Billy Thorpe Scholarship Finalists

QMusic and Arts Queensland are thrilled to announce the four finalists for the 2017 Billy Thorpe Scholarship. Congratulations WAAX, Marville, Josh Stewart (The Ninjas / High Topics) and Ella Fence. The winner of the $10,000 prize will be annnounced at the Queensland Music Awards on March 27. Tickets are sale now via Brisbane Powerhouse.

Arts Queensland's annual Billy Thorpe Scholarship provides a structured range of support to establish a professional career through career planning and advice and the opportunity to record with an established producer.

The scholarship, named in honour of the late Billy Thorpe, a great Australian rock musician who passed away in February 2007, was designed to help develop the future of rock and roll. Billy Thorpe spent his formative years in Brisbane and made an enormous contribution to the Australian and global music industry over five decades of performing, writing and producing.

Previous winners include: Luke Daniel Peacock, AYLA. 2013 recipient Jeremy Neale said “The Billy Thorpe Scholarship has helped me push forward in my music career. The funding has allowed me to record songs to a standard competitive in both domestic and international markets and to upgrade the equipment I use for my live show. This combination has ensured that the music I am creating and the quality of its delivery is at an all-time high.”

QMusic extends huge congratulations to the four finalists for their outstanding achievement.

The winner of the 10K prize will be announced on 27 March 2017 at the Queensland Music Awards.

March 27 | Brisbane Powerhouse, New Farm
Featuring performances by: Cub Sport | Good Boy | Tia Gostelow | ROMY + more to be announced.
Tickets from $40 + bf


Known for their raucous live shows, WAAX released their most recent single ‘Same Same’ late last year. The accolades quickly followed – an instant add to rotation on triple j, rotation on Sydney’s FBi radio, and kudos from tastemaking blogs and new & longtime fans alike. Previous cut ‘This Everything‘ was the first single from their upcoming second EP, which promises a new direction for the band, and is to be released this year. WAAX are the national support for alt-rock behemoths Kingswood on their upcoming tour. 

Marville are a rock and roll two-piece from Brisbane, comprising Ash Kerley (Bottlecock) and Doug Palmer (New Jack Rubys). The duo released their debut album, Vayan Con Dios, in late 2013. The single from which, Outgrown, was voted #18 in that year's 4ZZZ Hot 100.  2015 saw the duo head to Melbourne to begin tracking their sophomore album, Terra Alpha (due mid 2016), with Joe Hammond (Milk! Records, Jen Cloher, Hello Satelites). The same year, the band’s single Fickle came in at #21 on 4ZZZ’s listener poll. "Those guitars are as crunchy as a mouthful of rocks being chewed up and gulped down with a flannelette chaser" - The Music 


JOSH STEWART (The Ninjas / High Tropics)
Friends Josh Stewart and Patrich Ferris formed The Ninjas in 2012 and released their debut EP in 2014, which saw success countrywide with support from national broadcaster triple J, as well as syncing their debut single “Yeah Yeah” with Ford Motor Corportation’s 2013-2014 Ford Ranger TV Commercial. Following this, the quartet continued to grow their reputation by winning the flattery/heart of British super model/actress Cara Delevingne with their single of the same title. As well as building a local cult following with supports of the Cribs, Sticky Fingers, & Wolfmother (to name a few). The Ninjas are best known for their 2016 single “Morphine” which debuted at number 16 on Billboard’s Spotify Viral US charts, as well as number 40 globally.


A Grant McLennan Fellowship 2015 Finalist with a musical theatre point of difference, Ella has the edge to offer an outstanding live show. She has a diverse background in theatre, performing a key role in a major production of Jesus Christ Superstar at The Arts Centre Gold Coast and cast as the lead character in Snow White, a collaboration between Opera Queensland, La Boite Theatre Company and Brisbane Festival (2016).

Ella self-funded songwriting projects have led her to performances in USA, Berlin, France, England (including Great Escape Festival), Canada (Canadian Music Week), and Norway, as well as an Australian tour. Ella record the first four tracks of her debut EP Wanderlust at the renowned Brighton Electric Studios (UK), home to the likes of artists such as The Cure and Royal Blood, with producer Dan Swift (Snow Patrol, Passenger). While over there she travelled to Paris to record the B-side track with Ken Stringfellow (REM, The Posies).

The Wanderlust EP also spiked interest in the Radio world, making the top 20 on New York’s Breakthru Radio and top 10 on 4ZZZ Brisbane. It was also added to community, college and independent radio stations in the USA with rotation on multiple radio stations across Australia – including triple j unearthed, 2ser, ABC Local, 4ZZZ, SYN and triple j.

On her latest trip and return to the UK she worked with Grammy Award Winner Terry Britten (who has written with Tina Turner, Cliff Richard Olivia Newton-John and Michael Jackson), Nick Coler (who has written with Girls Aloud, Sugababes and Gabriella Cilmi) and David Lowe (TV and Radio composer for BBC) and double Ivor Novello Winner Phil Pickett (of Boy George and the Culture Club fame). Her new single Dancer (scheduled for release in April) is a collaboration with APRA award winning songwriter/ producer: the audacious Vinnie LaDuce (Ash Grunwald, MT Warning, The Winnie Coopers). Together, they created a unique mix of cinematic-electro-pop and powerhouse vocals.



Published: 17 Feb 2017 by QMusic Newsdesk