Alumni Profile: Lucy Clifford

It’s all about the Bass for Lucy…

Introducing WollCon Alumna Lucy Clifford, a Bass Player and Educator, who is using her own experience as a young female jazz student and musician to create an e-learning platform called the ‘Sisters Of Sound’. It’s a long way from when she first began at WollCon as a nervous young musician who would often shy away from performing.

“The Wollongong Conservatorium of Music was where I was first inspired, challenged and driven towards the possibility of pursuing a career in music. It’s where my love for bass and jazz first developed into a pretty fiery passion, and so much of that has to do with Eric Dunan and his jazz program.”

Lucy was involved in the jazz ensemble and small jazz combos during 2007 through to 2009, and took instrumental lessons with Mike Majkowski and Abel Cross.

“I describe Mike and Abel as my bass heroes, both have shaped my playing immensely.”

She remembers her time at WollCon as one which involved an entire spectrum of feelings from joy, happiness, hysterical laughter and pride, to curiosity, nervousness and mustering up enough courage to perform as one of the very few female instrumentalists at that time.

“WollCon really was my first source for music exploration and inspiration. But it was Eric Dunan and his enthusiasm and passion for his students that really guided me. It is his support for each and every student that allows them to follow and nurture their passion for music. He has most certainly done that for me throughout every step of my musical endeavour.”

After completing high school locally, Lucy studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (Bachelor in Jazz performance), and studied at Berklee College of Music in USA, where she completed a Graduate Diploma in Contemporary Writing and Production.

“Both were incredibly valuable, yet very different experiences. At the time, I remember feeling that I didn’t utilise my time at Sydney Con (and the wonderful things it has to offer) to its full potential, mainly because I was quite nervous about it all, and so my decision to continue studying, learning and playing was fueled by that desire to keep trying and to overcome that fear. I’m so grateful I did, because that opportunity to study overseas in Berklee unlocked some of those anxious feelings and introduced me to music, mentors and people from all across the globe that have taught me so much. It also kickstarted my career abroad which resulted in living in the US for the last 7 years, both in Boston and New York City.”

Lucy has played with some impressive musicians across the globe including: Portuguese Fado singer ‘Mariza’ during her USA 2017 tour, was involved in recordings and performances for Latin Grammy Award winning ‘Nella’ and producer Javier Limon, BB. Kings Blues Club performances, Reggae artist ‘Mighty Mystic’ in NYC, songwriter ‘Amy Allen’, as well as pianist ‘Maher Beauroy’ at the Martinique Jazz Festival (pictured below).

“Closer to home, I’ve loved playing alongside Aussie hip hop artist ‘Urthboy’ throughout 2020 and 2021.”

An educational highlight for Lucy is being able to revisit Berklee College of Music as a bass faculty member for Victor Wooten’s Groove School (2017 – 2019).

With Covid bringing Lucy back to Australia, 2020-21 has been dedicated to completing her Masters of Teaching, something she feels very strongly about.

“One of my aims is to encourage and support young women to be involved with music, and promote it as a possible career path. With the help of my closest musical pals Freyja Garbett and Jodie Michael (and the music community south of Sydney), I have been working on a program and e-learning platform ‘Sisters Of Sound’, which will provide educational workshops and classes for young women in music.”

Currently in the process of recruiting students for lessons, bands, specialty workshops and community based events the ‘Sisters of Sound’ is hoped to be operating by early 2022.

“There’s lots more to come with this so keep your eyes peeled.” Said Lucy.