Canberra singer and songwriter Amber Nichols is used to reinventing herself as an artist.
The talented musician was a finalist on The Voice in 2015 and it was only after she had to break a contract that she was able to create a new musical project at the beginning of last year called Liv Li.
From being locked into contracts to now being locked down as an artist, Amber was able to showcase her talent with her song ‘Bloom’ during the launch of RISE Canberra, an online events calendar for all Canberra events during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amber’s song is aptly about blooming where you’re planted and rising regardless. She said the lockdown has also been a time to plant new musical seeds.
“It’s been really good to have the downtime to clear the calendar and I’ve found that the inspiration is happening so much more, because as a creative, it’s about having time and space in your life to allow the ideas and creativity to flow,” Amber said during the launch.
Like all artists who have had to forego the traditional way of showcasing their work through live shows and exhibitions, Amber said it has been tough.
“We’ve lost all of our shows but we’re so thankful for operations like Live In Ya Lounge that allow us to put on amazing shows.”
Amber said the creation of RISE Canberra is equally exciting as it shows that Canberra’s artists are keeping busy and are finding new ways to perform.
“RISE is about getting the message out that we are still doing things and so many artists are trying to think outside of the boxes and put on beautiful things for our fans.
“We are forced to go online and we’re not just competing anymore with local artists, it’s like the whole world can now be watching us,” Amber said.
During the launch, which was live-streamed by the team from Event AV Services, Minister for the Arts, Creative Industries and Cultural Events Gordon Ramsay said the RISE Canberra online calendar supports the arts and events sector as the Canberra community navigates the social and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The RISE Canberra Calendar will highlight events in our city that are going ahead, using non-traditional methods to avoid mass gatherings while fostering the jobs and economic stimulus our arts and events sector so desperately needs,” Mr Ramsay said.
A number of familiar events have already been listed on the calendar such as Reconciliation Day, Floriade: Reimagined, and the Great Australian Craft Show. New events include a Wine Tasting Party online with Contentious Character, French Movies with Alliance Francaise de Canberra, and Kids Creating Art for Aged Care Canberra.
A news page will also have interviews and articles to keep people informed and connected to a variety of events.
RISE Canberra will also facilitate the creation of the Where You Are Festival, a $240,000 investment in the arts and events sector that will highlight unique Canberra experiences across diverse activities such as art and culture, music, ideas and forums, sport, community and food from 10 July to 11 September.
Submissions are being sought from the region’s makers, creators, businesses, artists and organisations for inclusion in the Festival program, as well as up to $20,000 in financial support for the delivery of programming offerings. Expressions of interest are being sought and further information is on the RISE Canberra website.
Amber Nichols said you can expect to see her and many more Canberra artists through the online calendar. In lieu of ticket sales, performers are relying on donations from people who watch their performances or pay for merchandise.
“It’s a really tricky thing when you’re live streaming. A lot of the platforms are asking to please donate to the artist, which when you’re sitting in your lounge room enjoying something just means so much to us.
“I think the way that we deliver shows once restrictions are lifted will actually change and we’ll see more of these online shows continue by live streaming out to so many more people. I think the changes will be great for the industry long-term,” Amber said.