Indigenous Success Stories

Evelyn Willie – 2010 TDP Graduate

Evelyn has been performing and writing music since the age of 15. This inspiring soul singer grew up on an Indigenous reserve at Wellington in western New South Wales. Evelyn uses music to express herself and draws on her Indigenous roots in her songwriting. As a result, her songs project strong messages of truth, identity and culture.

Since graduating from the TDP, Evelyn is focusing on her songwriting with aim of recording her first album and performing with the group ‘Women of Soul’.

Jessica Hitchcock – 2008 TDP Graduate

Jessica started learning classical piano at the age of three in a small music school. She has always loved to sing, but only began taking it seriously in year 10 at school when her unique style was identified. At age 15, Jess auditioned for the Schools Spectacular and then the TDP, going on to be a featured soloist for three consecutive years.

After extensive performance experience, 2010 was a breakthrough year for Jessica. She won the TDP/ASCAP Bound For Broadway Scholarship to spend time training and performing in New York. She was also chosen as the lead in the breakthrough Indigenous Opera, ‘Pecan Summer’, which received rave reviews for its debut season.

Bruce Carr – 2007 TDP Graduate

Bruce Carr is the first hip-hop artist to graduate from the Talent Development Project. Since completing Year 12 at Wellington High School, western NSW, in 2007, Bruce has emerged as a unique Indigenous performer. Bruce’s combination of contemporary dance, vocal and didgeridoo has him in demand as a recording artist and live performer.

Microwave Jenny – Brendon Boney, 2005 TDP Graduate & Tessa Nuku, 2006 TDP Graduate

Australian folk/jazz duo, Microwave Jenny, was formed when two young talented singer/songwriters met at the TDP in their final years of High School. When Tessa and Brendon realised they shared the same kind of musical direction and an undeniable chemistry, Microwave Jenny was born.

Tessa’s versatility and alternative twist to the jazz and pop genre, combined with Brendon’s incredible guitar style provide Microwave Jenny with a unique sound that is grabbing the attention of audiences across Australia. The pair are in demand at festivals across the country and in 2009, they were awarded  the Peter Garrett Indigenous Breakthrough Grant, allowing them to fund the recording of their first album.

For more about Microwave Jenny or to listen to some of their music go to www.myspace.com/microwavej

Blake Ralph – 2001 TDP Graduate

Blake is continuing to find success a decade after graduating from the TDP. As well as becoming a successful recording artist he has also extensive live performance experience.

His list of achievements and performance credits include major TV events such as Australia Day Ceremonies and the World Youth Olympics. He has performed as a support act for Guy Sebastian, Diesel, Human Nature, Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons, Marcia Hines, Casey Donovan, Pete Murray, Mondo Rock, Kate Cebrano and Billy Thorpe.

For more about Blake or to listen to his music go to www.blakeralph.com

Peter Riley – 2000 TDP Graduate

Mary Lopez discovered Peter, a talented singer and guitarist, in Dubbo in early 1999. After graduating from the TDP in 2000, Peter travelled and performed throughout New South Wales, returning to Dubbo in 2008 to raise his new daughter.

Peter continues to teach and mentor young performers, becoming a popular local talent and role model for Indigenous youth in western New South Wales.