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BIGSOUND Has Just Added Wham!'s Manager and the Composer of 'Avatar' to Its 2023 Speaker Lineup

Hear all about working with George Michael, Boney M and more — and creating music for James Cameron's movies, 'Moulin Rouge!' and 'Bond' films.
By Sarah Ward
July 26, 2023
By Sarah Ward
July 26, 2023

Maybe you love checking out live bands, especially today's up and comers that'll become tomorrow's huge stars. Perhaps you like hearing the inside word from folks in the music business who've been there, done that and seen everything. For 22 years, BIGSOUND has offered both, operating as both a music festival and a conference — and its 2023 run just nabbed a few more impressive speakers.

Back in April, the Brisbane event revealed the first folks that'd be chatting this year, with its initial speaker lineup headlined by ROC Nation's Omar Grant — who was once the road manager for Destiny's Child and now shares the President role at Jay-Z's entertainment agency. Now, the fest has added talents with experience managing Wham! and composing the score for Avatar: The Way of Water.

Meet BIGSOUND 2023's two Simons: Simon Napier-Bell and Simon Franglen. The first also managed George Michael and Boney M, wrote music alongside Dusty Springfield, and made a documentary about Michael — and also one about Frank Sinatra. The second is a Grammy-winning composer with experience working with Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Madonna and Barbra Streisand. Plus, among Franglen's screen credits also sits music roles on Titanic, Moulin Rouge!, Skyfall, SPECTRE, Space Jam, Cool Runnings and Se7en.

Both will discuss their hefty careers on a conference bill that's just added Clockenflap Festival promoter Cora Chan and South by Southwest's Senior Music Programmer Dev Sherlock, among others, as well.

Over the past two-plus decades, BIGSOUND has highlighted Australia's music industry, getting power players sharing their experience and advice, championing emerging talents, fostering crucial connections, and celebrating live tunes and the folks that make them happen in general. In 2023, it'll do so across four days, at 18 venues, with 141 artists getting behind the microphone and via 300-plus showcases, all from Tuesday, September 5–Friday, September 8.

The music lineup was announced in early July, as chosen from more than 1300 applications. Among those making the bill: Brisbane's own Full Flower Moon Band, Zheani, Felivand and Baby Prince; Sydney's Moss and Little Green; Melbourne's PANIA, Moaning Lisa and The Slingers; Perth's DICE and Siobhan Cotchin; and Adelaide's Aleksiah and The Empty Threats.

From New Zealand comes Reb Fountain and SWIDT, while Casey Mowry and MF Tomlinson are heading to Queensland from the UK.

Dave Kan


First conference announcement:

Ash Stahl (Flightless)
Cabrea Casey (Downtown Music)
Hazel Savage (Soundcloud)
Michele Ronzon (Interscope)
Omar Grant (ROC Nation)
Scott Cohen (JKBX)
Vanessa Palmer (Paramount)

Second conference announcement:

Chloe Pean (AEG Presents)
Chris Brearley (Greyline Touring / School Night)
Chris Duncan (The Orchard)
Christiaan Kröner (FUGA / Downtown)
Cora Chan (Clockenflap Festival)
David Telfer (DMT Law Firm)
Dev Sherlock (SXSW)
Ed Lilo (Festival Republic)
Eli Gelernter (Wasserman)
Hallie Anderson (Rareform)
Hannah Sklonick (Secretly Group)
Jackie Palazzolo (Riot Games)
Jaclyn Ulman (Grandstand Media)
Jacob Daneman (Pitch Perfect PR)
Jamie Shaughnessy (CAA)
Jule Konrad (FMLY)
Kate English (Parallel Lines)
Louisa Robinson (Form Presents)
Matt Hanner (Runaway Artists)
Patrick Daniel (Reeperbahn)
Seth Hubbard (Polyvinyl)
Seth Kallen (This Faction)
Silke Westera (FKP Scorpio)
Simon Franglen (Composer/Producer)
Simon Napier-Bell (Manager)
Steve Zapp (ITB)
Tony Kiewel (Sub Pop)

BIGSOUND 2023 will take place between Tuesday, September 5–Friday, September 8 in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. For more information, visit

Check out BIGSOUND's 2023 artist lineup.

Top image: courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. 

Published on July 26, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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