As far as industry mentors go for a young musician, you could do a lot worse than the Beach Boys.
However, not only did Tumut artist Jess Crossman get to play with the sixties superstars in Wagga last week, she also grabbed them backstage to pick their brains.
Jess said singer and keyboardist Bruce Johnston was particularly forthcoming.
“He gave me heaps of advice on the music industry and told me some stuff to read,” she explained.
“He told me how to cope, really, and what to do – how I should stay myself and stay true to who I am.
“He was really helpful, he said he wished he had of known a lot of things when he was my age that he knows now.”
Jess was a support act at the Surf and Soul show in Wagga last Saturday.
The event, which also featured the Temptations on the line-up, nearly came to a heartbreaking end when inclement weather meant she could only play one song and the Beach Boys couldn’t play at all.
However, the storm clouds ended up having a big silver lining – they returned to play again on the Monday, and she was picked as the sole support act on the second run.
“I was like well I’d better take work off!” she laughed.
“I did feel gutted [on the Saturday], I was very upset because I felt like that was my chance.
“I was sad for a few days, and then on the Monday morning there was an opportunity for me to come up and sing again!”
It’s the biggest show Jess has played in her 20 years, and she performed a set of entirely original songs.
“I was pretty nervous because I wasn’t sure if the crowd was going to like it but they were really supportive,” she said.
“I had people recording me on their phones.”
She’s been spending a lot of time in Wagga lately, recording her first album with producer Dave Wilson.
This on top of working as an aged carer for Valmar, and working on a diploma in paramedics – she’s a busy girl.
Her album is due to drop before the end of this year.
Jess is on the rise, but playing with a renowned act like the Beach Boys was a humbling experience for the up-and-coming performer.
“I’ve always been a Beach Boys fan so it was a bit surreal!” she said.
“[Her producer] Dave called me to tell me there was an opportunity to play with them and I was like ‘…the the real ones?’
“He was like ‘yeah the real ones!’ and I was like “oh my god!’
“It was an amazing experience.”