Songwriting Workshop 2019

Our 2019 Songwriting Workshop was held at Church St Studios in Sydney. Our 2019 National Songwriting Competition Winners Sawab Mlaih, Amber Farnan, Roan Nair and Brady Cavanagh were joined by our fantastic creative team – Program Ambassador John Foreman and Program Mentor Jack River. Check out our photos from the day  here. 

Music Mentor

We’re thrilled to reveal Jack River as our 2019 MCUI Program Mentor! She wears many hats – musician, songwriter, festival director and successful business woman. Hailing from a small NSW coastal town, Jack River has played sell out shows throughout Australia. Last year Jack River released one of the year’s most inspiring pop records called Sugar Mountain, an ode to an imagined youth that she was never able to realise. Following a family tragedy which turned her world upside down, she used songwriting as a survival tool. Jack River is also the mastermind behind Grow Your Own Festival in her hometown of Forster, an event which celebrates music, art, food and agriculture of the region, and the Electric Lady movement – a platform to amplify the strength of women in music, politics, science, sport and beyond.

“I’m so excited to work with young songwriters on this extremely important and ridiculously fun project. Music heals, inspires and pushes mental boundaries – to be a part of spreading it’s importance on a national and educational level is really exciting. ” – Jack River

The Student Songwriters


Roan Nair from Donvale, Victoria

Roan (16) is a solo songwriter from Blackburn High School. He enjoys taking his experiences and turning them into stories within the songs that he writes.

“For me, I believe that music is a universal medium for human expression and I am so grateful that such an inclusive and broad outlet like music, can capture the lessons I’ve learned, the emotions that I am experiencing through a melody. I believe in the culture of authentic storytelling that music has indefinitely created and if it wasn’t for the strong sense of community that continues to inspire and give voice to those who lack one, I honestly would not know where I would be. I owe music a lot for not only giving me a voice, but a purpose and I am so grateful to be given an opportunity like this where I can write a song with other amazing people for thousands of young musicians to perform.”


Amber Farnan from Kamerunga, Queensland

Amber (16) is a self-taught singer-songwriter who Redlynch State College. She released her first album in 2017.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of the MCUI team for 2019. Music is my passion and I hope to share it with the world. I want to inspire young people to work together to make a positive change using music as my medium. I love how music has the amazing power to unite people regardless of age, gender and culture.”





Brady Cavanagh from Muswellbrook, New South Wales

Brady (17) has been writing songs since he was 13. He attends Muswellbrook High school and has been playing gigs in his local community for 5 years.

“Music for me is a way of expression! Expression that words cannot compete with. Music crosses boundaries of language and culture, and has the ability to bring the world together through song! Everyone loves their own version of music, and music is always there for everyone in every moment, like a secret superhero, that never fails!” 




Sawab Mlaih from Bankstown, New South Wales

Sawab (16) attends Bankstown Girls High School and has developed a love for composition and song writing over the last few years.

“My journey has only recently sparked and ignited my love for music and songwriting. One of my favorite parts of composing has always been writing lyrics that are meaningful and expressive which I hope is conveyed through my work as I have a lot to say coming from an American and Middle Eastern background. I’m looking forward to developing myself as an artist through this amazing opportunity, and I honestly cannot wait for the chance for my voice to be heard in the outer world and I am very grateful to work with Australia’s finest.”  

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