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As the folks who promote shows, own venues and merchandising companies, take a role in management, sell you your ticket, help with reselling the ones you can’t use, and, to borrow from George Harrison, may well get a cut of the pennies on your eyes, Live Nation own all of us coming (and staying) and going at a gig.

A behemoth on a music business savannah of mostly hefty beasts and some pesky fringe riders, all mindful and jealous of its reach and clout, Live Nation could well rest on its wide hindquarters and feast. But no. To mix animal kingdom metaphors, they need to be constantly moving, hoovering up the new, the fresh and the not yet identified to stay alive and thrashing.

Which brings us to Ones To Watch.

Begun in Live Nation’s home territory of the USA, Ones To Watch is the company’s come-up-and-see program for bringing those new/fresh artists to the attention of an audience of not just gig-goers but what the industry likes to call “industry professionals” – bookers, labels, journalists, radio programmers etc – but which regular folk might call freeloaders. Or idiots. Or wankers. (Which is not nice you know, we have feelings too. And someone has to drink the free drinks.)

Anyway, LN put on the show, curate the guest list, open it up to regular folk, pay the performers, and the artists turn up, play, hopefully impress, and then one day secure a LN slot as support, headliner, moneymaker. And what’s more, the company is now throwing in $10,000 to help with other live performances of the selected artists.

It’s been done in Melbourne already and this year the showcase is in Sydney, tonight, at Oxford Art Factory, with performances by Bella Amor, Sam McGovern and Lola Scott.

More about them soon, but what’s really in it for Live Nation, I asked LN promoter/representative, Paul Lynch.

“It’s all about the future for us, investing in the next generation of Australian artists,” Lynch said in written responses. “As a promoter at Live Nation I have a focus on working with a range of domestic acts across the board both large-scale and emerging. Being involved with an artist at the beginning of their careers is exciting and in the long-term very rewarding as a promoter in several ways.”

Ideally that long term would involve a promoter/artist relationship, one extending beyond support slots in Australia given the “leveraging” of LN’s network now could see the Australians emulate international acts who have been through this system, such as Olivia Rodrigo, Dua Lip and Imagine Dragons.

As for who gets picked and why for Ones To Watch, if you think it’s all down to talent and potential being sniffed out by a canny company receiving “tonnes” of submissions, you are sweet but sweetly naïve. Having the talent is but one criterion, but this is an organisation wanting to see the ground has been broken already via strong streaming numbers and online presence.

“This shows that there is an existing audience that is starting to take notice,” Lynch said. “From a live music perspective, it is great to see that an artist has a growing following within their scene and an existing local fanbase. If they are already selling out some small capacity rooms this is a big bonus.”

What is also essential is what Lynch describes as “a solid team around them”, meaning manager, label, agent. In short: if your shit’s in order, serious shit might get done.

So, who are the three showcasing tonight? How are they being sold? And who else would they recommend you listen to?

Lola Scott – from Sydney.

Around since 2018, with an EP that year called ¼ Life Crisis, and another in 2022, Breakfast For Dinner. Expect “a sharp blend of dream-pop, ‘90s grunge and a wickedly fresh take on chaotic pop”.

Lola’s recommendations are:

The Pirate Song - Hannah brewer

First Journal - @

D*ckhard/Rockstar - CRITTER

Darkeve - Lutalo

I Heard You Bought A Gun - Swansea Skag

Sam McGovern – from WA.

(Photo by Cedric Tang)

Appeared around 2021, has a Western Australian Music song of the year nomination for his first release, Grown, and “achieved viral notoriety” and 20 million views across the wide expanse of social media for a subsequent single, Memory.

Sam’s recommendations are:

Ben Morgan


Ella Gilbert

Bella Amor – from the Gold Coast.

(Photo by XingerXanger)

Her 2020 debut was the song, Beauty, and she is “inspired by the soulful and rich tones permeating music by the likes of Matt Corby and YEBBA”. Three more singles, including this year’s Sentimental, have followed with “emotional explorations and honest observations on life”.

Bella’s recommendations are:

Dumb Like Daisies – Nitefire. “I have been into this band for a minute and think they're really groovy and I really like their edge. It's a great combination of old school punkish rock vibes and new age shit. I really enjoy their melodies it makes me really happy to scream their songs in my car.”

Fern – aleksiah. “Lexi is just the most beautiful angel and her voice is INCREDIBLE. I’ve seen her live and it was an experience I think everyone should have. She's got an amazing talent an her song writing is just otherworldly and I love her stuff so much. defs one of my fave tracks ever.

Heal You – Tyne-James Organ. “I just love Tyne's voice and what he talks about in this song. The melodies are bloody beautiful and make me feel so many things. I admire his song writing skills and the composition of his songs - he's a very talented human.”

Live Nation’s Ones To Watch is being held at Oxford Art Factory, June 22.


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