The sky is the limit for singer songwriter Alex Hosking who’s billed to play the Handpicked Festival this weekend.
Sharing the stage with the likes of Jessica Mauboy, Sheppard and Thirsty Merc, the one-day event at Lake Breeze promises a perfect day of contemporary music, food and wine.
SA born and bred Hosking joins fellow local acts Joshy Willo, Ash Gale and DJ, Ryley to complete the lineup for her first ever festival, which she is thrilled about.
“I’ve never done a festival before so the fact that I’ve been privileged enough to be put on the bill is so cool. I am so excited and nervous. To be chosen to support some incredible artists is amazing,” she says.
Despite being her first festival, the 21-year-old certainly isn’t new to music.
She’s been writing music since childhood and has a number of accomplishments to her name.
“I just loved performing, dancing and acting when I was little, so any opportunity I could get, I took. I couldn’t get enough of it. I did a lot of stage productions and I became part of every choir and band at school. I tried every different instrument – not that I was amazing at any of them, but I continued with piano,” she laughs.
“In year two, I wrote my first little song which gave me my first taste of song writing.”
From her humble beginnings as the only song writer in year two at St Peters Girls School, Hosking continued the lonely road to success through primary school.
“When I was in about year five, they offered me a singing position in the St Peters Girls rock band which was unheard of because it was mainly only senior students; but because I was the only one who was song writing, they asked me to join,” she says.
“My songs weren’t very good but they happily entertained the idea. My teacher gave me encouragement that I could do what I whatever I wanted to do. I recorded a couple of songs there and then I continued that pathway.”
These days, Hosking is signed with a publishing house, writes with a range of artists, has written a chart topping song and she’s barely entered her twenties.
After releasing her first album, Wish in 2012, a Sydney based publisher recognised her song writing talent and approached her to work with them.
“I’m signed to Perfect Pitch Publishing,” she says. “It was massive because it was my very first album and they picked it up straight away. I write songs and send them to Perfect Pitch and if they like them they send them on to record labels.”
As well as Perfect Pitch, Hosking is working with a number of DJs at home and overseas, and her music is currently being heard around the club circuit in Europe.
“I’ve just released some dance tracks that have done quite well in Europe. The guys speak French so it can be pretty difficult but we’ve done three or four tracks and they’ve been doing the party scene. They’re quite Euro. They’re intense dance, techno, trap style. Whatever that means!” she laughs.
“I love working with DJs because it’s easy having someone to bounce off, even if they don’t speak your language! They have their sound and you can kind of chuck stuff in there and send things back and forth. I’ve really enjoyed doing it.”
But it’s not just the DJs who are interested in Hosking’s writing. She recently received an opportunity via Music SA to travel interstate and work with world-renowned writers.
“Music SA are such incredible supporters. They got me into this thing called 50 Songs in 5 Days. It’s a song writing camp in Sydney. It was such a humbling experience to be chosen. I got to write with a bunch of song writers, producers and artists,” she says.
“I got to work with Christina Aguilera and Beyonce’s songwriters; with the Potbelleez lead singer and Jake Stone from Bluejuice. I worked with The X Factor and The Voice contestants from Australia and New Zealand, and from doing that, one of the songs I co-wrote got cut for Celia Pavey, one of the contestants on The Voice who released it. It’s called ‘Body’ and it made it into the top ten of the iTunes charts.”
With so much experience in so young an artist, Hosking is at an exciting time in her career; but the humble musician insists she is only now just finding her forte.
“I’m still quite green and I don’t know everything. I’m still locally based, but I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to write in America. It is a business so I’m also learning that side of things; it’s not just all fun and games. It’s a job and I’ve had many learning curves. But it’s just all about taking every opportunity and making the most of it. It’s been an awesome ride so far,” she says.
“Wish was my introduction to the music industry. It’s a combination of songs I’ve been writing since I was twelve. ‘Wish on a Star’ is a song I wrote when I was thirteen. I’m 21 now and I’m at a different place. I’m constantly learning and progressing and I’ve found my niche now.”
Her niche, though, could be as varied and versatile as the rising star herself, with her ability to write for a range of genres and styles.
“I’m a songwriter so however I’m feeling and whatever I’m listening to; I just want to express it. When I was younger I listened to a lot of heavy rock music and I loved bands. I was listening to a lot of Screamo and I really liked writing heavy, lyric-based stuff for males,” she says.
“I’m still trying to find my sound and what I want to be. At the moment it’s quite eclectic. I’ve just come back from Brisbane where I recorded some hip hop tracks.”
Defining her style as pop/Aussie hip hop, Hosking attributes her diverse ability and music taste to growing up in Adelaide and listening to local artists.
“Rapping and Aussie hip hop has a strong place in Adelaide and that’s been a real influence on me. I’ve always been heavily into hip hop, and having the Hilltop Hoods growing up were a real inspiration,” she says.
“It’s hard to be an Adelaide person and not have heard of people like The Hoods, Allday and Tkay Maidza because Adelaide is so small, but also because they’re so influential. I’m glad I grew up in Adelaide because it’s helped me to define my sound.”
Her recent work with ARIA nominated producer Stuart Stuart, (who produced The Veronica’s first two records and Sheppard’s album), has seen her being part of a hip hop revolution of sorts.
“Normally you have the feature person doing the chorus and the artist doing the rap but I’m doing both. I don’t know many people doing that and that excites me. It’s pretty similar to Allday. Tkay Maidza is also doing similar stuff,” she says.
Managed by Scott Ireland, Hosking is taking advantage of every opportunity that comes her way, Handpicked Festival being no exception.
She’s written and recorded for artists, performed her own music around SA and even had a stint on The X Factor, but this Adelaide girl is grounded, strong willed and prepared to work hard for her success.
After leaving St Peters Girls to finish up her schooling at Pembroke School, Hosking learned musicianship and production.
Now, despite being approached weekly by international artists to write with them, she still seeks advice from her teachers about her music and choices.
“I have a small team of people I like to work with. I have my manager who has recently come on board, and my singing coaches who have been there from the start and who are major supporters. If I have an idea I love to run it by them and I trust their opinion. My manager, Scott has been amazing because he’s helping the crazy musician’s mind to focus!” she laughs.
You can check out Alex Hosking’s album Wish on iTunes or better yet, head along to Handpicked Festival where you can enjoy the music of this impressive young woman against a picturesque winery backdrop. By Libby Parker
Photos courtesy of Alex Hosking
*Originally published in the print edition of BSide Magazine