Mel Gibson, Rupert Murdoch and Rick Springfield are the first names on my list of Australians Who I’m Prepared to Lose to America.
One name I can’t put down is Mia Dyson, the singer, guitarist and all round champ.
She’s from bloody Torquay, she writes about Aussie stuff, and probably bleeds VB.
Mia represents everything good about Australian music, and everything bad. When success pops up, following closely behind is the mean older brother, America.
“Well we are going to relocate for an unspecified time, to somewhere near Berkeley, get in that community you know. I am working on sourcing band members right now over there, I want to find local people, to rehearse and work on songs, so I’m sussing it out, via email and contacts.”
I’m meeting with Mia at a café called Outback, with not so subtle decor. It looks like Paul Hogan exploded in here, but I hope the nostalgia is enough to convince her to stay. Begrudgingly I ask her, what she plans to do once in USA.
“I think what I’ll have to do, once I’m there, is find people I know and get along with. If your music is your life then you need to be close to people you work with, it’s like a family and I couldn’t imagine not being close to my band members. I’m going with my bassist and my boyfriend, my manager is already LA based. So I’m not just going on my own, and I need the support because I think it’ll be so daunting.”
I nod encouragingly as Ernie Dingo serves us Lamingtons, covered in Vegemite. But Mia isn’t fooled by my attempts at persuasion, a skill which has served her well in dealing with the tricky politics of the biz.
“There are a lot of politics, it’s a case of be careful what you wish for. When I was younger I was more ambitious, but as things have come to pass and stuff hasn’t happened for me, but I’ve realised that other good things happen, there is so much baggage that comes with it.”
Mia is heading Stateside to increase her exposure and test herself. Australia has fallen in love with her tunes, handing her an ARIA and sold out tours, but the ambitious Dyson wants to try her hand at something different.
I’m not out of tricks yet, as John Farnham starts singing on the stage and Rolf Harris works the lighting.
‘Do you have kids’ I ask, in the hope that surely a young’un will tie her down to her native land.
“No I don’t, I don’t, the music is my baby, I don’t know if I could do this if I had kids. A lot of my female idols never had kids, in light of their career, I’m not sure what I want to do yet but for now just focusing on heading to LA.”
I feel like I’m losing the battle here, I can almost see the stars and stripes in her eyes. Ken Done has set up his easel, to paint our portraits, but I’m in no mood for him.
I do the typical Aussie thing and concede defeat before I’m beaten, preferring to ask her ask her about the impressive residencies she’s landed.
“Well the first run of gigs is just going to be residencies in Boston, New York, Washington, we’ll be driving there, then the festivals start around May and June. So after the residency I’m just going to see what happens, I’m hoping to build a career with or without a label, start building from the grassroots up. We will also consider making an album over there, depending on finances it might be easier to do it here, but regardless I’ll be releasing an album in the States through a distributor.”
Although I’m against the whole USA concept, I do like the idea of starting from the grassroots. In keeping with Music Feed’s ideology, Mia also hopes to “stay indie in Australia, but get a small label in USA.”
I have no doubts she’ll be stunningly successful over there, become a naturalized citizen and probably their first female President, but for the next few minutes, she is still ours.
We get up to leave, passing Don Burke as he fires up the Victa.
Mia has to go and sort out some Visa stuff, but I ask her for some lasting words, some advice for young musicians.
Really I just wanted to hear the accent one final time before it falls victim to the dialect of the Americans.
“This sounds so clichéd but I think follow your instincts, I think if you do they won’t let you down when you start worrying about what other people think, you will get into trouble. Oh and don’t drink, don’t smoke and get enough sleep.”