Ballarat rapper Mitchell Burgess is set to go head-to-head with three young artists to earn the remaining spot in the grand final of a state-wide music competition.
The 21 year old, who performs as EMBE, won the Ballarat Freeza Push Start competition last year to progress to Sunday’s northern country regional final, which will be held at Karova Lounge.
The young rapper said the competition has helped him close the gap between hobby musician and artist and establish industry connections.
Opportunities that have followed include opening for hip-hop artist Illy at the Karova Carpark Festival and recording his first EP as part of the Ballarat competition prize.
“It honestly means the absolute world to me, I really take my music seriously,” Burgess said. “I feel like I can call myself a rapper now.”
At the regional final, Burgess will perform songs from his yet-to-be-released EP.
“It’s really crucial for me to really engage my audience, when I’m performing a song I really want to bring everyone to the world that I’m talking about and make them see and feel something,” he said.
“I think when you go to a performance or you hear a song, if it can make you feel something really, really strongly, then it is a really good song because you are able to take something away from it being in the audience.
“I have some very personal songs, where I speak about the biggest challenges I’ve faced growing up and things that I think teenagers can really relate to… battling your inner demons and trying to find your place in this world.”
Burgess will compete against Macedon punk rock band Lazerlips, Castlemaine singer-songwriter Maya and Bendigo’s Tom Hadlow.
Doors open at 12pm with entry $5. The grand final will be held at the St Kilda Festival on February 11.
The competition is funded through the Freeza program, which is a Victorian government initiative.