The multi-year partnership will build on the existing Coles First Nations Pathway Programs which currently focus on sport.
This extension will now provide opportunities and education to aspiring Indigenous artists in musical fields. The program will provide young Indigenous talent with an “immersive” educational experience of the music industry, in addition to mentoring and future employment opportunities. Coles Radio will also expand its support of the Australian music industry with the mentors in the First Nations Pathway Program to host dedicated segments.
Mushroom Group Chief Executive Matt Gudinski says this partnership sees the Mushroom team draw on its wealth of knowledge from the music industry and create a program that will nurture and develop the next wave of many talented First Nations artists.
“Mushroom has been a long-time champion of First Nations artists, representing icons such as Archie Roach and Yothu Yindi,” he says. “Through this partnership, Mushroom and Coles establishes a platform that’s invaluable for evolving up and coming creatives.”
Coles Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Ronson says the retailer is excited to be working with the Mushroom Group to extend the First Nations Pathway Program to help young Indigenous musicians.
“We will support by sharing the stories and music of these talented musicians through our own network like Coles Radio and our instore magazines so we can raise more awareness of the talents of young artists,” she says.
“We have absolutely loved to see how the First Nations Pathway Program has developed the confidence, talent and life skills of young Indigenous athletes involved in AFL, AFLW and NRL and we’re thrilled that we can now expand this experience to include young musicians who have dreams of performing on stage and sharing their wonderful talents with the world.”
How the program will work
The program will feature an intensive four-day music masterclass with industry experts including Masterclass Facilitator and Cultural Advisor Scott Darlow, to help develop the aspiring artists and provide experience and insight into the music industry. Artist mentors will work with the artists throughout the year with a variety of one-on-one mentoring sessions.
Lead by Pathway Program mentors Emily Wurramara and Nooky, the program will facilitate participants from all around Australia, across a mix of musical genres, including pop, electro and rap.
Coles Ambassador and mentor for the AFL Coles First Nations Pathway program, Eddie Betts says he is thrilled to be involved in the First Pathway program to support the talented musicians.
“As a young kid, growing up in community, I faced many struggles to achieve my dream to become an AFL player,” he says.
“It taught me so much about family, resilience, strength and self-belief and I’m looking forward to passing on my own experiences to help these young musicians understand they can be anyone they want to be in this world if they believe in themselves and their talents.
“Whether performing on a stage or a football field, I am so proud to be an ambassador for Coles and support the Mushroom Group who are passionate about forming strong bonds and giving opportunities to our young people.”