I found out about the Freddie Mercury scholarship whilst I was checking ACM’s website in the exciting days leading up to the start of my course – I was away travelling at the time. Before my flight back to London, I made a stopover in Germany to visit a friend for a little while. It was during my stay in the quaint town of Giengen that I wrote the song that would later win me perhaps the coolest scholarship in the world.
I spent a year in Australia, and previous to that, four months living on the beautiful island of Koh Tao, Thailand. Here I trained as a (very average) freediver, and experienced the best months of my life. It was also here that I started writing at a phenomenal rate, playing at Open Mics whenever I had the chance, and where I had my first-ever paid gigs – which just so happened to be on a beach front!
When I left Koh Tao, I was ready to take Australia by storm. It was here that I met many inspirational souls, and here that I had experiences that fuelled my creativity in ways I could never have imagined. I recorded some demos in Melbourne and soon after, headed up to Byron Bay to sell CDs, busk, live in a tent and laze around the beaches for a couple of months. I had never experienced a more community-vibed creative space than Byron Bay. My musical experiences during these travels shaped me into the artist I am now – they are what truly brought my passion out in the best light and really reminded me that this has always been, and always will be, everything to me.
Receiving the scholarship was one of the most exciting and proudest moments of my life – it really assured me that my decision to stop my life on the road (for now!) wasn’t another one of my spontaneous, emotively fuelled stupid ideas. I was on the Tube at the time with my flatmate when the email came through. I actually thought it was just going to say thanks for taking part, so you can imagine my face when I read the words ‘Congratulations!’.
I am currently recording my debut EP with my talented friend and sound engineer, Patch Boshell, which is due to be released later this year. On it will be a full version of the song I won the scholarship with, which has now been named ‘Mercury’ – as it never had a name to begin with, I felt it was the most fitting name to go with afterwards!
Vez Maxwell, January 2017
instagram - @mynameisvez