Wednesday, August 22, 2012

No Shoes, Just Tales

As he opened up the boxes of CDs like an excited child on Christmas, Josh Lovegrove stared at his EP ‘No Shoes, Just Tales’, with an overwhelming amount of accomplishment and pride running through his system.

The Gold Coast musician explained that this day was the benchmark to the start of his career; everything else was just a lead up in preparation of that moment.

Josh’s trademark no-shoes-on-stage appearance began two years ago, during his first experience at the Woodford Folk Festival, the year they nicknamed it ‘Mudford’. His shoes were ruined within the first three hours of the festivities and he ended up barefoot for the rest of the week.
“I did all of my shows during the week that way and it became an identifier,” told Josh. 
“It also made me feel a lot more comfortable onstage and in the studio, so it just kind of stuck with me”.
With EP in hand, Josh was ready for his first tour, where he and three other local acts ventured through the Australian Western Downs. Josh, Simon Thomas, Jaya and a duo Sally Anne and Georgia Rose, piled into a 12-seater mini bus with all their gear and hit the road.
Having done eight shows in 11 days, Josh admitted it was challenging, yet rewarding putting on the same, if not a better show, every single night.
“The best part of the tour was learning from each other and giving constructive feedback … we were all able to hone in on the skills we were lacking and improve”.
It takes a great amount of dedication to your music to finish your show at 10PM and get back on the road for the next few hours… only to do it all over again the next day.
When you’re cutting it so fine for time though, the last thing you want is to get lost… something these musicians learnt the hard way.
“We drove 2 hours in the wrong direction, we only missed one left turn! We had to turn around and go back to where we started!” told Josh.
“There was no GPS or reception, so we had to use an old-school map”. 
Of all the rural towns they played at, Josh’s favourite experience was in Cunnamulla, where they spent the whole day playing on the main street through a portable PA.
“About 30 kids ran down really excited and asking us lots of questions about our equipment,” explained Josh.
“By the time we came to playing our show, we felt at home… the people there really listened and shared the music with us, I feel like they knew us better by the time we’d finished playing”.
Josh, Simon and Jaya are already planning their next tour, this time traveling down the Eastern Coastline, all the way to Melbourne.
“We want to do as many smaller places along way as we can, but the big cities are also a must,” told Josh.
The fact that about 30 community radio stations down the East Coast have picked up Josh’s music and are currently airing it, is all the more reason for him to venture on down.
“It seemed like the next logical step for me,” told Josh.
Josh’s passion for music has always been ingrained within him, starting as a classical musician playing flute and piano. He found his true colours, however, after picking up the guitar and from then on, has grown into an intrinsic storyteller.
“I took all the skills I had from my classical training and put them into everything else,” told Josh.
“Things started to take off after a couple of years doing free gigs… I was always that annoying guy playing everywhere!” told Josh.
“I started to get calls for gigs and people were wanting specifically me to do shows, from then on, it got busy!”
“I’ve now compiled all of my music gear together and am fully independent… I’m prepared for any type of performance at any time”.
As much as Josh loves listening to new artists and is always inspired by new things, the biggest driving force for him is his own personal progression.
“My success up to this day is inspiration and motivation for the future; it’s my own development that is keeping me improving and growing,” told Josh.
One particular artist that Josh does idolise, however, is John Mayer.
“I recently went to his concert and that was huge for me. He’s a big inspiration, purely because his finesse”.
Above all else, Josh’s main desire for the tour was to connect with his songs and his audience on a deep emotional level.
“I left one of the shows feeling like I had really changed people’s lives with my music,” told Josh.
“They were right there with me, it was so nice.”
Music and performance have always and will always be an essential part of Josh’s life.
“For me this isn’t about going until I’m ready to stop, I just want to keep on doing it,” explained Josh.
“In five years I would love to connect with people on a massive scale internationally, staying true to myself and spreading the love…grove”.

