20 May 2023

Stella Studioz on song for overseas success

| Siobhan O'Brien
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stage room

The Stella Studioz stage room, where students of all ages practise and perform. Photo: Stella Studioz.

Towns get reputations just like people. Once history decides, there’s no turning back.

For many years Nowra, on the NSW South Coast, wasn’t a destination. It was regarded as the place to access specialist care, buy a car or drive through on your way to somewhere else.

Scratch the surface and you’ll notice things have changed. Entrepreneurs have reclaimed the old buildings, revamped the industrial units and unveiled ambitious endeavours that are equal to – if not better than – those of their city counterparts.

READ ALSO Hyper Hyper Coffee brews up interest in the South Coast coffee scene

Stella Studioz, a vocal and performance workspace in the heart of Nowra, is a good example. What started in a bedroom in the nearby village of Cambewarra has morphed into a multi-award-winning business that boasts a suite of professional studios, modules in everything from production to violin and hundreds of students from as far afield as Saudi Arabia.

If that makes you tired, spare a thought for the founder, singer-songwriter Sian Ludlow. She’s currently based part time in the aforementioned country, with plans to set new boundaries within the Saudi music industry.

group of people in Saudi Arabia

Stella Studioz founder Sian Ludlow with her business partners meeting with the Ministry of Investment in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Photo: Stella Studioz.

According to managing director Sam Tacey: “Music has only recently become permissible in Saudi Arabia as a career or an education pathway. Our studio is currently working with overseas partners to kickstart an industry which until recently was imported from neighbouring countries such as Lebanon and Egypt.

”This project has many facets and is a real work in progress but fundamentally it focuses on young people, music and empowering women. Additionally, we have longer-term plans in place with our partners to found a university of music.”

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Closer to home, this forward-thinking enterprise recently launched a large-scale production studio in South Nowra that features more than one machine that goes bing. In a nutshell, it’s a space that houses everything that’s required for fancy audio, graphic and film production. It’s also perfect for corporate events and such.

“It’s a real step up from what’s been on offer anywhere on the South Coast,” Tacey says.

”Now local artists don’t need to travel to the city to shoot a film clip or for corporates to record an advertisement. They have everything they need on their doorstep. Music, film, pre/post-production or whatever. The flip side is that bigger-name artists from the cities are now coming to us.”

Stella Studioz staff celebrate

Staff celebrate winning the Shoalhaven Business Awards 2022 Small Business of the Year. Photo: Stella Studioz.

Although Stella Studioz has spread its wings to wow an overseas market, it is still committed to local happenings. It has plans with community-minded businesses and stakeholders to build a bridge between industry and talent. A recent example is a trade partnership developed alongside registered training organisation the Illawarra ITeC to deliver a Certificate III in Music.

“We have our first round of students coming through,” Tacey says. ”Our intention is to redefine the platforms and leverage points for musicians and artists. This can be achieved through events, content creation and such. Ultimately, we’d like to be able to give them the support they need to be represented in an international market.”

It’s no wonder Stella Studioz is revered as the only business of its kind in the Shoalhaven, and arguably the state or the country.

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