Ash Murdica

Newsboys Regional Music Award

Interview with 2022 recipient Ash Murdica (Warragul, Victoria)

With applications for the 2023 Newsboys Regional Music Award now open, we thought we’d chat with this year’s award winner – multi-instrumentalist Ash Murdica. Ash hails from the town of Warragul in Gippsland and is a musician with ambition. As part of the Newsboys prize, Ash received an all-expenses paid musical week in Melbourne in 2022.

Why did you choose the guitar and piano, and how long have you been playing?
I have been playing both piano and guitar for around 5 and a half years now. I was inspired to learn piano in year 8 because of youtuber Dan Howell and Brendon Urie of Panic! Of the Disco, so I soon started getting lessons from a family friend. Guitar has been something that’s been passed down through my family. My uncles used to play in rock bands, one of them taught my sister how to play, and that was then passed down to me through her.

Who are your musical heroes?
My biggest musical inspirations are my high school music teachers, who have supported me, believed in me, and gave me the opportunities that have helped me get to where I am today. Another musical inspiration is my guitar mentor and friend, who played alongside me (on the same score!) in my first musical, who I continue to look up to and learn from.

Other musical heroes include creators like Lin Manuel Miranda and Alex Lacamoire, who have created some of the most successful musicals of the modern era, in which we owe so much of our current theatre history-making.

What has been your performance highlight so far?
My biggest performance highlight so far is the first musical I performed in – Wicked with Warragul Theatre Company. I felt that this was my ‘big break’ out of high school, and it gave me a really warm and welcoming path to follow as I graduated. Through playing in this musical, I met my best friend, who soon became a bandmate, theatre buddy and co-worker at our local music store. I’m grateful that Wicked was able to give me such an early introduction into what I soon became so passionate about, and it has helped to shape the past year of my life.

How would you describe your overall experience in Melbourne?
My overall experience in Melbourne was very rewarding but also quite tiring, filled with music lessons, mentor sessions, and free live music concerts at the Melbourne Recital Centre. I also got free tickets to some of the current leading musicals in Melbourne, Cinderella and Hamilton! I was very lucky to be chosen for the award as I come from the regional area of Warragul, and the city is only this year beginning to get a bit closer.

What did you enjoy the most about the Newsboys Regional Music Award Prize?
The part I enjoyed the most about the Newsboys Regional Music Award Prize was being able to sit in the Hamilton orchestra pit to observe, which was a very surreal and inspiring experience. Since I played in my first musical, it’s been my dream goal to be able to pursue musical theatre professionally, so I was so excited to be able to get a taste of what this would be like. I got to sit in the break room with the band members before the show and during interval, and they were all so sweet and humble. I also took some mementos from the show like the guitarist’s spare guitar pick and a broken string!

What skills did you gain from having sessions with some of Australia’s top performers and educators?
From having sessions with some of Australia’s top performers and educators, the greatest thing I gained was the life advice that I took away with me. Some of these include… staying in my community theatre bubble for as long as I can, to make every mistake and learn from them; 85% of your job is being good to work with, the rest is actually knowing how to play; don’t be scared when people know more than you, they’re just on a different path.

What is next for you in your music journey?
In my music journey, I plan to get as much experience as I can in community theatre, and hopefully make my way into the professional Melbourne scene. I’m currently involved in four local shows that are coming up over the next three months, so it’s a very busy time! I am currently branching out into musical direction, being rehearsal pianist as well as playing in the orchestra pit. I am obsessed with musical theatre and want to do as much as I can in whatever amount of time I have left!

Any thoughts for the Newsboys Foundation who fund this program?
Thank you to the Newsboys Foundation for providing regional students and disadvantaged youth with the opportunities that we may otherwise be missing out on. Your work is very appreciated!

Why should students apply for the Newsboys Regional Music Award for 2023?
Students should apply for the Newsboys Regional Music Award for 2023 because it is such a fun and rewarding week, catered to your own interests! The organisers are so helpful and friendly and honestly do everything in their power to make sure you are well-catered for and have everything that you might require. Take the chance and submit your application now!

Applications for the 2023 Newsboys Foundation Regional Music Award are now open and will close on Friday 16 September 2022 at midnight.

Please read the Award Guidelines located in the Downloads section of this page.


The Newsboys Regional Music Award is supported by the Newsboys Foundation and the Melbourne Recital Centre.