Australasian performing rights organization APRA AMCOS opened a Nashville office in 2017. The 95,000-member strong organization supports Australian songwriters, composers and music publishers, in a similar capacity to rights organizations such as ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.
The launch of a Nashville office (located at workspace InDo Nashville) is timely, given that the influence of Australians on today’s country music is only deepening.
Aussie-bred, Nashville-based Morgan Evans, who signed with Warner Music Nashville in 2017, earned his first No. 1 single in the U.S. with “Kiss Somebody.”
For Evans, his involvement with APRA AMCOS provided several essential opportunities as he moved to Nashville and steadily built his career.
APRA AMCOS offers songwriter retreats, called Song Hubs; it was one of these retreats where Evans met songwriter-producer Chris DeStefano, who would become the co-producer and main co-writer for Evans’ debut album on Warner Music Nashville
In 2013, Evans also benefited from his association with APRA AMCOS via the organization’s Professional Development Awards, a funding support initiative that awarded Evans upward of $15,000 toward his first year spent pursuing his career in Nashville.
Fellow Aussie songwriter Lindsay Rimes earned a No. 1 hit as a co-writer on Kane Brown’s streaming juggernaut “Heaven.” Rimes, along with Morgan, are both co-writers on Dylan Scott’s single, “Hooked,” during another Song Hubs retreat. Australian duo Seaforth, including Mitchell Thompson and Tom Jordan, recently signed a deal with Sony Music Nashville.
Meanwhile, Kylie Sackley has earned cuts with Sam Hunt and co-wrote Walker Hayes’ single “You Broke Up With Me.”
Australia native Phil Barton earned his first No. 1 with Lee Brice’s “Woman Like You,” and was named Music Row’s Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year in 2012. He also penned songs for Dustin Lynch and LOCASH.
Mark Moffatt, a 22-year veteran of Nashville and APRA AMCOS’ Nashville artist relations representative, has been instrumental in helping Nashville newcomers get to know others in the Nashville community.
Moffatt estimates that in the past four years, he’s seen the number of Australia natives making their way to Nashville to be part of Music City’s creative community rise from 30 to 110 each year.
Moffatt says one reason for the uptick is simply the infrastructure of support and opportunity Nashville offers.
“There is no radio or real infrastructure for country music artists in Australia, but there is a lot of talent,” Moffatt tells MusicRow.
The commitment to working in Nashville demands both extraordinary time and travel; the distance from Nashville to one of Australia’s largest cities spans more than 9,000 miles.
There is also the disparity between how various genres of music are perceived.
“In Australia, Kasey Chambers can be pop, country and Americana Artist of the Year. It’s much harder to do something like that here. That’s one thing Australian artist have to decide when they come here—what kind of artist do you want to be?”
However, today’s artists are encouraged and emboldened by artists including CMA Entertainer of the Year winner Keith Urban, who has earned 21 No. 1 songs in his career.
Fellow Aussie triple-threat, singer/writer/guitarist Jedd Hughes launched his U.S. career as an artist on MCA Nashville, and later briefly as part of the duo Buxton Hughes with writer Sarah Buxton. He’s co-wrote Sarah Jarosz’s Grammy-winning “House Of Mercy,” as well as Urban’s hit “Put You In A Song.” Others, including Tommy Emmanuel, Joe Robinson, and the aforementioned Americana Music Association’s Vanguard Award winner Chambers have steadily added to the list.
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