30 April 2024

Singer asks for Backup from Cooktown community ahead of album debut

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Ella Hartwig

21-year-old former Cooktown musician Ella Hartwig has been recording her debut album in Brisbane, but now needs community support to fund her dream. Photo: Callum Johnston Films.

Former Cooktown singer Ella Hartwig is looking to her hometown community for help as she prepares to release her debut album.

While performing countless gigs in pubs to fund her dream, she has now registered the album as a project with the Australian Cultural Fund, aiming to raise $10,000 to help with post-production costs.

She said she hoped to launch her first album in her hometown on the Black Mountain Unplugged stage later this year, but had hit a financial barrier after investing more than $25,000.

Although she moved to Brisbane two years ago to chase music opportunities, many will remember her as a 12-year-old busking at the Cooktown Discovery Festival, or playing gigs at the Lion’s Den Hotel.

“I will be up there again and I’m still connected; I’m not just someone who used to be there and not interested in benefitting the community,” she said.

“I’m just trying to make my hometown proud.”

The Australian Cultural Fund is a dedicated fundraising platform for Australian artists, where individuals and organisations can make tax-deductible donations.

Fundraising for the project will continue until the end of the financial year in June.

“At the end of my campaign, the Australian Cultural Fund will match whatever has been donated,” Ms Hartwig explained.

“It’s all been from gigs and paying as I go so far, but I need some more funds for post-production – marketing, tour costs, and management costs.”

Despite following her dream, the singer said it had not been easy juggling the album, studying at university and playing gigs to pay her rent.

READ ALSO Cape York’s finest perform at major country music festival

Her latest single Backup encapsulates her battle with mental health, homesickness, and asking for help.

“Sometimes, we spend so much time and energy trying to convince other people that we’re okay, but sometimes, you need help and you shouldn’t be afraid to reach out,” the singer said.

“Especially in the music industry, there’s still such a stigma around asking for help with mental health, so that’s why I wanted to write about it and put it out there.

“Often I think ‘what am I doing, this is so hard and I just moved my whole life for this’.”

In difficult times, Ms Hartwig said she pulled out a list she wrote in colourful crayon with the reasons she pursued the musical pathway.

“I refer to it all the time, and it’s a big factor in helping me align with my goals and remember why I’m doing what I’m doing,” she said.

“My Western Star music video was added to Country Music Television, which is a pretty big thing, so there’s been really good motivators to keep going as well.

“I also think back to the support from my hometown and trying to make them proud.”

To hear more about Ella Hartwig’s story or support her financially, visit her Australian Cultural Fund project page.

Family visit at the Brisbane studio

Even when far away, the singer has the support of her family and community. Photo: Supplied.

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