There aren't too many young teenagers who rank Crowded House and Stevie Wonder among their greatest heroes. But for 13-year-old singer-songwriter Joe Visser, these iconic musicians have had a profound influence.
As the youngest member of the Young Coasties Project, it’s been a fast ride for Joe, who only started teaching himself guitar about 18 months ago.
"I had been taking piano lessons for five years and thought it would be cool if I could play another instrument,”Joe said.
Halfway through last year, Joe began writing his own songs, which he describes as ‘alternative folk’, inspired by what he sees, hears and feels.
"Often I start with a phrase that comes into my head and I quickly write that down," he said. "If I have access to a guitar, I use that to get a melody going and once I develop that, I work on my lyrics."
However, Joe was also keen to share his creative output with others and realised that, in order to do that, he had to perform his own music. So late last year, he stepped on the stage for the first time. "I was nervous at first but I was excited to share my music," says Joe, who now has three live performances under his belt, including a winning set at Shoalhaven Unearthed in April.
"Performing is really exhilarating. You get an adrenalin rush. It pumps you up.”
For the Young Coasties album, Joe wrote a song called Fear.
"It's about overcoming fear,” he explained. "In the song there is a personified version of fear and it's about how you have to stand up to him and fight him. It was great to learn more technical and processes that go with song writing by the Young Coasties mentors during the workshops"
His foray into the music industry has cemented his career ambitions. "I’d love to be a professional musician one day, but, right now, I just love writing songs and performing for people around me."
Joe Visser will appear in the Young Coasties Showcase on Sunday, May 14 at the Burradise Festival at Culburra Beach.
The Young Coasties Song Music Project was designed by local youth, musicians and industry mentors to support local young, aspiring musicians who live on the South Coast to write, develop, produce and record their own songs and music.
Over the past four months, participants ranging in age from 13 to 25 have received help, skills and guidance from experienced mentors, including Cam Little from The Vanns, Sivan and Todd Mayhew from The April Maze, Luke Robins, Marcus Adamson for Recording, Ross Portener, Gaye Adlington, John Maratore, Alex McNeilly, Allison Tait and others through a series of workshops and online – phone sessions.
The project culminates on Mother’s Day with the free Young Coasties Showcase performance, part of the Burradise Festival at Culburra Beach, and the release of the Young Coasties album, featuring one song from each of the 16 solo artist and bands who participated. You can grab your copy for new CD album on the day at the merchandise stand.
Find out more at youngcoasties.com.au or to purchase your free tickets to the beach gig visit www.culburrabeachfestival.org.au.