This article appeared in The Weekend Australian. We’re glad you decided to be a part of the Music Industry College community too Thelma.
THELMA Plum is proud of her Aboriginal roots, something she hopes will be reflected in her songs as she embarks on a music career.
The 17-year-old from Brisbane has made a good start. This month she won Triple J’s National Indigenous Music Awards competition, which entitles her to perform at the annual awards in Darwin next month.
Plum earned further recognition as an indigenous performer when she was nominated this week for most promising new artist in music at the Deadly Awards, to be held in September. All of this Plum has achieved without officially releasing any music and only months after leaving school.
“This is what I want to do with my life,” Plum said yesterday.
The singer’s musical influences are as varied as her family background. Plum’s father is Aboriginal, while her mother is a white Australian. The couple are no longer together and her adopted father is Brazilian.
All of these cultures have influenced Plum’s music, as have artists such as Paul Kelly, Kev Carmody and Marianne Faithfull.
“I look up to Paul Kelly and the way he reflects Australian culture without pushing it on people too much,” said Plum. “That’s something I hope to do too.”
Plum spent Years 11 and 12 of her schooling at Brisbane’s Music Industry College, study that she hopes will equip her for a long-term music career.
“I received a lot of encouragement there and if it wasn’t for that I’d probably be doing something totally different,” she said.
Although she has spent her teenage years in Brisbane, the younger Plum was introduced to music by her grandfather while growing up on her grandparents’ farm in the small town of Delungra in NSW.
And, while she is being recognised as an indigenous artist, she says her music isn’t confined to that culture.
“I do want my indigenous culture to shine through . . . that’s very important to me . . . but sometimes it’s good not to be placed in one box,” she said. “I write more about personal things.”
Some of Plum’s performances can be viewed or listened to online, but her first official release will be an EP later this year.
Before that she has her first trip to Darwin to look forward to. Plum will join established acts such as Troy Cassar-Daley, the Medics and Warren H. Williams on the NIMA bill on August 11.
“It’s going to be very exciting,” Plum said.