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2022 Professional Development Award Winners Announced!

Story Published Thursday 18 August 2022
2022 Professional Development Award Winners from top left to bottom right: Gabriel Everett, Jessie Leov, choicevaughn, KT Sharp, Tali Jenkinson, William Philipson.

This morning, we are incredibly excited to announce the APRA Professional Development Award winners for 2022: Gabriel Everett, William Philipson, Jessica Leov Edwards, Katie Sharp, Joel Tashkoff and Tali Jenkinson. The talent pool this year was diverse, competitive and a solid reflection of the hunger within the Aotearoa music industry for knowledge, exposure and growth following two difficult years of Covd-19 restrictions.

This morning, we are incredibly excited to announce the APRA Professional Development Award winners for 2022: Gabriel Everett, William Philipson, Jessica Leov Edwards, Katie Sharp, Joel Tashkoff and Tali Jenkinson. The talent pool this year was diverse, competitive and a solid reflection of the hunger within the Aotearoa music industry for knowledge, exposure and growth following two difficult years of Covd-19 restrictions.

Each taking home an award of $5,000.00 to contribute toward the next phase of their career, the recipients this year showcase an eclectic range of professional development opportunities. Spanning from international publisher pursuits and screen composer mentorships, to production and instrumental training, alongside tertiary study in video game composition and electro acoustic sound scaping.

An anonymous panel of industry experts assessed over 70 robust applications to determine the winners - a process that is both challenging and inspiring.

Speaking to the experience one of the anonymous panel members reflects “It was a great process being a part of the PDA judging panel. Hearing different takes on why someone needs development money and seeing other people’s angles on how they are going to use it was very educational. The calibre of entries was very high, and I was inspired by just how big a lot of Kiwi's are thinking in this space.”

Recipient Info

Gabriel Everett is a songwriter and one half of pop/funk duo Foley, working across multiple disciplines, including toplining, vocals, instrumentation and production. Based in Tāmaki Makaurau, Gabe is a well-versed and passionate artist, project manager and management assistant, generously offering his expertise and time to his peers, mentors and the wider Aotearoa music industry with a keen focus on the challenge of collaborative songwriting.

Gabe has worked with an extensive list of songwriters, including Nate Campany (Dua Lipa, Carly Rae Jepsen), Josh Fountain (BENEE), Ambian & Sleo (Niko Walters) and Wells*.

Achievements through Foley include nominations for Best Pop Artist & Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the 2021 Aotearoa Music Awards, alongside being finalists for the APRA Silver Scroll in 2019.

The APRA Professional Development Award will support Gabriel to meet with international publishers, embark of a diverse range of international writing experiences and attend The Great Escape conference and festival in Europe, as a Kiwi delegate.

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William Philipson is a young film composer and music editor based in Wellington, New Zealand. Over the last four years, he has established himself as a dedicated and enthusiastic member of the composing community. Among other credits he wrote music for the Kiwi horror-comedy film DEAD, collaborating with composers Tom McLeod and James Euringer. Another recent film score was for the film High Tide Don't Hide, a New Zealand Film Commission supported feature documentary following the School Strike for Climate in New Zealand. The film played in the New Zealand Parliament the day after a climate emergency was declared (in a special showing hosted by politician Chloë Swarbrick). The film was selected for the 2021 Doc Edge festival, before being distributed by TVNZ on-demand in New Zealand and PBS in America.

Philipson holds a Masters of Fine Arts (CP) in film scoring as well as a BA majoring in film and music from Te Koki - New Zealand School of Music at Victoria University of Wellington. William is a committee member of the Screen Music & Sound Guild of New Zealand, where he advocates for young and emerging composers to help create clear and accessible career pathways into the screen industry.

His successful Professional Development Award will be used to to support William as he applies himself as a composer’s assistant, working with six renound kiwi composers in both Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) and Te Whanaganui-a-Tara (Wellington) throughout 2023.

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Originally from Whakatū Nelson and now based in Tāmaki Makaurau, Jessie Leov is a composer, songwriter, musician and music educator with a diverse background in the arts. Her work has been commissioned, performed or workshopped by groups including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Chamber Choir, NZTrio, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Creative Waikato, Celebris Ensemble (USA), Laurel’s Hat Productions and Red Scare Theatre Company.

Collaboration is at the heart of Jessie’s artistic practice. Her collaborative work includes full-length musical 'Take Back the Universe', with composer and playwright Marlon Richards. Alongside playwright Frances Steinberg Leov created the 14-song score for Steinberg’s children’s play, 'Old School', commissioned by Laurel’s Hat Productions.

