My name is Vashti Sivell and I began my music lessons in Classical piano at the age of 7 with a Russian Concert pianist, Clara Skritschenko, in the Blue Mountains, Australia. (See photo to the side) She was quite intimidating, strict, and not so accepting of other music styles apart from the Classical greats. It was an amazing introduction to music and I was pushed to achieve great results in competitions and to discover my passion and natural ability for music. As I got into my teens I wanted to explore improvisation and other popular music styles so that I could play in bands. I began writing original songs with a singer from school and at age 16 our first gigs were all original material. I wish I could remember these songs!
Against my piano teachers practical advice to enroll in a music education degree, I took private Jazz piano lessons from Tim Bruer and decided to audition for a Jazz performance degree. I graduated with a Bachelor of Music (Jazz Studies) from the 'Sydney Conservatorium of Music' in 2001, Australia's most prestigious music college. Then it was off to the real world to be a musician…
For the next 15 years I have performed as a member of many bands in styles such as Latin, Jazz, Pop, Reggae, Folk, Soul, African and Arabic. Some of the highlights were at Australia’s best music festivals; The Big Day Out, Sydney Bacardi Festival, Sydney Latin Fiesta, The Bellingen Global Carnival, Sydney Salsa Congress, Woodford Folk festival, Melbourne Woman’s Jazz Festival, WOMADelaide, Brisbane Festival Spiegeltent and The Byron Bay Blues festival. I also toured internationally with groups to Portugal, Japan, Thailand, Macau, Hong Kong, Noumea and Colombia. Along the way I taught piano students and music ensembles and found it to be challenging and satisfying in other different ways. It is wonderful to share knowledge and inspire the creativity and curiosity of a developing musician.
In 2005 I was a national winner of the ‘Oz Music Awards’ world music category with an original Latin song called 'Baila Conmigo' that i wrote with artist 'Cisca' from my first EP. In that same year I travelled to USA to do specialist study in Latin music with Oscar Hernandez and Oriente Lopez. After completing an original Latin album in 2010 for project KIMBAYA, I decided to go to NYC to see what was possible. I stayed based in New York City for 6 years teaching and performing Latin and Jazz music. I also produced and wrote songs with various singers in Pop, Folk, and RnB styles. I relocated back to Melbourne in 2017 and I am commencing a 'Masters of Music- Performance Teaching at Melbourne University 2018. I am also working on Children's musical project with my brother Adam Sivell called 'Stinky Ninja'. (www.stinkyninja.com) The album with accompanying animations has just been released.