Congratulations, Nicole Cross!
Townsville-based pharmacist-turned-singer-songwriter Nicole Cross has been announced as the winner of this year's Play Mullum Songwriting Competition, guaranteeing her a spot on the line-up at this month's impending Mullum Music Festival.
Cross took out the honours with her gorgeous track White Walls, an ambling, affable easy-listening cut comprised of restrained, largely acoustic instrumentation, floating back-up harmonies and introspective, storyteller-like lyrics. It's delicate, it's delightful and, importantly, it's helped carry Cross to esteemed new heights with the promise of a festival spot in a couple of weeks. The song's words come from a deeply personal place, reflecting the moment Cross decided to abandon her career in pharmacy to pursue her dreams of performing for a living.
"White Walls is about escaping the confinement of my cookie-cutter, white-walled apartment, quitting my job, travelling the world and pursuing my lifelong dream of becoming a full-time singer-songwriter," Cross explained of the song.
"In a past life, I spent my days legally distributing prescription drugs as a pharmacist; I hung up my white coat for good, replaced it with a guitar strap and now spend my days writing songs and sharing them with the world."
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The song's success in the Mullum competition partially rests with how well it reflected this year's theme, "One Day Can Change Everything", with organisers highlighting Mark Lucas' His Own Titanic, Cardiac Disrhythmia by Micah Kemp, aka Meerkat, and Anthony George's My Guitar Cries For You as further standouts from the field of entries. Ultimately, though, there's no denying that Cross embodies the idea that a life can make a serious 180 in 24 transformative hours.
"I am feeling absolutely honoured and completely gobsmacked to have been selected as this year's Play Mullum winner," Cross said in a statement. "The past six months of my life have been an amazing roller-coaster and full of spontaneous decisions, my decision to enter this competition being one of them!"
You can help Cross celebrate the realisation of a long-held dream by heading along to this year's Mullum Music Festival (presented by The Music), running from Thursday 19 to Sunday 22 November and boasting a wider line-up featuring a broad array of acclaimed acts including Ron Sexsmith, Trinity Roots, Robert Forster, The Californian Honeydrops, Hauschka, We Two Theives, Tora, Mt Warning, Montaigne Raised By Eagles, Microwave Jenny and many more.
Tickets are on sale now via the festival's website.
For more information about the event, see our Mullum Music page under the Festivals tab.