Songs That Made Me

Songs That Made Me will bring together some of Australia’s finest songstresses to discover and nurture local female talent in Mackay, Mount Isa and Gladstone.

Designed to empower and support female singer-songwriters, the program involves a unique mentorship and performance experience alongside signature artists Deborah Conway, Clare Bowditch and Hannah Macklin.


Emerging female singer-songwriters of all ages from Mackay, Mount Isa and Gladstone are invited to upload a video entry of themselves performing two songs: an original song and a song that inspired them to become a singer-songwriter – a song ‘that made them’. Fill out the online form to enter.


Finalists from Mount Isa, Mackay and Gladstone will be selected by QMF Artistic Director Katie Noonan & multi-faceted singer, songwriter, producer and artist Hannah Macklin.


A small group of promising entrants will be selected from each region to participate in the Songs That Made Me mentorship and performance program, and will win a RØDE NT1 microphone.

This program will kick off in June when the selected singer-songwriters from each region will participate in a mentoring workshop in their hometown with Katie Noonan and music educator Leigh Carriage. They will also receive mentoring from local talent: Megan Sarmardin in Mount Isa, Kristin Berardi in Mackay, and Hayley Marsten in Gladstone.

In July, the musicians will participate in a local masterclass with Deborah Conway, Clare Bowditch and Hannah Macklin before performing alongside these signature artists, their local mentor and an all-female rhythm section in a concert in their hometown. One participant from each region will be selected to perform their original song & the ‘song that made them’ from their submission at this concert.

The Songs That Made Me tour will conclude with a finale concert at The Tivoli in Brisbane, where audiences will be treated to a special line-up featuring Deborah Conway, Clare Bowditch, Hannah Macklin, an all-female rhythm section, Queensland choir Cheep Trill, regional mentors & musicians Megan Sarmardin, Kristin Berardi and Hayley Marsten and special guest Katie Noonan.

For any further questions, you can contact us at

Entries close 5pm Friday 19 May 2017


  • You must submit your entry by 5pm Friday 19 May 2017
  • Only soloists are eligible to apply (duos, bands and ensembles are not eligible)
  • To apply, you must complete the entry form, including two video links: one of yourself performing your own original song, and another of yourself performing a song significant to you – a song that made you
  • You must write and perform your own original song for submission
  • Your original and chosen song should both be 2-5 minutes each in length
  • Your two video links can be submitted as either a Dropbox link or a link to a Vimeo video
  • For any further questions, you can contact us at or (07) 3010 6632


  • Entrants must either currently reside in Mackay, Mount Isa or Gladstone, and identify as a woman
  • Applicants agree to allow QMF to publicise each winner’s name and town, and publish photography, video/audio recordings of workshops and performances
  • If selected to participate in the ‘Songs That Made Me’ program, you must be available to attend the Songwriting Workshops to be held in your hometown as follows;
    • Gladstone – 21 & 22 June and 14 & 15 July
    • Mackay – 23 & 24 June and 12 & 13 July
    • Mount Isa – 28 & 29 June and 10 & 11 July


Katie Noonan

Katie Noonan’s technical mastery and pure voice makes her one of Australia’s most versatile and beloved vocalists. A mother, singer, producer, songwriter, pianist and business woman, this 4 x ARIA Award winning and 7 x platinum selling songstress first received widespread praise as the angel-voiced songstress of indie-pop band George and has since taken audiences on sublime excursions through Jazz, Pop and Classical music. Most recently, Katie joined Queensland Music Festival as Artistic Director, delivering her first Festival in 2017.

Deborah Conway

Deborah Conway has been a significant and eloquent contributor to Australian music for over 30 years. Conway continues to release albums that attract critical acclaim from reviewers and appreciative audiences, most recently Everybody’s Begging which came out in September 2016. In 2016, Conway was named Living Legend by the Leaps & Bounds Festival.

Clare Bowditch

Clare Bowditch is an ARIA Award-winning songwriter, actor, speaker, writer, creative-business mentor and newly-announced afternoon host on Melbourne ABC radio 774. She’s had Top Ten albums, been named Rolling Stone Woman of the Year (Contribution to Culture), Yen Young Woman of the Year (Music), co-written with Gotye, toured with Leonard Cohen, and written for Harpers Bazaar and the Drum.

Hannah Macklin

Since graduating from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in 2010, Hannah Macklin has gone on to have great success in Australia and overseas both as a solo artist and as the face of alt R&B trio MKO Sun. In November 2016 Hannah won the prestigious Grant McLennan Fellowship, and was also awarded “Best Live Voice” in QLD at the 2016 National Live Music Awards.

Leigh Carriage

LEIGH CARRIAGE is one of Australia’s leading vocalists, songwriters and educators. Her 2012 album Mandarin Skyline was nominated for an Australian National Jazz Bell Award and her recent album Weave (2016) won the NCEIA Album of the Year award. Leigh has captured the hearts of audiences at festivals including the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival (USA), Byron Bay Blues and Roots Festival, Woodford Folk Festival, Noosa Jazz Festival, Melbourne International Women’s Jazz Festival and Wangaratta Jazz and Blues Festival.

Megan Sarmardin

In 1989 at the age of five, Megan made her public debut, singing Dolly Parton’s ‘Coat of Many Colours’ at Mount Isa’s Spinifex Country Music Club. Coming from a strong and close knit Aboriginal family, these family influences guided Megan’s love of all music. Learning many different instruments within the music programs at school, Megan settled on guitar, bass and voice as her main focus. Megan has made a real impact on audiences in a number of high profile performances at The Brisbane Powerhouse, QPAC and The Woodford Folk Festival.

Kristin Berardi

Kristin Berardi is from Koumala, a small country town 45km south of Mackay in North Queensland. Her accolades include being shortlisted for the APRA Professional Development awards twice, and in 2016 won the Bell Award for her album “Where or When” for Best Jazz Vocal Album of 2015, and with Berardi Foran Karlen received the QLD State Award for excellence in jazz at the APRA Art Music Awards.

Hayley Marsten

Country singer-songwriter Hayley Marsten has been described as a ‘Country music sass goddess’ by The Gladstone born and raised songstress released her debut EP “Even” in 2015 with Bill Chambers, to two sold-out shows. MusicOz award-nominee, a CMAA Academy Of Country Music Graduate(2016), Australian Country Music People’s Choice nominee, Gympie Music Muster performer and headliner at Boyne Valley Country Music Campout. More recently Hayley was named a Top 10 Finalist in the Toyota Star Maker competition in Tamworth.


Songs That Made Me is presented by Queensland Music Festival, Brisbane City Council, Mount Isa City Council, Gladstone Regional Council and Mackay City Council

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Major partners

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Silver partner

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Bronze Partner


This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. Queensland Music Festival is an initiative of the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, part of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet. This project has also received support through Playing Queensland.

As part of the Songs That Made Me project, QMF encourages you to support women in need by donating to Share the Dignity at

Entries close 5pm 19 May 2017

Concert Dates

Mount Isa:

7:30pm 11 July 2017
Mount Isa Civic Centre
Free event


7:30 pm 13 July 2017
Mackay Entertainment Convention Centre
Adult– $25
Concession & Groups 6+– $20
Children -12– $10
Children under 2– Free


7:30 pm 15 July 2017
GPC Parklands Marina Stage
Free event


7pm 16 July 2017
The Tivoli
Adult– $45
Student/Concession– $42

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