Leading musician tells students be unique

Leading New Zealand songwriter and musician Warren Maxwell had some career advice for MusicArts students when he visited CPIT recently to share his many years of experience, during four days of intensive workshops.

Maxwell is well known as the co-founder of Trinity Roots, sax player for Fat Freddy’s Drop and frontman for The Little Bushman. He is a Bachelor of Music graduate and also teaches music.

“Be different and be amazing,” he told students.

“Be really proficient on your instrument or vocals.”

Maxwell believes that “not everyone needs an institute. I did because I lacked the discipline. The priority is becoming proficient so I strongly recommend study. Being with like-minded people five, six, seven days a week; you exchange albums, you exchange philosophies. There are lots of benefits to being in that environment for two or three years and you come out with a bit of paper that gives more colour for the palette.”

Maxwell says although the music industry has changed and the major labels no longer enjoy the control they once had it’s still challenging to be successful as a professional musician with so many bands around. He advises young musicians to go deeper and bring unexpected approaches to their music. “Think outside the square. Why not, for example, put a bass clarinet with a mandolin over dubstep? Be different.”