Telstra Road to Discovery triumph for four talented artists

Media Release, 31 October 2013

Following a highly competitive Telstra Road to Discovery final event at the Forum Theatre in Melbourne on Wednesday night, Christopher Coleman, 25, from Hobart, Tasmania and Helen Shanahan, 24, from South Perth, West Australia have been crowned the 2013 winners in the performer and songwriter categories respectively.

Christopher and Helen will each receive a 12-month music mentorship package, including a return trip and showcase performance at the Americana Music Festival, local gigs in Australia and face to face time with some of the nation’s biggest music names, plus a $14,000 tailored music development fund.

Singer-songwriter Christopher Coleman has been performing for 10 years and plays the guitar, bass, drums and piano and was thrilled with his win in the performer category.

“Everyone in the final 10 is so unbelievably talented, everyone deserved to be there and it still hasn’t really hit me that I’ve been given this incredible opportunity. I really enjoyed performing in front of my friends and family at the final tonight.” Mr Coleman said.

Winning songwriter Helen said the mentorship and guidance she received through the Telstra Road to Discovery program has helped her grow as an artist and she is looking forward to sharing her music with new audiences.

“It’s quite a surreal feeling to win. I have never won anything before in my life. It’s great to be recognised for something I am so passionate about. I have made friends for life with my fellow songwriters. We’ve grown so close during our time in the competition and learnt so much. The program has been invaluable to me as a songwriter,” Ms Shanahan said.

In addition, finalists Jesse Teinaki, 21 from Somerset, Tasmania and Angie McMahon, 19 from Alphington, Victoria received the Bon Jovi Opening Act Prize which will see them perform as the opening act for the band’s ‘Because We Can’ Australian tour in December 2013.

Both Jesse and Angie were overwhelmed with their win and the honour of being personally selected for the opportunity by one of the biggest acts in the world.

“I’m just lost for words. To think that I’ve come from a town of 3,000 people or so and am used to performing as a support act at the local pub. Now I’ve been handed the opportunity to open for one of the biggest acts in the world. It’s crazy how much my life has changed in only four months,” said Mr Teinaki.

Ms McMahon said, “It is overwhelming to think that come December, I will be supporting one of the biggest acts in the world - I am in shock and it will take a while to process this. It was great to perform in front of family and friends tonight and alongside people who have become close friends. They are such diverse, interesting and talented performers it is a real honour.”

The 10 finalists performed two live original acoustic songs each to an invitation-only audience and were judged by Bill Page from Mushroom Music, Melbourne singer/songwriters Charles Jenkins, Graham Thompson from Compass Brothers Records, Noel Mengel, Chief Music Writer at Courier Mail and freelance writer Jeff Jenkins.

Telstra Consumer Group Managing Director, Karsten Wildberger, commended Christopher, Helen, Angie and Jesse on their stellar performances.

“We started this program over a decade ago to support emerging Australian artists and offer them a guided pathway into the music industry.

“The Telstra Road to Discovery program continues to evolve each year, with the introduction of new experiences such as the Bon Jovi Opening Act Prize and the digital master class series which we opened up to musicians across the country.

“Christopher, Helen, Angie and Jesse have all worked hard to win their respective categories and I wish them all the best on what I am sure will be a long-lasting and successful music careers,” Mr Wildberger said.

The top 10 finalists were Olivia Hally from Fitzroy North (VIC), Angie McMahon from Alphington (VIC) Paige Renee Court from Port Pirie (SA), Josh Rennie-Hynes from Delaneys Creek (QLD), Angharad Drake from Brisbane (QLD), Imogen Clark from Bowen Mountain (NSW), Danny Bau from Mandurah (WA), Helen Shanahan from Perth (WA), Christopher Coleman from Hobart (TAS) and Jesse Teinaki from Somerset (TAS).

2012 Telstra Road to Discovery winners Gena Rose Bruce and Melody Pool also performed at the final event alongside special guests Josh Pyke, Bob Evans, Emma Louise, Ash Grunwald and Scott Owen.

For more information, visit the Telstra Road to Discovery website.