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11 November 2020
BY DYLAN DE JONG
Creativity has opened up a world of opportunities for Horsham’s Tim O’Donnell.
Rapping and singing has boosted Mr O’Donnell’s mental health and allowed him to collaborate with musicians across the globe.
He was recently successful in having a song he collaborated on published in French video game company Ubisoft’s latest release, Watch Dogs: Legion.
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The opportunity emerged from online creative-sharing platform Hit
Record, where artists from beginners to experts can come together to collaborate on projects.
Through the platform, people can upload a piece of music, photography, writing or video that can then be reviewed or remixed by others.
Mr O’Donnell joined the platform about five years ago and has since uploaded and contributed to innumerable projects from music through to writing and voice acting.
Some of his latest work will be featured in another Ubisoft game, Beyond Good and Evil 2, which will be released next year.
He has also collaborated on a book called ‘The Art of Breaking Up’ and is working with another Horsham artist on a project called A Walk Into The Dark Place.
“To think I would be on a video game or at least have a few lines in a game from a song was pretty out there thinking for me,” Mr O’Donnell said.
“But now it’s come to reality – it was a nice happy accident.”
In his family home growing up in Mount Gambier, music and the arts were fostered from a young age. In his late teens he went on to share his love for music as a DJ, radio presenter and singing karaoke.
Mr O’Donnell said before he stumbled across the online platform, he had lacked the confidence in his own ability to write, sing and rap original music.
“I was singing karaoke for most of my life, but I had never really done a lot independently and didn’t know I was capable of it,” he said.
“But I discovered I am. I was fascinated by the collaborative process because I can’t play any instruments, but I can sing and rap and write lyrics.
“It’s a real privilege to express a part of you in a safe space where you can be creative and it’s not as cut-throat – you’re just making music.”
The online platform opened up a new doorway for Mr O’Donnell.
After cutting his teeth on some online projects, he then went on to perform more publicly in musical theatre and in Horsham-based band The Introverts.
In recent years, he has starred in Horsham Arts Council lead roles in performances such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Little Shop of Horrors and Mamma Mia!
“HitRecord set the wheels in motion for me to go and audition for the arts council, which taught me to sing better,” he said.
“They have such awesome trainers and mentors that I’ve run into in the last three shows. It certainly improved my confidence. I now always push myself. If I want to do something I’m interested in, I will do it.”
Mr O’Donnell said exploring his creativity was also a major boost to his mental health, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is great therapy for me,” he said.
“I’ll just get on there and write music or poetry. It would help me get through a day, especially during COVID-19.
“It’s helped me deal with being alone. I create every day as a strategy to stay well.”
Mr O’Donnell said he wanted to encourage others, especially young people, to explore the possibilities that existed in online art-sharing platforms such as HitRecord.
“The internet has a power to connect people. In rural areas we struggle a lot with connecting with like-minded creative people,” he said.
“This just shows that you don’t have to do it face-to-face, but you do have to have an internet connection.
“And if you have that then you can suddenly tap into thousands of people who are interested in the same things you are.
“My only regret is I didn’t go for this earlier, but I probably didn’t have the confidence or the platform back then.
“When you’re sitting at home, especially during COVID, being creative is the best thing you can do to occupy your time.
“So, pick up that pen, start typing in that computer, start drawing on that iPad and enjoy being creative.”
The entire November 11, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!