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MEET: Calan Mai

It’s time to get yourself acquainted with Industry Connecter Calan Mai. His bright and soaring folk-pop melodies are decorated with notes of wry humour and musings on life most anyone can find something in to relate to.

He’s been taking his music around the world with slots at SXSW, Music Matters and a career highlight supporting American rockers Band of Horses.

We spoke with Calan Mai to find out more on how his management and PR relationships came to fruition, career highlights, and how Industry Connect is proving valuable to him.

Tell us about yourself. Where are you from, how'd you got into music, how long have you been performing?

My name is Jordan Lawrence and I’m from the Gold Coast. I have been making music as Calan Mai for about 6 years but performing for much longer than that! I got into music through my best friend JB who started teaching me guitar when we were 13. An obsession with Blink 182 ignited my fascination with music initially but discovering songwriters like Bob Dylan and Paul Simon is what really led me to writing my own material.

You've been travelling around the world for the last few years, what brings you back to the Gold Coast?

My UK visa expired and I had to return home. It’s been interesting coming back to the Gold Coast. I have a newfound appreciation for this paradise I was lucky enough to be born and bred into. Working with local producers like Brad Hosking has been wonderful. This place is full of talent and I’m glad the world is starting to take notice.

I think it’s easy to assume you’re done learning. But there’s always so much more you can do to further your abilities, increase your understanding of the industry and, above all, meet people who can teach you something about your own situation.

CALAN MAI
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You're currently signed to Hardland Management who also manage Beth Ditto and working with Big Hassle PR (Alt j, Jose Gonzalez, The Kinks). How did those relationships come about?

Through a very long and complicated tangle of events! In short, I was lucky enough to be noticed by my manager Tara Perkins back in 2014, with the release of my first single. The signing didn’t happen until 2017 though. That’s just the nature of the music industry—you have to be very, very patient. Big Hassle came through shortly after that, and I’m now working exclusively with my publicist Jillian, who has since left BH to focus on her own catalogue of artists.

You've played SXSW, CMJ, Music Matters, supported Band of Horses just to name a few things you've done over the past few years... What's been your most exciting moment as an artist?

That’s hard to say. Band of Horses was a wonderful achievement, but like all very exciting opportunities, I probably didn’t enjoy the moment as much as I should have! Travelling to the US in 2018 to perform at SXSW and record with producers in LA was very special to me. I got to stand in a garage with David Greenbaum and write/record a demo with him on the spot. All the while his three Grammys were a metre away from me. That was unreal.

I think that whole trip was a cementing experience. Since then I’ve never felt surer that a career in music is what I was built for.

Why did you decide to come along to Industry Connect?

I think it’s easy to assume you’re done learning. But there’s always so much more you can do to further your abilities, increase your understanding of the industry and, above all, meet people who can teach you something about your own situation. I just I wanted to create connections with other musicians in a similar boat to me and hopefully learn something along the way. ‘Starting From Zero’ was a great introduction!

It’s really wonderful that QMusic puts on these sorts of events. There’s so much knowledge to be acquired and I’m very excited to meet more people and continue expanding my understanding of the local music industry.

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QMusic’s Industry Connect workshops are designed for artists just like you who are wanting to better understand and navigate the industry. The workshops put artists directly in touch with facilitators who are living a breathing music every day and offer years of knowledge not readily available. 

And it’s free.

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