Young Regional Artist Scholarship (YRAS)?
As a young independent touring artist it’s hard to save the funds you need to be able to do the creative things you want to do. In my case, I was keen to travel to Ireland to learn tenor banjo, and be immersed in the traditional Irish music and culture. The YRAS offers you an opportunity to be able to do something you might not independently be able to afford, so why wouldn’t you apply!
What activities did you undertake as part of the Scholarship?
I undertook professional development mentorships in Ireland and Australia on the tenor banjo.
As the tenor banjo is traditionally an instrument played in Ireland, it’s not a very common instrument in Australia, especially when it comes to finding someone who can actually teach it! So in order to get a real grasp on the instrument I thought it best to travel to the country where it’s most common. During my trip to Ireland I undertook two weeks of intensive mentorships with some of Ireland’s most renowned players – John Carty, and Enda Scahill. Part of my scholarship also included a mentorship with Koady Chaisson (from Canada) while he was on tour in Australia.
What has receiving the scholarship meant for you as a regional artist?
The YRAS gave me the opportunity to be able to pursue my creative endeavours and progress musically and mentally. It gave me the chance to be able to travel overseas to learn and experience what I can’t here in Australia.
When you submitted your application, which aspects did you find difficult and how did you work through them?
Saying what you need to say in the small amount of space you’re given to say it. Basically you’re trying to convince people you’ve never met, that what you do is amazing and what you want to do is worth supporting! That can be a very hard thing to fit into a couple of pages of writing!
Basically, I put as much work and effort into my application as possible – I made videos, I asked people to write me letters of support, and I got my 2 tenor banjo teachers in Ireland (whom I’d never met) to confirm that they would be my mentors if I would be successful in my grant application.
Do you have any advice for potential applicants applying to the YRAS program?
Give yourself two months to do the application and do a little bit everyday (it’s not something you can leave until the last minute). The more work you put in, the more chance you have of receiving the scholarship.
Be creative with what you’re asking for – remember that you’re competing against many other talented young artists in NSW, so you want your application to stand out and be appealing to the people that will potentially support it.
What’s next for you and your career?
Touring, writing, and more touring! I’m an independent artist/musician, so I make my living by playing shows and festivals. Coming up next in June I’ve got a big tour which starts in my hometown of Grafton and goes all the way up to Port Douglas in North QLD, followed by a number of folk festivals in Northern NSW in July. Having released my debut EP in Nov 2016, I’m now currently working on the songs that I will be recording for my debut album later this year.
To find out more about the Young Regional Artist Scholarship, please click here.