By Gabriella Payne
When Melbourne’s lockdown hit, many musicians relied on the virtual world of YouTube and online streaming to stay afloat, so they could continue to perform and do what they love – and for local singer Mary Ann Van Der Horst, things are paying off.
After being nominated and entered by a fan, Ms Van Der Horst has gone on to win the award for Best International Artist at Switzerland’s St Moritz Music Awards 2020 with her original song ‘Make It Happen’, an achievement that the singer said is a “tremendous honour”.Ms Van Der Horst said that she was “so humbled to have been chosen for this award, knowing that there were many amazing artists” in the running to win.
The singer wrote her winning song three years ago and Ms Van Der Horst said that “the song is just about inspiring people not to give up, even if you fail, even if you lose in your life, you have to move on and keep on going”.
Considering all the adversities Melbournians have faced this year, particularly musicians like Ms Van Der Horst, the song’s message seems only fitting.
Ms Van Der Horst admitted that this year had proven to be a tough time for her as a singer, with the long Covid-19 lockdown prompting her to think of “moving on” and focusing on another career.
“It impacted me so much because all my gigs and concerts were cancelled,” she said.
With her usual income from performing drying up overnight, Ms Van Der Horst said she had to think outside the box and focus on other avenues in order to share her music.
With a solid YouTube following, Ms Van Der Horst decided to broaden her online presence by signing up for a new online live-streaming platform called ‘Sessions’, where she now performs virtually for audiences around the world.
Ms Van Der Horst said that Sessions, a model that has been replicated by gaming platforms like Twitch, allowed viewers to leave monetary tips for artists and make “shout out requests” and more.
The singer said that the global live-streaming platform had created “a way for fans to support artists and help them perform during quarantine” and she was grateful to be doing well as one of the top artists on the site.
More recently, Ms Van Der Horst has been collaborating with fellow musicians and is excited to release some new, original tracks soon.
The pop/rock singer also has some live performances planned now that restrictions have begun to ease.
As part of a group project with the City of Greater Dandenong, Ms Van Der Horst has been invited to perform a Christmas carol at the Drum Theatre later this month, which she believes will be pre-recorded and played on Christmas Day.
“I’m really excited and looking forward to it because it’s my first time being a part of it,” she said.If all goes well next year, Ms Van Der Horst hopes that she can re-start her busy touring schedule, travelling both nationally and internationally if possible.
Her award winning song is available on YouTube and other streaming platforms, search ‘Mary Ann Van Der Horst’ for more.