Project manager to professional musician – Josh Morphett on meaningful career choices

Adelaide-based musician Josh Morphett is no stranger to hard work. Having studied piano and guitar since he was six and singing in his teens, he realised that singing didn’t come naturally, so he worked at honing his craft and performed music as a hobby while earning a living as a project manager. Over time, he noticed his friends working in music full-time and he decided he ‘wanted a piece of that’.

Josh Morphett | image credit: Tim Hills

Presented with the choice to either climb the figurative corporate ladder or work at becoming a professional musician, Morphett chose the latter and doesn’t regret his decision. He loves being a ‘full-time musician’ as ‘it doesn’t really feel like a job’. Nowadays, he relishes in the freedom to spend time with his family and manage his own creative projects.

He mainly earns a living as a solo act performing all over Adelaide. In recent years, he’s teamed up with other accomplished artists to form the original five-piece indie dream pop band Lilac Cove. The band is fronted by Laura Hill on lead vocals/guitar joined by musicians Kristy Mitchell on drums, Tim Foster on bass, Tom Morris on keys, and Josh Morphett rounds up the group on guitar/backing vocals.

Lilac Cove has recently been selected in the artist lineup for Music SA’s Scouted event which gives a selected group of local unsigned artists the chance to perform in front of national industry professionals. This year’s event coincides with the Australian Independent Record Labels Association Indie-Con Conference and Morphett is excited for the potential opportunities that could come as a result of this. Furthermore, Lilac Cove has a new single release called “Bright Lights” on the horizon so be sure to check out @lilaccovemusic and their work on Instagram.

Another creative brainchild of Morphett’s which was born during the pandemic lockdowns is Space Jams. It began as an online live-streamed festival of music acts, which grew to become a mini festival live at Jive, followed by a seven-day regional tour. He’s contribution to the music industry was recognised in 2021 when he took out the award for Best Small Festival at the SA Music Awards. Morphett has just announced the next date for Space Jams will be 1 October at Alma’s Hem, Inman Valley.

Josh Morphett in Lilac Cove | image credit: Tim Hills

When asked how one goes about becoming a professional musician, Morphett reflects on his experience and sums it up to ‘persistence’. Having moved to Melbourne for some time, he returned to Adelaide and started working slowly with ‘about one gig every couple of months’. He recalls it took a couple of years to properly build up the contacts and fill the calendar. For anyone aspiring to do the same, he advises “you have to build those relationships and that trust. People don’t necessarily know you’re good enough. Keep persisting. If you don’t get a response, just keep making contact and putting the feelers out.”

In addition to building a network, Morphett’s biggest tip is to “keep honing your art. My voice doesn’t come naturally, so I work hard at it.” As a cover musician he credits agencies he’s worked with who’ve helped him get his voice heard, in particularly he credits Ed at Wasabi Entertainment for helping him get the gigs.

In line with the opening of Umbrella Festival, Morphett will be performing live tonight at Cheffy Chelby in Port Noarlunga. The Umbrella Festival will be running between Friday 1 July and Sunday 31 July in various venues across South Australia. You can check out the full program here.

Did you like this content? The Serenade Files invites you to leave a comment below