There’s no special treatment for the four members of the new band on the block - the Brotherhood of the Blues.
The musicians, who all live with a disability, three of them Indigenous, recently took the stage at the Blues Festival in Byron Bay, featuring five-time Grammy-award winner Kendrick Lamar and soul sensation D’Angelo, along with homegrowns Sahara Beck, Archie Roach and The Cat Empire.
“[The Blues Festival’s] big concern was: If we reject them [the Brotherhood], how are they going to handle it?” singer-songwriter Zac Paden of the band told NITV News about auditioning for the world-renowned annual event.
“We didn’t want the organisers to feel that way because everyone is a person at the end of the day, and we wouldn’t have got into the music industry if we didn’t expect rejection.”
Singer-songwriters Zac Paden, Luke Murray, John Cieslak and guitarist Harley Bodenham formed their band, influenced by sounds of hip-hop and RnB, in 2013 after collaborating at Red Inc.
Red Inc works to provide equal opportunities to people living with a disability, including aspiring musicians through conducting workshops that build instrumental and songwriting skills.
“The initiative gets young people access to things like main festival stages, ‘cause a lot of the people there don’t have access to the same opportunities,” band manager Matthew Cassels told NITV News.
In 2015, they collaborated with producer Anthony Lycenko to record their self-titled Brotherhood of the Blues EP, they've got more performances scheduled after the festival, and they're preparing to compile about seven songs into a new album later in 2016.
“The guys just blew people away,” Cassels says. “The band has just gone from strength to strength, and it's all happened in such a short amount of time.”