As he looked out into the crowd of swollen eyes and wet faces, Josh sung the final chorus of Strong Arms, a song he wrote about his nurturing mother. He knew straight away that he’d look back on this moment as the highlight of his career so far.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

If the night is dark

Well I'm trying to decide,
Should I run should I hide,
Show them tricks and be tamed?

Yeah it's true that I've changed,
But I'm also the same,
I'm just playing their game


Monday, August 6, 2012

Seeing Beauty Differently


NINETEEN year old Gold Coaster Nicole Gibson talks to Stephanie Pickett about winning this year’s Young Social Pioneer of the year award and her emotional journey as founder and CEO of the Rogue and Rouge Foundation.

What is the Rogue and Rouge Foundation?
The Rogue and Rouge Foundation is a necessitous circumstances fund that aids individuals through the recovery process of mental illness, however also strives to reach out to the wider community to help them question the way in which beauty is perceived. I started it as a fashion label and it still is one, the only thing that has changed is I now donate all proceeds to the charity and use fashion as a way to raise funds.

Why did you choose this concept for your foundation?
It touches me personally; I was hospitalized for anorexia and almost lost my life. It’s a viscous cycle and I was lucky to break it like did. When got better I realised how much of a waste it was, you look at the stats… the girls that have these problems are so talented and driven. I wanted to take the initiative to start a preventative campaign that gets people really listening.

Did you find it hard to combine fashion and health?
I started doing fashion at QUT, but was really passionate about helping people with what I went through, which was so prevalent in fashion, so it was a bit of a contradiction. I interned for a semester with a designer in Brisbane and I told her that I was really split between health and fashion; I loved both! She said that I’d never be able to combine the two; I disagreed so I quit my internship and left QUT.

How did Rogue & Rouge come together?
I won Sun Super Dreams For a Better World and got given a grant to start my business. You had to put an application together of your dream for a better world and a business model that would make it happen. My idea was to create a fashion label that would help promote healthy body image and I did everything in my power to make sure I won.

Where did you go from there?
I started the My Dreams Campaign, where I had people summarise in one sentence what their dream is for a better world, then get people on social media to like it. The top ten dreams got printed on a Rogue & Rouge tee and proceeds from that went to the charity. The charity’s main function with the finance is to pay for the recovery process of individuals that are going through eating disorders or mental illness.

What was it like to win this year’s Young Social Pioneer of the year award?
Winning the Young Social Pioneer (YSP) of the year award is an incredible opportunity for me; I can now be a voice for youth. It’s also an amazing avenue to collaborate with past YSP award winners and others working alongside them. It’s a fantastic initiative and one day will have really strong alumni. What this is doing for my foundation is invaluable; we’ve got so much more credibility!

Was this the highlight of your career so far?
Honestly, the time I felt most rewarded was when I gave a speech a few months ago about my experiences, what I have achieved since and why it’s important for people to speak up about mental illness. Two girls approached me afterwards, they both suffered from anorexia. Since I spoke to them, they’ve begun treatment and are recovering. This was the first time felt like I was really making a difference on a personal level.

What inspires and influences you?
It was a really emotional journey for me to actually become the head of my organisation. I found it difficult working with kids currently going through the same problems I went through myself; I am really empathetic. It does however, give me the incentive to keep myself healthy and strong and be a good role model, that’s definitely a major drive to keep going.

What do you hope to achieve with the foundation?
We’ve almost finished building a new electronics program for the main campaign –‘Dollar-a-Deed’, which is marketed towards sponsoring school kids. The way it’s designed, teachers can partner with students, create deed lists and delegate them; it can be integrated really well into the classroom. The whole concept shows kids they can make a difference in the community, no matter how down on themselves they are. It gives them extra incentive to go above and beyond and teaches them about self worth.

Do you feel there is enough support out there for young entrepreneurs like yourself to succeed?
[For] young entrepreneurs, especially ones running social enterprises there’s not enough support from the government; the only way to get media is to collaborate with a bigger organisation. Arts communities and social enterprises need to start collaborating to do something really revolutionary. It’s just a matter of being dedicated and thinking outside the box.

