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Groundbreaking program helps Matilda make her mark

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Talented singer-songwriter Matilda Pearl is striking a chord with her music. The Year 11 Peninsula Grammar student has gone from strength to strength since participating in the school’s innovative music production and songwriting program.

After the construction of an industry-standard production studio room and the employment of platinum-selling songwriter/producers Lionel Towers (Gypsy & The Cat) and Stephen Docker (Strange Talk), the program is flourishing, with students writing and producing music, and Matilda has blossomed under the pair’s mentorship. “I bring my songs to them and they help me with recording,” she said. “All my tracks have been recorded in the school studio.” 

Matilda said the program had been a turning point. “Until I started I was not writing songs; I had done little melodies at home. Lionel and Stephen gave me a way to go about writing songs. I never thought that was something I could do.” 

Matilda is classically trained and has worked with the Victorian Opera; consequently, she jumps between genres including indie, opera, pop, jazz and early music. She terms her sound “glock pop” because when experimenting with different sounds and samples she was drawn to the glockenspiel and now features it on all her tracks.

Her achievements this year alone have been highly impressive — her catchy tunes, including Dry Eyes, have been played on Triple J and she had the honour of being named in Triple J Unearthed’s High Yearbook: Class of 2019. On making the Triple J Unearthed Top 10 from 1500 entrants, Matilda said: “I was so happy with that. Unearthed is the industry leader in Australian music discovery.”

Matilda also attended a songwriting camp in LA with world-famous songwriters and gained valuable tips from successful recording artists. Other highlights have included singing with Lior and performing one of his duets that was originally recorded with Sia, and she has also played with The Cat Empire’s Ross Irwin.

A multi-instrumentalist, Matilda is going all out to pursue her passion for music and is keen to play at festivals, particularly after a sensational performance supporting Killing Heidi’s Ella Hooper at Musiqua Hastings earlier this year.

Program creator and Peninsula Grammar’s head of studio and instrumental music, Dr Richard Vaudrey, said he was rapt to see students such as Matilda gaining the skills and confidence to grow creatively. “I wanted to foster this and offer students expert guidance and the facilities to do more than simply learn other people’s music.” 

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