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The Australia Council for the Arts is offering Australian songwriters an opportunity to live in Nashville and immerse themselves in the local music scene for three months.

Australia Council Director Music Paul Mason said the Nashville Songwriter Residency, now in its second year, would include mentoring by one of Australia’s most successful producers.

Nashville has always had a reputation as being a major music town and its commitment to songwriting goes beyond any specific style, Mr Mason said.

This residency is open to all songwriters. The Australia Council awarded the residency last year to Chris Altmann and Travis Caudle.

Mr Mason said the residency would enable songwriters to develop their writing skills, build creative and business networks and connect with other artists to co-write and collaborate. Australian producer and Nashville resident Mark Moffatt facilitates the program.

Mr Moffatt said Nashville had seen enormous growth even in the past 12 months and continued to stretch musical boundaries.

The city should be firmly on the Australian industry’s horizon and the Australia Council is playing an important role in ensuring that by providing opportunities for writers that would not be there otherwise, Mr Moffatt said.

Last year’s recipient, Travis Caudle, said the residency allowed him to make valuable connections and record his latest release It’s Just You.

Most people think they have to go to LA or New York, but all the infrastructure is in Nashville and to be able to soak up a city known as music city as well as the opportunity to work with Mark Moffatt was a great experience, Travis said.

He really helped out with contacts and getting to know Nashville and who I should approach.

Travis said recording his new release was the highlight.

Mark put together some amazing musicians to record with me, including guys who had worked with people such as Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson, and he played on three songs, Travis said.

They would have one listen to my song and then they would play it like they had played it for 10 years.

It was an amazing way to work.

Travis found his Nashville experience so beneficial he extended his stay by nearly three months and is planning a return visit this year to capitalise on the contacts he made and record the songs he wrote during his residency.

Travis has some advice for those applying for the residency: Definitely do it if you want to immerse yourself in the music industry in America, but pick what you want to achieve in those three months.

The Nashville Songwriter Residency provides up to $15,000 to cover transport, accommodation and living costs.

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