Take Note leader Ellie Lamb talks representation, inspirations and motivations

“I believe representation is one of the biggest factors in changing the number of young female and GNC artists who continue making music into adulthood and consider careers in the industry.”

We caught up with our 2021 Take Note jazz leader Ellie Lamb after the announcement to learn more about her first gig, her highs and lows of being a musician and what she’s looking forward to during the Take Note journey.


Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a trombonist, vocalist, composer and arranger. I have been doing a lot of session work over the last few years as well as playing in a number of ongoing projects. I studied and mainly play jazz or jazz-adjacent music, but also play some other contemporary styles including pop and soul music. I also teach music a few days a week, and in my down time I play a lot of video games.

Tell us about your first gig: do you remember what it was like?

What a question! Growing up, I just remember that being on stage was always my favourite place to be. I love performing more than just about anything and have done from a very young age, whether it was with choirs or bands or orchestras. I remember the first pub gig I did being a total blast, playing in a ska band with my friends and dancing around like idiots the whole time.

Who are three artists that inspire you the most?

Ben Gillespie, Shannon Barnett, and the Cat Empire.

What is your favourite thing about being a musician?

Being on stage interacting with other musicians. It’s such a social occupation for me and making music together with people I love and who inspire me is incredibly motivating and fulfilling.

On the flip side, what is the hardest thing about being a musician for you?

Balance. I still haven’t worked out how to get everything done in the week that I want to and still get enough (any) sleep. But I guess it’s a work in progress!

Where were you when you were told about being the next Take Note leader? What were you doing?

I was about to run a brass ensemble rehearsal at school, actually. I’m always in a good mood at brass rehearsals anyway but it put an extra shine on that particular afternoon. I was so excited!

Why do you feel like the Take Note program is important?

It’s an acknowledgment that there is an enormous gender imbalance on the Melbourne jazz scene. I feel that Take Note is a really positive and proactive way to make a statement about it and take action towards addressing it.

I believe representation is one of the biggest factors in changing the number of young female and GNC artists who continue making music into adulthood and consider careers in the industry. The saying “if you can see it, you can be it” really hits hard and, by aiming to promote emerging female and GNC bandleaders, the program has the potential to provide role models for those young musicians who maybe don’t currently see themselves reflected in the jazz scene.

What are you looking forward to during the Take Note program?

I’m very excited to be putting together a school workshop program and can’t wait to meet a whole heap of young musicians and work with them. I feel incredibly fortunate to have the support of the festival in writing my work that will be debuted as part of the MIJF in October and am really looking forward to that performance.

But most of all, I’m excited to use these opportunities to propel me into the next stage of my career. It’s an immense opportunity for which I’m extremely grateful, and I’m feeling motivated to be as productive and busy as I can be during and after the program.

To learn more about the Take Note program, click here. Take Note is supported by Creative Victoria, the Kestin Family Foundation, the Robert Salzer Foundation, APRA AMCOS and PBS 106.7FM.

Sign up to Festival e-news