In a partnership between APRA AMCOS and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Express Yourself – Queer Discovery is a showcase series looking for up and coming queer talent across Australia.

Express Yourself – Queer Discovery will see three showcases happen in the lead up to Mardi Gras 2021. Each showcase will feature two emerging LGBTQI artists who will perform alongside an established artist to a room of guest judges. These judges will be from the LGBTQI community as well as the music industry.

With three showcases planned, a total of six up and coming queer artists will have the chance to perform, with two being chosen to perform at Mardi Gras in 2021.

The first showcase will be held at The Beresford Upstairs on Saturday November 28. NSW artist Montaigne will headline this showcase. With Montaigne also in preparation to represent Australian at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021, this will undoubtedly be an incredible opportunity for up and coming LGBTQI Australian artists to perform.

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 In conversation with Star Observer Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger emphasised that this showcase series is “all about supporting these artists.”

Kruger stated that the idea for Express Yourself – Queer Discovery came about after a survey was conducted by Mardi Gras in May. The purpose of this survey was to gain a better understanding of what is expected of Mardi Gras by the LGBTQI community. The results of this survey, according to Kruger, indicated that there is an expectation for Mardi Gras to always be “on” and to support the community throughout the entire year.

COVID-19 has also undoubtedly been a huge blow to the arts and entertainment industry not only in NSW, but throughout Australia. Kruger stated that in developing the concept for this showcase series with APRA AMCOS, there were significant discussions around “how we want to support queer artists in this COVID environment.”

Kruger has revealed to Star Observer that all the headliners will be queer artists, and that he hopes there will be some sort of mentorship available between headliners, industry heavyweights and the emerging artists that are chosen to perform. Kruger also stated that a multi-year agreement has been made with APRA AMCOS and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for the next three years, so that there will be 10 showcases in total leading up to, and including, Sydney WorldPride 2023.

Applications are currently open Australia-wide for Express Yourself – Queer Discovery.

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