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Village Festival gig gives Yeppoon singer-songwriter CQU support on-stage and off

Published:24 June 2022

Raining Roses members Sophie Rose Blackman and Damien Blackman perform at the CQUniversity Village Festival.

She’s preparing to rock the CQUniversity Village Festival stage for an incredible 11th time, and Central Queensland singer-songwriter Sophie Rose Blackman is bringing new confidence to performing as she faces her biggest crowd yet.

The 25-year-old Kinka Beach musician, who will perform with her band Raining Roses, said nerves aren’t a problem after a lifetime of performing, from her earliest days putting on family concerts and busking.

“There’s a photo of me on my fifth birthday, with the Hi-5 microphone and stand and little amp that my parents got me, and even back then singing was all I wanted to do!” she said.

The granddaughter of regional Queensland opera singer Doreen Hunt, Sophie said her goal had always been a career in music, but it took a long time to consider studying for the profession.

“I left school early to work on my career, and I did regret that decision,” she said.

But after years performing at the CQUniversity Village Festival, often in front of the logo of lead festival partner CQU, Sophie said the pandemic, and the pause on live music, made her rethink her study opportunities.

“In 2020 we suddenly lost all of our gigs, and it was really hard – I was feeling really down on myself, because I knew this is my purpose, so what do I do?”

“I knew I could study music with CQUniversity, and my husband really encouraged me - it seemed like the perfect opportunity to really understand and grow my craft and my career.”

In 2020, Sophie began CQUniversity’s STEPS (Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies), and through the pathway program gained direct entry into a Bachelor of Music in 2021.

“STEPS was really good at helping me learn the academia side of things, things I hadn’t thought about for eight years since I’d been at high school!” she said.

“It’s made me feel more comfortable in the degree – so I’m confident with my music, but also confident I know what I’m doing with assignments and theory, too.”

Juggling full-time study with a full-time music career has been a challenge, but Sophie said it’s been encouraging to know lecturers are often in the same boat.

“They are so understanding – sometimes I’ll say, I can’t get to that lecture because I have a gig, and they’ll say, that’s great, I have one too!” she laughed.

With her husband and producer Damien Blackman, who has also learnt to play bass to join Raining Roses, Sophie is working towards the next big challenge of releasing Raining Roses’ first album.

Focusing her degree on performance and production, Sophie says she’s learning a lot to improve her the process, including the technical side of recording and producing.

Because she’s studying online, she’s also been able to make classes fit around her performing – as well as connecting and collaborating with other local students.

Sophie loves knowing that CQUniversity is a key supporter of the Village Festival, which she sees as a vital part of the region’s live music scene.

“The Village Festival has done a lot for me and my career, it’s helped bring me from a little kid busking on the street to the big stage!”

“It’s so important to support live music in regional Australia, so I’m really happy to be studying with CQU, knowing they support the Village Festival.”

This year, performing at 5pm on the Friday night, Sophie’s predicting the crowd will be the biggest she’s seen yet.

But she’s determined her career will keep in touch with small crowds, too.

“Yeppoon is amazing for live music, but we also go out west a lot, and on those tours we’ll have kids who are five or six dancing along, and their parents will tell us it’s the first time they’ve seen live music!” she said.

“So that’s a huge honour, and that’s the reason I make my songs and perform – I just want to bring music to everyone.”

Follow Sophie Blackman’s band Raining Roses at m.facebook.com/Raining-Roses-152214743641292/, or on Instagram at instagram.com/rainingrosesofficial.

For the full CQUniversity Village Festival lineup visit thevillagefestival.org.au, tickets are on sale now for events across Friday 5 August – Sunday 14 August 2022.

To learn more about CQUniversity’s Music courses, visit cqu.edu.au/courses/creative-performing-visual-arts.