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Singing a song for people on low incomes

27 October 2021 at 6:07 pm
Maggie Coggan
The winner of a song-writing contest giving a voice to those who are unemployed or underemployed is taking home $10,000 

Maggie Coggan | 27 October 2021 at 6:07 pm


Singing a song for people on low incomes
27 October 2021 at 6:07 pm

The winner of a song-writing contest giving a voice to those who are unemployed or underemployed is taking home $10,000 

Move over Australian Idol, a new competition is here, and this time, it’s for a good cause. 

Coordinated by mental health not for profit Listen Up Music, the contest tasked song writers with writing and recording a tune that best represented those unable to make ends meet on current income support. 

This year’s winner, Aya Yves, said that she drew inspiration for her song,“At Your Door”, from a beloved Australian anthem. 

“I kept thinking of the song, ‘I am, you are, we are Australian’ and how leaving the most vulnerable people behind doesn’t feel very Australian to me,” she said. 

She said that being able to use her passion for music to highlight serious issues was a really “unique” experience. 

“I want my song to give people hope. Hope that they are heard, that there are fellow Australians wanting our country to step up and do what’s right by those who are in great need,” Yves said.

For the song, Yves has received a $10,000 cash prize and two days in a recording studio. 

Ali Taylor, Listen Up Music co-founder and CEO, said that the idea behind the competition really resonated with musicians across Australia.  

“There is no correct stereotype of someone experiencing poverty, it can happen to anyone, and these musicians captured all of the nuances of someone trying to survive on $44 a day,” Taylor said.

For a single person, the JobSeeker payment is $140 a week below the poverty line. 

Women over 45 are the fastest growing group of job seekers and are particularly vulnerable.

Competition co-convenors Stacey Thomas and Paul Madden, said that it was important to raise awareness of this issue in any way possible. 

“There are approximately 1 million people receiving a JobSeeker payment,” Thomas and Madden said. 

“These income payments are well below the poverty line forcing people into a poverty cycle they often cannot get out of. 

“We need to raise the rate of income support so basic needs can be met.”

And if you’re keen to check out Yves live, she will be one of the headline acts at Sydney’s Torch Fest, a one-day mental health music festival on 19 February 2022, shining a light on inspirational artists and their stories.

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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