ALREADY a winner of talent quests and awards for songwriting and performance Angus Gill has only just turned 15 years of age.
At the Hastings Country Music Association’s (HCMA) Annual Country Music Roundup and Wauchope RSL Talent Quest in March last year, he was the junior highest point scorer.
This January he went one better by winning a prestigious songwriting competition at the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Then 14-year-old Angus, who lives in Wauchope, took out the trophy and $150 prize money as junior winner of the Tamworth Songwriting Association (TSA) for his song Names Upon The Wall.
The St Columba Anglican School student actually wrote the song at age 12 after an excursion to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
His song is an appreciation for the Anzacs whose names line the walls at the entrance to the memorial.
He submitted it after winning the Australian Children’s Music Foundation’s National Song Competition in 2011.
“I got $800 for myself and $500 for my school,” Angus says.
His mum was the driving force for him to enter the TSA but Angus had decided on another song entry.
“When the song I wanted to submit wouldn’t upload I entered it [Names Upon The Wall].
“I got a finalist spot and I thought that was really something as there were 2000 entries.”
Angus said he was “actually astounded” when he won, but was grateful for the $150 prize.
“I was sitting next to two 16-year-olds who had entered and I thought, ‘Gee, I was only 12 when I wrote that’.”
The TSA awards are up there with the Golden Guitars, as far as songwriting is concerned, with leading lights in the country music industry having taken out awards in the past.
Winning wasn’t the only major achievement of his young life during the country music festival.
He got to perform at the Bush Laureate Awards on the stage of the famous Tamworth Town Hall.
“Three thousand people go to the Bush Laureate Awards and I had never performed there before,” Angus says.
But the young man says he was “pretty confident” and just “didn’t want to forget the lyrics” to the song he was given to perform.
Australia’s country music royalty was there including Troy Cassar-Daley, patron of the awards and widow of Slim Dusty Joy McKean, Tamara Stewart, Amber Lawrence, Allan Caswell and other “head honchos of the industry”.
Another first for Angus was busking on Peel Street, where buskers apply to have a spot and are allocated where to set up.
“I got put between two girls doing boogie woogie and a guy with an amp playing music by The Shadows, so I didn’t last long,” Angus says.
The young man also has a regular 4pm until 6pm slot on community radio 2WayFM.
He started as a presenter on the school program during the holidays and got his training on air.
While in Tamworth he took the opportunity to interview Adam Harvey, among others, for the show.
He also appeared in the Australia Day Cavalcade Parade on a float with Amber Lawrence atop a Mac truck.
When Angus attended the Capital Country Music Association Junior Academy in Tamworth, in July last year, he was advised to run his songs past five people before he recorded them.
While there he met Jim Haynes, an Australian writer, entertainer, broadcaster, humorist, songwriter and historian, who offered to help him.
He has run his songs past him ever since.
The next adventure for the up-and-comer is recording an EP at Tamara Stewart’s Little Red Wagon studio in Sydney in June.
Angus has raised the $4450 needed to produce the EP which will feature four of his songs.
He could have produced it himself as he has his own home studio and recently recorded an EP for someone.
“I picked up the recording software and experimented with it.
“I spent a lot of money on stuff I didn’t really need because I bought a Mac [computer] and software interphase and learned how to run it via e-books and online,” the talented lad says.
His EP will be distributed by WJO Distribution to Sanity and iTunes and he hopes to have it out by September.
Meanwhile, he will continue to perform with the three bands he is in at St Columba, and will be one of the performers at the Flood and Fire Family Day fundraiser on the banks of the Camden Haven River behind the Laurieton United Services Club on Sunday from 10am.
Angus hopes to get a lot more work this year and will host the junior showcase at the HCMA Annual Country Music Roundup and RSL Talent Quest next month.