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“Honoured and Humbled”: Winner Crowned At Set the Stage With Tash Sultana

16-year-old Ben Swissa will now be the support act at two of Tash’s biggest upcoming Australian performances.

Aspiring artists were offered the opportunity of a lifetime as they took the stage outside Platypus’ Pitt St store to perform in front of Aussie music icon Tash Sultana and the Lonely Lands team for Set The Stage with Tash Sultana, thanks to Platypus and New Balance. 

Tash is an internationally renowned singer-songwriter, producer, engineer & multi-instrumentalist & entrepreneur who has been dubbed one of the hardest-working musical exports in Australia. Tash is the co- founder and director of Lonely Lands Agency which has become one of the country’s major independent booking agencies.

After entering by filming a performance of an original song and submitting it to the Platypus site, competitors battled it out on-stage outside Platypus’ Pitt St Store for their chance to support New Balance ambassador Sultana at two of Tash’s major 2023 shows curated by Lonely Lands Agency, of which Sultana is also the co-director & co-founder.

“It’s all about paying it forward and giving people a chance that I know I would have died to have had when I was an up-and-coming artist’,’ Sultana previously told Rolling Stone Australia of the epic opportunity.

The crowd were loving the finalists’ performances. Credit: Jack Owen Bennett

Among the fresh talent to grace the stage on the day included Melbourne-based Japanese-Australian pop singer Mizuki Uei, Sydney folk singer Jack Gaudion of Gaudion, Hugh O’Donnell, and Melbourne singer/songwriter Grace Baker, who wowed the audience who flowed through Pitt Street to check out the show.

Despite the tough competition, it was 16-year-old singer/songwriter/producer Ben Swissa who was crowned the winner by Tash after having the entirety of Pitt Street mesmerised while he shredded on his electric guitar to his original track, “3 Words”.

Ben Swissa took out the top prize. Credit: Jack Owen Bennett

Swissa, who began playing the guitar at the age of five and names Prince, Stevie Wonder, and John Mayer among his inspirations, has already begun to make a name for himself after winning the Byron Bay Bluesfest Comp at the age of 14 and opening for Australian-New Zealand band Coterie on their Australian tour.

Of his latest accomplishment, Swissa said that he was “honoured and humbled” for the opportunity given to him by Sultana, Platypus and New Balance.

“Had such an incredible day playing with some incredible artists for the chance to open for @tashsultanaofficial on tour next year,” he wrote on Instagram.

“Extremely excited and humbled to have won the spot to open for Tash next year….we ready!!

Ben had the crowd mesmerised during his performance of the original track “3 Words”. Credit: Jack Owen Bennett

“Big love and appreciation to Tash and their whole team for making this opportunity accessible and possible for artists such as myself, along with @hue_am_i @graacebaker @mi.zukii @gaudion_music, yall are incredible. Big love to @platypus_sneakers for lacing us up too!”

He added, “Much love fam – always staying hungry and pushing further – extremely grateful. Thank yall for sticking along with me on the ride.”

Check out Ben Swissa performing at Set The Stage with Tash Sultana below – and congratulations to all the finalists!

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