Have you collaborated a lot along the way?
We are aligned now with The Eating Disorder Association, a longstanding national organisation. It gives us so much more credibility. They are an awareness charity; girls go to them and they refer those girls us. We can then help them with their recovery; it works really well!

What are your hopes for the future?
I’d love to be on Australian story. I have a lot of goals for the organisation, but for me personally, I want to make sure I keep a balance in life and stay true to the people I care about. I want to be an influential voice and a household name because if I can get people to listen to what I have to say, that’s when changes will be made. I want to one day be working internationally for the awareness of mental illness.

Do you have any advice for young Australians?
I want kids to know that you don’t have to adhere to certain rules to achieve. If you keep pushing you’ll achieve your goals; people don’t achieve because they quit. If you keep going you’ll get there. Stereotypes make no difference, because when you’re passionate about what you do, people really respond; you just have to believe in yourself!

For more information about Nicole’s cause and how you can help, visit:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Remember it all. Repeat and you'll fall.

An elephant symbolises strength, honor, stability and patience. I am none of these things and all of these things. With a trunk facing up you offer me long life, luck, the removal of obstacles, self-preservation, advice and wisdom. But overall, you help me to remember. The collection of miniature elephant statues was never a choice it just started to happen.

From all walks of life they remember, they trust, they love, they are powerful they are guiders. They are leaders and protectors. My life has been a journey, one hell of a journey. Each elephant is a memory, a small fragile piece of a time, a place, a moment that I can take with me and hold and feel. An imperishable moment in time and space that can never be tainted. At least not now. To remember and reflect is the only way to learn and to grow and to move on, or at least pretend to. When I look above my desk I remember England, I remember the cold, the dark, the wind, the fog. But most of all I remember Holly, the one who understands, the one I wish didn't live so far away. The one who really gets me and knows exactly how I tick.

On top of a dresser, a dresser I use everyday, I think of my family. If only we grew up together, if only I saw you more often, if only I wasn’t too afraid to take the plunge and move there like I planned to so many times before. If only I didn't love the sun, the beach, the friends, if only he wasn’t depressed.

I could never leave her, not with him like that, not with him so vulnerable, finally opening up and penetrable, finally courageous enough to admit a problem.

The elephants I buy will never reflect this memory, I will never hold one in my hand and think of this. In a few years time it will be like it never happened, like I never swore and was torn and fought for you. It will be over. And even for now, now I choose not to remember, now I choose not to symbolise a poor, weak, impatient aggravator who has become a piece of furniture. It’s like you don’t even exist. So you are not here, not in my room, I am not surrounded by a beloved memory of me and you, and neither is your predecessor.

On the sidelines, a place I often try and avoid, is a memory. A memory of love and lust and hate and fuck. It hit me hard when you came and even harder when you left, I wasn’t ready, I didn’t even know what it was like to feel these things. Then you returned. You returned with a gift. You returned with a gift of a memory. What did you want me to remember? The nights of gut-wrenching tears, the days of force-fed eating? Or the night, the night you came back and told me it wasn’t all for nothing, then you gave me a memory and then you left. Again. Having changed my mind, but not my heart. Again.
Little did you know, the gift itself came with a deeper message, a forged sign from someone watching over. A symbol that dispenses all my luck, telling me to never go back there, and I will never.

Next to a bed, a bed you’ve slept in hundreds of times before, a bed you sacrificed for me so I didn't sleep on the floor. I will remember one person, the person whom I left, shattered, with no reasonable explanation. Totally responsible. Next to a bed, is my one true, pure memory. Paris. The pastries, the music, the brunches, the macaroons, the theatre, the Eiffel… Paris. Where lovers make and true love is questioned. I felt what I did and it was true and it was bare but it wasn’t enough to overcome another feeling, another fear, another memory. Where a lock on a bridge with the date of a date will stay. Paris. It’s not often I feel it, it’s not often it’s bad, or it’s good. Most often it’s nothing. But when I hold my little memory of Paris I smile and hope you are happy and well and loved and I’m sorry.

Live the life you lust.