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Interview with Laura Imbruglia (Music Victoria)

Most people will be familiar with Laura Imbruglia through her music, but for the last year Laura has dedicated her time and energy to Music Victoria, an organisation who exists for the sole purpose of supporting all facets of live music in Victoria. As project and marketing manager, Laura has overseen some amazing initiatives run by Music Victoria such as The Age Music awards, various workshops and panels that run through out the year and the annual member ship drive, which kicked off for 2018 on Monday. We caught up with Laura to find out more about this years membership drive, the new services and benefits being offered this year and why it has been important for Music Victoria to start incorporating support services that cater to the mental and physical well being of those in the arts.

Hey Laura! Thanks for chatting. Just to start, can you give us a bit of a run-down of both what you do at Music Victoria in your day to day role and how you became involved with the org? Were you a member before working there?

Hey, thanks for talking to ME. In addition to taking care of Marketing, my role at MV also includes project managing The Age Music Victoria Awards, appearing on panels as a music industry specialist, leading workshops, and much more.

My role is to serve Victoria’s music community by seeking out beneficial partnerships, advising on grants and best practice, providing feedback from members of the community and advisory panels to our board and working towards positive change.
As an active musician, I’m Music Victoria’s target audience. I was actually a lapsed member when I got the job, so I had a good sense of what we could do better and how we could better communicate the benefits to members.

The video you wrote & produced with the Amateur Hour team for the 2018 membership drive is the best thing I’ve ever seen. How on earth you make that happen? Was it all done in a single day? It’s so good and it’s really challenging to not spend this entire interview just asking about it.

Haha, thanks! Getting musicians to play up for the camera is one of my favourite things to do, and something I got quite skilled at doing in my time making Amateur Hour.

I actually wrote the script when I was off work on a songwriting retreat. I had planned to pitch an idea for the membership drive video and decided it would be cool to show how musical the staff at MV are, whilst also communicating what it is that we do, seeing as a lot of people aren’t aware of the benefits of being a member.

Once I had the script and idea approved by team MV, I contacted Terry Mann to do the music. I’ve collaborated with Terry in the past and I couldn’t think of anyone else that would be able to nail the concept musically. Locking in the musical guests was remarkably easy – people wanna be involved and knew it would be a fun day. And yes – we filmed it all in one very looooong day. We actually filmed the opening scene at the very end of the day, which is why I look so insane. It’s hard being the director, 1st AD, actor and MV business representative all at once.

Aside from being entertaining af, the video was super informative! I learned that Music Vic assists in basically every area of music, from helping venues get sound proofed to working on music and arts solutions with the local government. Are their certain benefits/services for members that are underutilised and that people should be jumping on? The free hearing tests seem super handy!

Yeah, people really don’t know just how valuable we are. We send out a list of our member benefits and how to access them when people sign up as a member. I strongly recommend sticking this list on your fridge and referring to it before you print tshirts, press vinyl, book rehearsals, advertising, travel, book promo photos, go record shopping, buy a gym membership..!! Seriously, you can save hundreds of dollars minimum annually – the membership pays for itself quickly.

Have you ever taken advantage of the membership benefits as an artist?

I’ve actually taken 4 years off music as I was making “Amateur Hour”, but I’m about to record my next album and am definitely gonna open up my album budget spreadsheet and figure out where I can save some money. The most appealing benefit on the list to me is the Bluestone Insurance, which is incredibly cheap for MV members. My insurance expired years ago and I live in fear of having my guitar stolen and not being able to replace it.

On top of the usual music and performance based services Music Vic works with, this year you guys announced partnerships with organisations that focus on artists minds and bodies. Tell us a bit about what these organisations offer and about the decision to partner with them came about?

Yeah, we really wanted to be able to offer more health benefits to our members beyond the more obvious ones like free hearing checks and discounted earplugs (which we already offer). Musicians often burn themselves out and creative types in general are prone to mental and physical health issues. My colleague Al has worked hard to set up discount partnerships with The Melbourne Meditation Centre, Genesis Fitness, The Mind Room, The School of Life and INSPIRED Healing and Wellness. We appreciate that everyone has a different approach to how they care for their physical and mental health. Some people want to have quiet time led by a coach, some people want to talk about it or sit in a workshop and learn tips for managing things, some are more spiritual, others wanna just get in a gym and sweat out the toxins. We have tried to cover all possible bases!

What’s the best way for people to get in touch about membership benefits if they have any questions? I understand that if you rock up to the office the whole thing will be laid out in song, but for those people who prefer to check things out online…any links?

Haha! Please don’t expect us to sing the benefits to you across 5 genres – I had to return that silver electropop costume and don’t actually own anything silver in real life. Once you become a member, you are prompted to create an online account so you can log into the members section of our site. Once you’ve “hacked into the mainframe” (i.e. created this account – it takes 2 secs), you can access our Member Benefits Explained page, which tells you all you need to know so that you can quickly start cashing in on those sweet sweet benefits. If you’re still confused, you can email us with the contact form. Have fun!

The Music Victoria 2018 membership drive runs from March 19th – 29th.