In Focus: Moshtix & Music SA Scholarship Winner Ashlea Crane

Written by Nicole Sternagel on 6th December, 2019
In Focus: Moshtix & Music SA Scholarship Winner Ashlea Crane

Photo: Music SA's Cert IV class visiting Lion Arts Factory

This year, Moshtix has again partnered with Music SA to create a scholarship, funding a female in SA to get her Cert IV in Music Business. Our recipient this year is Ashlea Crane (pictured just under the Lion Arts Factory sign) - and we've enjoyed getting to know her throughout the year. We checked in recently to see how the scholarship is going and what her plans for the future are (plus get her thoughts on the state of the industry & some tips for future students!)...

How has the scholarship been going? What have been the standout projects and learnings?

The scholarship has been absolutely fantastic. There have been so many experiences that I've had this year that wouldn't have happened for a few years without the help of Moshtix.

The thing that has stood out the most would be the collaboration between class members, both on assignments and projects outside of class. It has been incredibly invaluable growing as a member of the music community alongside some incredible artists and industry members.

What are you hoping to do once the scholarship is completed?

Take a break for a month. This year has been insanely busy with assignments and industry work that I am looking forward to taking some time out for myself. I've been working with two local bands in the past couple of months in a management role, so am looking forward to growing more as an artist manager. I'm also excited to build on professional relationships that I have fostered this year to continue to work to my strengths.

As part of the scholarship, this year you got to head along to the biggest event on the music industry's calendar - Bigsound. What were the key takeaways you got from it? Do you have any recommendations for other industry students thinking of heading along next year?

One of the biggest takeaways from BigSound would be to pace yourself and don't burn out quickly from taking on too much and not taking care of yourself. There is so much you can get out of BigSound that if you try to get everything out of it, all in the same week, you will end up crashing out in your room after the first couple of days.

BigSound made me realise that by doing the course, having the scholarship, and getting out into the music community on a regular basis, that I am primed for a great career within the music industry. BigSound solidified everything that I have been learning throughout this year, as well as building on the skills that I've acquired over the years being in music.

Make sure that you have a game plan for BigSound. I went in with a plan of going to certain events, workshops and gigs, then left plenty of time for spontaneous plans. I also made sure that I set up meetings with key people that I wanted to speak to and gain insight from. The most valuable thing that I went into BigSound with was a message thread with members of the Laundry Echo group in it. That message thread was a lifeline during BigSound because it meant that if I didn't know something about the area, I could just go to that thread and ask questions.

I made a lot of new friends and connections with people within the industry while I was at BigSound, and most of them were from Adelaide. Building relationships with people that you know you're going to work with is quite important.

You also got to head along to South Australia's Indie-Con - how did you find that? What was one stand out for you?

The biggest standouts at Indie Con were the Spotify and Youtube Artist workshops. I thought I knew a lot about both of these platforms, but was surprised to learn that both platforms do a lot more than I initially realised. Working with artists, the information that I learnt during these workshops has helped greatly.

The AIR Awards was definitely a highlight. I got to know the guys from Moshtix a bit better and also celebrate Australian Independent music.

Do you feel the industry is heading in the right direction when it comes to diversity, equality, and workplace health and safety?

I think that the music industry is definitely moving in the right direction, but probably not as fast as it needs to be. We're seeing more diversity on line ups, better quotas being put in place for radio play, progressively safer working environments and the introduction of better mental health resources and services, but I do think that more could be done. Change definitely takes time. As for equality within genders, there is still quite a large confidence gap between males and non-males in all areas within the music industry. Having spaces where non-males can refine their skills and craft is definitely valuable to the wider community. This looks like: non-male intakes for volunteers and workers at community radio stations; Girls Rock! Camps; non-male DJ workshops; scholarships (such as the one I received from Moshtix) for females to study music business; etc.

I also believe that when having children when you're either a female artist or industry worker is seen as more "normal", accepted and championed, and encouraged to keep working within the industry, then we will see more females being able to work more autonomously within the music industry.

You run the website Art & Mental Health AU - what inspired you to start it, and what are your plans for it moving forward?

I was a youth ambassador for ReachOut for almost 3 years before I aged out. I loved being able to make positive change within the mental health sector. After I aged out, I thought, "What next?"

I created Art and Mental Health AU to minimise mental health stigma in the arts & creative industries and provide a safe space for those in the arts and creative industries to share their stories and personal experiences. My aim is to open and maintain a dialogue with people within these industries in the hopes that they feel heard and validated.

One of the biggest driving forces to create the platform was my own mental health and the mental health of many of my friends and family within these industries. At times I found it hard to access all the information that I needed with ease. Because I am multi-disciplined, as well as being a mother, there are many different resources that I need to access in order to holistically manage what I'm experiencing. After chatting to friends and family, and discovering that it was quite common to feel overwhelmed by the amount of googling one has to do, I decided that having everything in one place would be of benefit to more than just myself.

My plans moving forward are to expand the platform to include stories outside of the music industry and streamline the interview process so that it doesn't take as much work. I'd also love to create a team around Art and Mental Health AU so that I am no longer the sole contributor to the site and social media pages. There's been a lot of positive feedback and interest with the site, so I'm excited to finally host an Art and Mental Health AU event next year and hopefully register as a not-for-profit.

Who do you look up to in the music industry (whether it's an artist or a promoter or industry exec, etc) that you feel is really nailing it and representing females in music?

One of my favourite artists is Nai Palm of Hiatus Kaiyote. She has loads of tattoos and piercings, and creates amazing, soulful music. She is a massive badass and advocates for just being unapologetically yourself.

But without a doubt, my North Star this year has definitely been Kim Roberts. She encompasses everything about the type of person I'd like to be within the music industry. Not only is she in a couple of Adelaide bands, including Last Days of Kali and her newest band, Placement, she is also a fellow Three D Radio broadcaster, and lecturer and head of training at Music SA. I've sought advice from her in absolutely every aspect of my life in the past year and a half, and she has been instrumental in a lot of personal and professional growth this year. She continues to push herself, her students, and everyone she meets within the industry to grow within the music industry and beyond. She has become a highly valued friend and fellow industry member.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years' time?

Most likely still doing a lot of what I'm doing now. Expanding Art and Mental Health AU to have its own team of people so that we can interview more people and share more stories. Managing local artists and nurturing young and upcoming females in the music industry. Would love to be more involved with the Girls Rock! Adelaide crew. I'll also probably still be a broadcaster at Three D Radio. Sharing Australian music that I love has always been a passion of mine.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given in these last 12 months as part of the scholarship?

Simplify. When I started my scholarship, I was doing so many different things in ways that weren't really streamlined or simple. For example, I would interview and record someone for Art and Mental Health AU, then transcribe an hour interview into words and write an article. I've since started recording interviews in high quality so that the interviews can be cut down to 20 minutes with ease and posted straight to the site.

Also - ask lots of questions. I asked A LOT of questions this year. If you aren't sure about something, anything, ask questions. The short-term discomfort can save you having to re-do work, annoy people you work with, or could also save you loads of money (in lawsuits).