Interview with Mason Hope, Singer, Songwriter and Headspace Ambassador

Mason Hope is a 19-year-old singer, songwriter from the Sunshine coast. Mason is also a national Ambassador of Headspace having joined the Headspace committee at age 11. Musically, Mason is influenced by artists such as Marlon Williams, Shane Nicholson, Zac brown band, and James Taylor.

Mason has enjoyed performances at The Caloundra Music Festival (2016 & 2017), Gympie Muster (2016 & 2017) and Tamworth Country Music Festival (2016, 2017, 2018). He has had support slots with Australia icons Russell Morris, Travis Collins, Christie Lamb, Simply Bushed, Christina Anu, Joe Camilleri & The Black Sorrows, and has been on the bill with Troy Cassar-Daley and Fanny Lumsden
Diesel, Travis Collins, to name a few.

The road ahead seems to be very bright for this multi-instrumentalist. In 2016 mason won Voice of Urban and the 2016 Gympie Music Muster Talent search. Mason was also a featured vocalist in 2016 Creative Generations, which was televised on channel Ten. 2017 saw Mason bringing home the trophy to Australia as the Trans-Tasman Entertainer of the year, which was held on Norfolk Island. All this before turning 18!

The documentary ‘Out Loud’, to be aired within the upcoming months, dedicates an episode to Mason’s story; following him from Bluesfest, Gympie Muster, Caloundra Country Music Festival, Horizon Festival and finishing at Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Mason has a passion for sharing his story through his music and with his work with Headspace as well as representing his region as a Sunshine Coast arts and cultural ambassador.

 

Hi Mason, thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. You came across our path at RASN as a talented emerging musician hailing from the Sunny Coast. Reading your bio, one could be fooled into thinking you were older than just 19! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself, how you first got into music and your journey to where you are now performing with some of the greats of Country music?

I first started music as a drummer and I still love drumming while at school I went through my drum grade exams. But above all I loved drumming. I picked up a guitar and started singing, Song writing was an instant love for me, to express and convey a story through song is amazing. I wandered into a country music comp as some friends where in it and I competed with an original song and won, such  a complete surprise I was 16 and then of course the iconic national Gympie muster talent search I thought what a great experience to be part of and I was fortunate to win the title when i was 17. Winning the muster talent search enabled me to compete in the trans Tasman Entertainer of the year held on Norfolk Island during their country music festival, I was so amazed to win the title and bring the trophy home to Australia, and it is such a magical event.

The country music scene is my second family it is so great to go to a festival and see a friend you haven’t seen for a while and it’s like no time has passed. And the people who love country music are the best most dedicated people and also become like family. I have been fortunate to have been on the bill with artists such as Troy Cassar-Daly, a legend and icons that I’ve been able to be support act for such as Russell Morris, the Black Sorrows I guess I am mainly a singer/songwriter and have a love of Country Alternative, modern, roots, Americana which influence my music with a big fat nod to the legends of the past. My influences and admiration are to artists such as Shane Nicholson, Marlon Williams, James Taylor, Ryan Adams, Paul Kelly but also artists like Jacob Collier, Daniel Champagne. In my spare time I listen to such a variety of music which includes French rap, barbershop quartets I love the harmonics, and it has also taught me a lot about harmonising in collaborations.

 

What do you love most about being a musician based in the regions? What challenges does this also present that you feel your peers in metropolitan centres wouldn’t be able to relate to?

I love the region I live in it is paradise really. I love the support and friendships that come from being a regional artist, the people who come to listen to my shows are amazingly supportive. Challenges for being a regional artist are distance to bigger events, sometimes feeling disconnected from the bigger picture of the music industry, but with programs and organizations such as the Creative Alliance and RASN huge progress is being made for regional artists. As well as a very supportive council and RADF team. I have been able to perform at my hometown festival Caloundra and also the Gympie muster, but have stepped outside of my region to perform at Norfolk Island, Tamworth CMF and Bluesfest. But it;s great to have that home town base.

 

 

Could you talk to us a little bit about your song writing process and how your community and experiences living within the regions has shaped your music?

My process for writing can be occasionally a very quick process, which can start from a simple chord, Other times I will have had an experience that I will process through and the last part of the process is to write the song. The first song I wrote was called “You Are My Home” I wrote this about my parental abandonment, I sang this at a festival and won the “Voice of Urban “with this song. The lyrics are simple but connect with loss in many different forms. “Why did you leave, now I’m all alone, please come back to me, you are my home”.

A recent song I have written and recorded with Shane Nicholson is very much speaking to how much men struggle to seek help with their mental health. Shane and I decided it would be a great duet and we brought on an amazing vocalist Allison Forbes, the second verse has such great feeling coming from a woman. “There’s nothing wrong with a man crying out for some help, someone to lean on when he can’t stand, someone to speak when he can’t himself “.

 

You are not only a talented musician, but you are an ambassador for Headspace. Could you tell us a little bit about the organisation, the work you do with them and why this particular organisation is special to you?

Headspace just the most amazing organization and the best choice I ever made in my life. I joined the Maroochydore Headspace youth engagement committee when I was 12, I had been bullied and was still going through depression at being abandoned; I was looking for something really positive to be involved in. We actually opened the new headspace centre in Maroochydore, I emceed the event and spoke to press about my personal lived experience and I think a quote to media   from me at the opening was, “I have now seen through being with Headspace another side of life and I would like other kids like me to have a chance to see that it can be so much better when you get to the other side of all the hurt”. This was a defining moment, the first time I had spoken in public about my life. Headspace are a strong voice in youth mental health and provide early intervention services and promote well being to the age group 12-25, they can make a huge difference in a young person’s life. I am now a headspace national youth ambassador and member of the headspace national High Energy team HY NRG, this group represents each state and territory and we work with headspace to ensure young people’s voices and opinions remain front and centre. I am always grateful to Headspace.

 

Thanks for chatting with us today! Before we wrap up, what’s next for Mason Hope? Do you have any projects coming up in the near future we can follow?

Well I have just finished recording and being produced by Shane Nicholson, who is just an amazing artist/producer. Shane is a multi award winning artist,  It was the realization of a dream to work with Shane whom I met on Norfolk Island when I competed in the Trans Tasman Entertainer of the year; Shane was a judge, I was very fortunate to win that comp with mostly original songs. I will release the first track in June and after that a music video and then I will be launching the EP at the iconic Gympie Music muster that I will be playing at this year. I am also working on some collaborations and have festivals coming up in the next six months. Of course I am always writing songs.

To find out more about Mason:

YouTube     Facebook      Instagram     Website