Eden Marine High School student Emily Claxton is over the moon after being selected to write ‘the song that stops the nation’ as part of the Music: Count Us In program for 2014.
The 16-year-old will join four other students from around the country at the Music Council of Australia Office in Sydney on Wednesday, where the group will write the song under the watchful eye of The Cat Empire frontman, Harry James Angus.
It will then be sung by over half a million children in schools around Australia at 12.30pm on Thursday, October 30.
Having had a keen interest in music from the age of six, Emily began writing songs just three years later, and is aiming for a career in the industry.
The Year 11 student said even after performing with national children’s choir Gondwana, this is the biggest opportunity of her life to date, though her six-year-old self would have taken a different path.
“I actually started out wanting to be a drummer, but mum was like, ‘No, let’s go with the guitar instead’,” Emily said.
“I’ve mainly played guitar and sung, and I’ve busked in a lot of places; in front of shopping centres and even the Sydney Opera House.
“The competition to write the song was advertised at school, and I’d written a few songs so I thought I might enter one of those.
“When I found out I’d been selected I didn’t really believe it.
“My dad called me and told me that they’d called him, and I was just like, ‘Oh yeah, good on you dad’, but then they sent us an email and I was just really excited because I never thought I’d get it.”
The trip to Sydney comes at an opportune time for Emily, who also has an audition on Tuesday for the Talent Development Project (TDP), an initiative supported by the NSW Department of Education and Training.
Eden Marine High School music teacher Sam Martin said four students had been offered auditions for the TDP, and commended Emily on her initiative in entering the song writing competition.
He also believes the networking opportunities that will result from the Count Us In program are invaluable.
“I’m really excited, and it’s nice because it’s showing that with what Emily is doing at school, these opportunities are available to her,” Mr Martin said.
“She’s taken the initiative to really go for it and write the song, and we’re totally supportive of whatever she wants to do with that.
“The other great thing is the contacts and the networking, especially in the music industry.
“You often find that relationships, when they start at this age, can foster five, 10 or 20 years from now as these people keep going up the pyramid of the music industry, so it’s an awesome opportunity to have.”
Emily agrees, saying she is not sure exactly which direction she wants to head in, but hopes the contacts she makes will help make her path clearer.
“There are so many options, so I don’t really know where I want to go, but this has opened up a lot more windows for me,” she said.
“All the little things like school choir, regional choirs, Gondwana and state band camp have kind of stacked up and led to this.
“I haven’t really been involved too much with The Cat Empire, but I love their songs, so I’ll have a chat to him (Harry James Angus) and see what happens.”