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Introducing YouTube Music Sessions: Today’s music headliners with support from tomorrow’s

How many times have you been to a gig or festival and fallen in love with a new artist? I remember seeing Thandi Phoenix perform live right before she released her first EP last year -- it was soulful and captivating. Her song ‘Say It’ is full of energy and so catchy, it quickly became a favourite in our house. Seeing her on stage, and now being able to watch her career grow and more people discover her talent, is really special.

But 2020 has delivered the unexpected, with the entire music industry affected by COVID-19.

“The live music industry was probably one of the worst affected as a result of COVID-19. It’s been really horrible seeing all the tours and festivals cancelled and knowing that so many people have lost work for months on end.” -- Jessica Mauboy  

As music fans we feel the loss, as it has become harder for us to find our new favourite artists at gigs. But for emerging artists, cancelled support tours and festival appearances means they are missing out on essential exposure to new audiences as well as associations and endorsements from other more established artists, not to mention the financial impact too.

“Not being able to play live shows during these times has really impacted the ability for all artists to reach new audiences. As an emerging artist, live shows and support slots in particular are super integral in getting you in front of new audiences, new communities, cities and in developing a fanbase.” -- Emalia  

So we can all keep discovering new music and Australian artists can have a platform to connect with fans around the world, we are introducing YouTube Music Sessions, in partnership with ARIA -- a series of four exclusive online performances by leading Australian artists, supported by up and comers through virtual support slots this August.

Introducing YouTube Music Sessions

“We know it’s not easy, at the best of times, being a new artist on the scene trying to get your music out there so I think it’s such an important thing right now for the community to come together and help each other out.” -- Jack Gray  

Premiering live every Wednesday this August at 7pm, one headliner and one support act will perform for audiences around the world.

August 5 

Lime Cordiale supported by Mia Rodriguez 

Fresh from their #1 ARIA Album release, Oli and Louis are pumped to be able to share Mia’s sound with their fans: “We’ve been following her progress for a while and her vibe is mad. She works with the same producer as us so every now and then we get a little sneak peek at some of her upcoming music and it’s always so exciting.”

August 12 

Jessica Mauboy supported by Emalia 

Emalia is honoured to share a virtual stage with Jessica Mauboy: “Supporting Jess is pretty surreal to me. I was a big fan of her growing up and she is such an icon of the Australian music scene. To be able to play the YouTube Music Sessions with her, at a time when I believe sharing music to spread love and healing is vital, feels really special.”

August 19 

Paul Kelly supported by Eliott 

Eliott is trying to contain her excitement in singing alongside Paul Kelly: “Paul Kelly is such an incredible songwriter and performer, so authentic and raw. Which is something I always strive to be in my own music.”

August 26 

Vera Blue supported by Jack Gray 

Vera Blue can’t wait to see Jack’s career take off: “Jack Gray is an incredibly cool up and coming artist! I love his style and his voice is so unique. His songs have a semi electronic rock style with emotion and which reminds of surfy skate rock culture.”

Image showing headliners for YouTube Music Sessions

Each performance will stream on the headliner’s YouTube channel and will be playlisted on the YouTube Australia and New Zealand channel and the ARIA channel.

We couldn’t celebrate the music industry like this without the support of ARIA and are thrilled the team are partnering with us.

Dan Rosen, ARIA Chief Executive, said, “ARIA is thrilled to continue our partnership with YouTube and provide another platform for music fans around the world to engage with Australian artists. During these challenging times we have seen Australian audiences move to watch even more online performances, and our artists have done an amazing job in helping us stay connected in this difficult period. I can’t wait to hear some incredible new music from some of our established greats and to discover new music from emerging artists on these YouTube Music Sessions.”

YouTube Music Sessions is also proud to help Support Act, Australia’s only charity delivering crisis relief services to artists, crew and music workers. For anyone tuning in to the performances and that can, please click the link in the description to make a donation to Support Act and show your love for our Aussie music industry. YouTube will be kicking the effort off with a $50,000 donation.

Clive Miller, Support Act CEO, said, “The pandemic has created intense financial hardship for artists, crew and music workers. It has also created significant anxiety, depression, career concerns and other mental health related issues, resulting in a 60% increase in utilisation of the Support Act Wellbeing Helpline.

“We’ll be using donations from YouTube Music Sessions to support our 24/7 professional counselling helpline as well as COVID-19 crisis relief grants -- which provide financial support in the areas of rent/mortgage, food, utilities, medical equipment and other expenses.”

“It’s really great that the organisation Support Act is involved so that we can support not only our artists during this tough time, but the crew and teams involved in making shows and festivals come together are being supported too.” -- Vera Blue  

We can’t wait to watch these performances and hope you’ll join us at 7pm each Wednesday night in August. Paul Kelly summed it up perfectly -- this is the time for the entire music industry to support each other.

“Emerging artists and established artists support each other. It isn’t a one-way street. I like to put a bill together with other artists so that we complement each other. It’s a kind of curation. A synergy. I love introducing young artists I like to my audience. I want that audience to walk away with the sense that they’ve just witnessed something that will never happen again.” -- Paul Kelly