In 2021 Jessie was selected as a winner of NZTrio’s AudioVisualise Composing Competition, and her work, 'convergency', was premiered by NZTrio in Auckland in May 2022. In the same month, her work for a cappella mixed voices, 'Let My Country Awake', had its international premiere performed by the Michigan-based Celebris Ensemble. Her orchestral work, 'marble, bark, silver', inspired by a series of poems by NZ poet Deborah Norrie-Jones, was selected to be recorded by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra at the 2022 NZ Composer Sessions held annually at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington.

This award will enable Jessie to undertake an intensive mentorship in the field of electro-acoustic composition with Tāmaki Makaurau award winning sonic artist Garling Wu.

“Enlisting Garling for this project aligns with my personal and professional values. I am passionate about working with and uplifting underrepresented voices, such as female and non-binary composers, and championing their work in an industry dominated by men. This gender gap is particularly significant in the field of computer music, electro-acoustic music and music technology, around which this professional development opportunity is based.” says Leov.

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Joel Tashkoff AKA choicevaughan is an award-winning producer, composer, artist hailing from Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, Ngāti Porou and Ngāpuhi.

A finalist for Best Hip Hop Artist at the Aotearoa Music Awards in 2020 for his self-produced album Deuce (with Tom Scott), choicevaughan was brought on to help compose and produce original music for the critically acclaimed “The Panthers” TV series and associated Original Soundtrack. The latter of which earned him the Best Producer Award and the Best Music Video Award at the Pacific Music Awards 2022. “The Panthers” composition also sees Tashkoff with a nomination in the Series composition category at this year’s APRA Silver Scroll Awards. In the Silver Scroll itself, project collaborators Diggy Dupe and Troy Kingi are named as Top 20 finalists alongside choicevaughan for their deliberately honest track “My Heart Never Sleeps”.

When he is not in the studio creating, Joel is passionately advising artists, producers, managers, models, agents and labels as an entertainment lawyer for Dominion Law, specialising in the music and modelling industries.

Enlisting the expertise of Grammy nominated pianist, composer and producer Keifer Shackelford, choicevaughan will invest his Professional Development Award toward becoming a completely self-sufficient composer, without the assistance of sample based production. This will be achieved through one-on-one mentorships and training, focused on Jazz, Hip-hop and R&B piano compositions.

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After leaving his home of Papua New Guinea for Aotearoa as an infant to receive treatment for malaria, Tali Jenkinson (Vallé) has continuously invested into the life he won back from death.
Valle has been carefully honing his craft, drawing on experiences from everyday life whilst keeping his heritage at the forefront of everything he has to say. With a style of radio friendly R&B and Hip-Hop, Vallé shows that his ear and pen for music are equally gifted. ‘Music got into me’ he tells people.

Vallé has released steady stream of singles to date. ‘Trip Advisor’ and ‘Prodigy’ arrived in 2020 with ‘Trip Advisor’ being nominated for ‘Best Pacific Music Video’ at the 2021 Pacific Music Awards. That same year, ‘Swing Low’ dropped - Vallé’s biggest track to date. With streams nudging 100k, the track nabbed placement on high-profile Hip-Hop playlists and saw Jenkinson with his second Pacific Music Awards nomination as a finalist for Best Pacific Music Video in 2022.

Following his two music video nominations, Jenkinson is cementing himself as a star on the rise as ‘Trouble Finds A Girl’, a track co-written at APRA SongHubs 2021 with Tami Neilson, Jenny Mitchell and Chris Wethey, was named as the winner of APRA’S Best Country Music Song Award in June 2022.

With his latest single due to be released in September, and an EP not far behind, Vallé looks to undertake two intensive coaching mentorships with his Professional Development Award, working with the likes of Marley Sola (winner “Best Gospel Song” at the 2021 Pacific Music Awards) and Cameron Findlay, who is a renowned Jazz Pianist and teacher.

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Music, video games, and mathematics?

Los Angeles-based composer KT Sharp utilises her PhD in Mathematics to unite her love for music and video games. After a career in mathematical modeling, KT decided to leave academia behind to graduate UCLA’s Film Scoring Certificate with Distinction in 2020. KT designs distinct sounds for video games, using her experience of the Pacific and love of making noise to create a comprehensive and unique sound template. She takes inspiration from her teachers and fellow game composers Nima Fakhrara (Detroit: Become Human) and Garry Schyman (BioShock series). KT won the 2020-2021 Society of Composers and Lyricists distinguished Mentorship for composers in Los Angeles.

Passionate about becoming a female video game composer, Katie will utilise her Professional Development Award to intergrate with the videogame music community in Los Angeles, while expanding her teritary qualifacations when uptaking a Game Audio Design and Production course with Berklee College of Music.

KT also has ambitions to work under Garry Schyman - When speaking about the opportunity, Katie says “Garry Schyman composed the music for Bioshock, so he's a total badass and my absolute idol.”

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