Jem Cassar-Daley has played at Queenscliff Music Festival before — in 2019 with her dad, renowned Aussie country musician Troy Cassar-Daley.
“We were in this beautiful tent, and I could just see the energy in the crowd. It was just absolutely beautiful,” the 22-year-old said.
“I hopped up for a little song… It was the first year I’d done any performances at all so I was very nervous, but I must say it was one of my favourite festivals.”
Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.
This year she’s back with her own music to share, and five years of impressive musical accolades behind her.
Since her Debut EP, I Don’t Know Who to Call (2022), the indie pop artist and proud Gumbaynggirr/Bundjalung woman has dazzled the Australian music scene.
The EP revealed her smooth-toned vocals and timeless songwriting to match her captivating performances.
Cassar-Daley supported Thelma Plum on her 2022 national tour, won the NIMA New Talent of the Year, QMA Indigenous Artist of the Year for ‘Letting Go’ and was the Triple J Unearthed competition winner to support Gang of Youths at their festival, ‘A More Perfect Union’.
She was also a 2022 Smugglers of Light Foundation Music and Media Award finalist, NIMA Album of the Year finalist, and has been a QMA Billy Thorpe Scholarship finalist for two years running in 2022 and 2023.
But while she’s making her mark on the big stages, to Cassar-Daley, festivals like this are still where the magic is.
“Festivals like this, they bring people to such a beautiful town, and they include local artists, but also celebrates artists from across the country and around the world.”
Cassar-Daley said she is over the moon to watch the other artists this year at QMF.
This year Aussie Indie folk favourites will be taking to the stage, with Boy & Bear joining Something For Kate, Illy, Dan Sultan, Liz Stringer, Ian Moss, The Dreggs, Ngulmiya, and more, alongside numerous international sensations including Irish Foy Vance, G. Love and Special Sauce.
“To be even in that pool of great people is just incredible as a young developing artist. It’s very inspiring.”
“It’s a really great opportunity to be surrounded and inspired as well by experienced and seasoned musicians and to meet them along the way.
“Foy Vance is one of my particular favourites… and I’ve always wanted to see Liz Stringer perform.”
This year the 25th Queenscliff Music Festival will run from November 23 to 26. And while she’s here, Cassar-Daley said she’ll be visiting lots of the local art galleries – with The Salt Contemporary Art Gallery and The Sea View Gallery on her list of local must-sees.
At the festival, Cassar-Daley will put on display her ever-evolving gorgeously diverse soundscape of indie pop songs.
“There’s a song that I wrote when I was over in the UK recently… it’s called ‘Space Between’… and I’ve just found that I just have such a deep connection with it, I think because it was my first time overseas by myself.”
“This one is all about trying to reach out to someone, but you’re up in a plane and you’re in flight mode, so you can’t.”
“And I have one that I wrote over in the UK. It’s called ‘Growing’. I co-wrote it with Josh Oliver…. So that’s one that I’m really looking forward to sharing for the first time.”
“I will also hopefully be able to play my version from the triple j Like A Version of ‘The Sweet Escape’ live for the first time… so I’m very excited to put that in the setlist.”
Cassar-Daley’s said her sound is a unique combination of her early inspirations including Missy Higgins, Joni Mitchell and Carole King, her heroes Courtney Barnett, Phoebe Bridgers and Julia Jacklin, and the recent favourites she’s rinsing right now, Alex G and Japanese House.
As a proud Gumbaynggirr/Bundjalung woman, Cassar-Daley said she comes from a long line of storytellers, something that also deeply affects her songs.
“Music is something that my family have always done when we’ve been together, so I feel like it’s so ingrained in my DNA that it really is just kind of second nature.”
This was a connection she shared at QMF when she sang with her dad in 2019.
“We played a The Louvin Brothers song together. It’s one that we grew up singing all together as a family.
“Really surreal for one of my first performances… so to comeback is really special.”
Don’t miss out on the 25th Queenscliff Music Festival, set to run from November 23rd to 26th. It’s your chance to be a part of a music celebration that’s set to leave a lasting impression. For all the festival details, including the interpreted performances, visit www.qmf.net.au.
This article was made in partnership with Queenscliff Music Festival