When Sydney based, Yuin man and hip hop artist, Corey Webster, aka Nooky, heard his name announced as the winner of the Dreaming Award at the recent National Indigenous Arts Awards ceremony, his whole community was right there with him. Not in person perhaps, but in his heart and mind.
In those exciting few moments of realising he had won, he thought about his journey so far, those who have helped him along the way and how he could make this an opportunity to give something back to them.
It’s a sentiment echoed in the lyrics of his latest hard hitting single ‘The Greatest’ and also in his plans for the album he will produce thanks to the award, which gives young inspiring artists the opportunity to create a body of work with the help of mentors and established artists in their chosen field.
Nooky explains, "My whole plan is not to make an album for myself, but to make it for my home. I’m really trying to tell Nowra’s story and get it out there, in a way that hasn’t been told before."
Born and raised in Nowra, the talented rapper says that there were a few moments that he knew music was his path. “After I recorded my first song, I felt like there was something that I had latched on to that I wanted to keep.”
Not long after he moved to Sydney, Nooky had the chance to meet Taboo from successful US group the Black Eyed Peas and after noticing his talent, Taboo invited Nooky to do some recording in the States. It was another moment where he knew where his future lay.
"I had only just left Nowra a year before and I thought now I’m here recording with this fulla! It opened my eyes up to the things that I could do. The potential things that I could achieve through music. That made me want to go even harder.”
The feeling that he gets from performing is also what keeps him going.
‘When I’m on stage I feel free. When the lights are there and you feel the energy of the crowd, you feel everyone lifting and feel what you are saying. That’s the only time I ever feel freedom.’
After success with his first releases and a growing profile, this award comes at a pivotal time for Nooky who is determined to make it to the top of the game.
“Things are slowly changing, but as an Indigenous artist we are still left to the back of the conversation most of the time. The biggest thing for me is to change that. I’m trying to get on the same level as some of the others, people that have done a good job at it, like Briggs, Jimblah, The Last Kinection. There is still a push so I’m trying to get to that stage.”
What would it mean for him to reach that goal? “It would feel amazing. I’m trying to get that level and then once I’m there I’m going straight back to Nowra. Kicking it and doing stuff in my community.”
Since day one of becoming a rapper, Nooky has had a dream to create something in his community that has not existed before.
"The end goal is to go back and open up my own centre, like NAISDA, Bangarra that kind of thing. I want to go back and give Nowra something that is theirs. A studio, a creative place," he says.
"If dancers want to come, there’s a studio for them, if singers or rappers want to come make music, then there is a music studio for them to do that. Just a spot to open up doors that weren’t there when I was growing up."
Picking up the Dreaming Award has just brought Nooky one step closer to his dream.