August 28, 2015
As a child, Mia Bettio could often be found perched on a tall gate in the cattle yards strumming tunes on a multi-coloured guitar.
Almost a decade later, the talented singer songwriter from Walwa, in the Upper Murray, will head into the studio this spring to record two original songs, “Do You Wake’’ and “Before Sunrise”.
Mia, who describes her musical style as mellow, folky and indie, will perform as a solo acoustic act on the Farm Gate stage at this year’s Henty Machinery Field Days.
She will also team up with Albury guitarist Lachlan Mitchell to perform a duet.
Mia, Lachlan and other young regional artists will perform under the banner of the Dreamfields Creative Youth Mentor program.
Largely self-taught, Mia now gives guitar lessons to local children and also plays piano, bass guitar and drums.
She derives inspiration from listening to Angus and Julia Stone, Pearl Jam, Tegan & Sara, Girls in Hawaii, Big Scarey, Pappa vs Pretty, Holly Throsby, Chilli Peppers, Sia & Matt Corby, Jeff Lang and Richard Perso.
Mia, 18, attended primary school in Walwa and completed her VCE at Corryong Secondary College last year.
A member of the Border-Walwa Netball Club, she was keen to have a gap year before university and work locally.
“I have grown up in a small community where there was only about 14 people in my VCE class so studying at university in Sydney or Melbourne is daunting,’’ she said.
She now has part-time work at the local primary school, hotel and veterinary clinic and collects native specimens in the Kosciuszko National Park for germination in nurseries, and eventual replanting into the park.
Mia has always been a keen horse rider and enjoys trail riding around local landmark, Pine Mountain with her sister, Matilda.
“I was accepted into a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne, and plan to study Indonesian, Italian, botany and speleology (study of caves),’’ she said.
Mia’s musical talent was sown in Year 6 when she had guitar lessons with local musician Trevor Best.
“I had a cheap $40 purple guitar and painted it with heaps of glow paint when I was 12,’’ she said.
The guitar was stored away until Year 10 when she decided to take it up again in order to win the attention of a Year 11 student.
“He noticed me and ended up giving me guitar lessons but he was into heavy metal and I had an acoustic bent by then,’’ Mia said.
When Dreamfields Festival co-ordinator Craig Dent staged Rockorryong at the high school, Mia was blown away by his enthusiastic attitude.
She was inspired to write music with drummer Mackinnon Heycox and guitarist Jack Regan
They formed the band “Little Foot’’ in 2013 and recorded a single, “Reality’’ in David Wilson’s Wagga recording studio.
Mia also performed original songs as a solo acoustic act on the Farm Gate stage at the 2014 Henty Machinery Field Days.
“It was a challenge performing at Henty as it teaches you to engage the audience by literally talking to the crowd,’’ she said.
“We performed as Little Foot at the Dreamfields Festival 2014 and it was great to meet other musicians around our own age.
“Craig was a great mentor and without him I probably would have given up guitar – he gave me inspiration to keep improving and a goal to strive towards.
“When Jack moved to Perth, I was forced to pick up the guitar again and used it during Year 12 to help ease the stress over exams.’’
Mia was co-winner of the Dreamfields songwriting award and has now teamed up with Albury guitarist Lachlan Mitchell and Mackinnon Heycox on percussion with plans to record two songs this spring.
“I don’t think I could ever make a living from music but once started you can’t really shake it,’’ she said.