Ballarat rapper Mitchell Burgess has locked in his spot in the Freeza Push Start grand final at St Kilda Festival on Sunday.
Burgess, who performs as EMBE, had to win both Ballarat and regional finals to progress in the statewide youth music competition.
“There is a lot of pressure going up there and being a solo act, it’s just me so I have to tell these stories through my rap and it’s very personal stuff, it can be quite intimidating sometimes,” he said.
“But (at the regional final) I just had so much fun with it because I wasn’t really thinking about the competition, I was just happy I had made it this far.”
With the regional final held at Karova Lounge in Ballarat, the 21 year old said the energy and interaction with the crowd had helped propel his performance.
“It just came out exactly how I practised it, but probably a little bit more,” he said.
“I really worked with the crowd, and that’s something I have practised but never really done so heavily, but everyone got really into it.”
Burgess, who is also on the youth council and runs rap workshops with disadvantaged youth, was grateful for the competition and the opportunities that had come with it.
“Whether or not you win the competition, the fact that you’re putting yourself out there I think is a big achievement,” he said.
“It’s not just about the performance, the producing, and the live sound, it’s also outside of the music.
“Speaking to the fans or speaking to the other artists and making sure everyone is having a good time, because that’s probably the most important thing about live music.”
The young artist is now preparing to perform songs from his upcoming EP at the Melbourne-based grand final in front of what will be his biggest crowd yet.
Not only is he looking forward to building his fan base at St Kilda Festival by getting his music out to a new audience, he hopes to make connections with professionals in the industry.
“Everything that has been happening recently has been so much more than I could ever ask for,” he said.