A Year Ago This Week: Aussie exchange student plays dual role
For Will Drury, former UConn international student, it was not his accent people had trouble understanding, it was his music.
"I did notice at UConn that there were a lot of people in the Northeast and Connecticut, who are really into a Steve Aoki sort of thing, it was a hard and fast go get them attitude," said Drury. "Whereas Melbourne is more into a Brooklyn style of consumption, it's more underground."
Drury is from Melbourne, Australia where he attended The University of Melbourne and graduated with a degree in anthropology and social theory. He spent a year at UConn in order to further his studies, and also get a taste of the other sides of the world.
"America is this movie-like place to visit. I had already been to Europe a couple of times as well as Asia, so America was next," said Drury.
But back on his side of globe Drury played a dual role: Will Drury the student, and Azure Maya the experimental electronica musician.
Drury stuck with the Azure Maya moniker during his year at UConn, but since his return home, the name has been put to rest.
"One thing that people really like about the artist is that they have a flawless time lapse of their production. The earlier stuff wasn't that good, and it may detract people from thinking you're a serious artist," said Drury.
Since then Drury has also revamped his sound. Having started with experimental electronica, it would seem the experiment has ended, and he has now moved on to soulful and live instrumental sound.
His new sound will also come with a new, yet to be named, pseudonym.
Drury struggled at UConn to find a large accepting audience for his ambient electronic music, which may have been caused by the different musical cultures of Australia and the U.S.
"There's a cultural capital associated with musical consumption in the states. In Melbourne, there's more of a competition to be into obscure stuff, where in America you need to be aware of stuff that is really hot," said Drury.
However, on the subject of obscurity he maintained that, "It's not in a pretentious way. It's, for the quality of the music, not the image."
And he did not leave UConn with his music tastes completely unchanged. "There's a lot of music I came across in America that was more rap based, Husky Records especially opened my eyes to a lot of rap and hip-hop," said Drury.
Now back on his home turf, Drury is picking up speed with his music career thanks to the proximity to his fans and fellow Melbourne artists. While back home he played at the Strawberry Field Festival in Victoria, which is three hours away from Melbourne.
The lack of opportunity to perform while at UConn initially stifled his fan base growth. Problems included lack of vital face-to-face promotion, performance at the populated underground bars and clubs in Melbourne and the missing studio time for the mastering of one of his tapes, which had to be done through email.
"There was sort of like a small surge of fans in the beginning of the year at UConn, but as I got more into my studies it tapered off a bit, but I was happy with what it was, and I achieved a bunch of growth," said Drury.
For now, Drury hopes to see his fans grow into the thousands, and maybe find himself at South By Southwest, a popular music festival for hot new talent and music industry veterans. Already, some of Drury's constituents working in the same realm of music have already found their way to SXSW, and Drury could be next.
"In the coming months I'm planning to create a more synthesized sound, and put more passion into my music," said Drury. "Because that's what reacts with people in music, you can have a bad voice but it doesn't matter if people can feel your passion."
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