SongMakers Mentors 2016

Our mentors are chosen for their outstanding skills and credentials. This is the opportunity for students to collaborate with some of Australia’s best:

Anna LavertyAnna Laverty

Graduating in Sound from WAAPA, Anna moved to London and joined Miloco Studios, working under the guidance of multi-award winning producers Paul Epworth (Adele, Foster The People) and Ben Hillier (Blur, U2). Since returning to Australia she has been busy on projects for artists including Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Cut Copy, Paul Dempsey and New Gods’ critically acclaimed album ‘Beloved’. Q&A with Anna Laverty

Christian-Lo-RussoChristian Lo Russo

Former writer and member of pop outfit, Amy Meredith, Christian is now an in-demand writer and collaborator whose credits include 5SOS and Jarryd James. He runs an artist development initiative in Sydney called The Artist Studio.

ella-hooperElla Hooper

Ella Hooper is a singer, songwriter, and radio and TV host (including Spicks and Specks). She has a long history in rock, pop and alt country, fronting previous bands including APRA and ARIA-award winning, Killing Heidi and The Verses.  Her latest project is the independent release of what she says is her most personal and challenging work to date, the double EP Venom/New Magic. A concept package in the vein of Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, documenting the collapse and fallout from a relationship breakdown, it’s surprisingly upbeat, she says. “It’s string with shades of jangly 90s pop and feels warm, honest and witty.”

Georgi-KayGeorgi Kay

Starting out in WA with a slew of awards including as youngest-ever winner of WAM Song of the Year in 2010, Georgi went on to write and feature on the track In My Mind, in collaboration with Australian house music producers Feenixpawl and Ivan Gough. The Flo Rida  remix of the song was picked up by KIA Motors for their 2013 US advertising campaign. In My Mind won an ARIA award for ‘Best Dance Release’, an APRA Award for Best Dance Work of the Year in 2013 and a Grammy nomination – the same year Georgi won an APRA Professional Development Award. She wrote the theme music for the Netflix series ‘Residue’ and was nominated for a 2015 APRA Screen Music Award. She currently has a 6-track independent EP distributed worldwide by Parlophone.

Grant WindsorGrant Windsor

Grant won APRA’s inaugural Jazz Professional Development Awards in 2001 and has gone on since then to stun the world with his skills as a flautist, pianist, composer, arranger, conductor, and producer. His PDA win took him to New York, LA and then London, where he relocated for a decade.  ‘My early years in London were tough, but I wouldn’t take no for an answer. The most important thing is to put your craft first and the business later. Be original, have intent and you’ve a greater chance of breaking through. Know what you’re about. The dollars will follow,” he says.

Ilan KidronIlan Kidron

Ilan is an award-winning singer, songwriter and producer. As frontman of dance band, The Potbelleez, he co-wrote the group’s breakthrough, double platinum single, “Don’t Hold Back”. In addition to his work with the Potbelleez, he is an in-demand co-writer and producer, working with artists including Ricky Martin, Jessica Mauboy and Tina Arena.

JP-FungJP Fung

JP started out at Sydney’s renowned Big Jesus Burger (BJB) studios where the first three years of his career were spent cutting his teeth as an in-house engineer. Since then, his credits as a producer/writer read like a who’s who of Oz music: Silverchair, Jet, Birds Of Tokyo, Little Red, 360, Bluejuice, Josh Pyke, Art Vs Science, Washington, Last Dinosaurs & Reece Mastin all have his name in their liner notes. He’s also managed to jump behind the desk for new recordings by legendary Cold Chisel.  One of the new breed of writer/producers, JP’s songwriting collaborations include Audra Mae (Kelly Clarkson, Avicii), Don Walker (Cold Chisel) and Megan Washington.

Kav TemperleyKav Temperley

Kav is front-man and songwriter of double-platinum, multi ARIA award-winning band, Eskimo Joe, and a member of Basement Birds. ‘Black Fingernails, Red Wine’ was the Eskies’ iconic breakthrough song, bringing the band international recognition. “How Does It Feel” featured in a pivotal scene in Gossip Girl’s first season.


Improbably, DJ, singer, producer and triple j’s House Party hostKristy Lee Peters, (KLP), kicked off her career in music with a stint in 90s girl band Real Blondes, auditioning when she was just 13. “I just got to travel around and perform, meet people like Gwen Stefani, who at the time I was obsessed with. It was like living out a teenage dream.” Fast forward and Kristy now tours with the likes of Art Vs Science and has her own distinctive sound of layered vocal harmonies.

Lior Lior

Lior’s 2005 first album ‘Autumn Flow’ became one of the most successful independent debuts in Australian history. It earned a swag of accolades, including nominations for three Arias as well as Triple J’s Album of the Year. Several acclaimed studio albums followed, along with journeys into many new musical places including a stunning collaboration with classical composer, Nigel Westlake, on a song cycle for voice and orchestra, ‘Compassion’ and music for the ABC kids series, Giggle & Hoot, which landed him an APRA/AGSC screen music award. “I wish there had been a program like SongMakers when I was at high school!”.

Rai ThistlethwayteRai Thistlethwayte

Rai is a one of Australia’s most respected musical talents: a highly accomplished pianist, guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. As front-man of multi-platinum Aussie rock band Thirsty Merc, he has toured extensively and released a string of hits on to the Australian Music Charts. He tours North American and Australia with his solo show, Sun Rai.‘I know that in these classrooms there is the potential to uncover the next Australian superstar songwriter.’ 

Robert ConleyRobert Conley

Robert is one of Australia’s most in-demand songwriter/ producers. Early in his career, while working as assistant engineer on ‘KISS Alive III’ in LA, Robert so impressed Grammy award-winning producer, Walter Afanasieff, that he was hired on the spot. That set him on a path to work on artists including Destiny’s Child, Christina Aguilera, Carlos Santana and many more. Now living in Sydney, Robert has his own publishing company and record label Specific Music. “Seeing these kids accomplish SO much in 2 days is an absolute inspiration to me.”

Stu HunterStu Hunter

An award-winning musician, producer and composer, Stu has worked with some of the biggest names in music. He has collaborated with Katie Noonan in her band, The Captains, and his playing can be heard on the albums of countless artists including Passenger, Silverchair and Jackie Orszaczky. Producer credits include Sarah McLeod and soul singer, Tina Harrod.

Tom BusbyTom Busby

Award-winning singer/songwriter Tom Busby is one half of Blues/Roots outfit, Busby Marou. Turning his back on his old life as a lawyer, Tom penned songs for the band’s debut self-titled album in 2010, which won a Deadly Award. An APRA ‘Best Blues & Roots Album’ Award followed in 2011 and the single, Biding my Time made the Triple J Hottest 100 in that year, too. Busby Marou has toured, written and recorded in the US, Canada and Australia.

Meet the APRA AMCOS Ambassadors

“If only a program like this existed when I was in high school!”
Lior, mentor