As a member of a teenage all-girl band that didn't work out, Ashleigh Meagher was wary of ever joining another female band.
But as a music student at Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT), Ashleigh, 21, of Fitzroy, quashed her reservations and banded with three other NMIT female music students to form Aysu Souls a few months ago.
Now, the band has won the state final of the National Campus Band Competition beating bands from Melbourne University, Monash University, La Trobe University, RMIT University and Victoria University.
Ashleigh, a second-year Australian Popular Music degree student at NMIT, who plays drums, met fellow NMIT students Aysu Cogur who performs the vocals, Fleur Warner who's on bass guitar and Bron Cumbo on keyboard to form the band to pursue their passion for original music and composition.
The competition was only the band's second gig together and they performed four songs which were a mix of hip hop, soul and Turkish rhythms.
'There's innate, improvised jazz in our musicality but we hadn't performed much together and thought we'd enter the competition to just see how we went,' Ashleigh said.
'From our very first jam together, there was a strong connection between us and we were all serious about our music and writing good songs.'
But as the band performed second last in the competition and other bands were more traditionally rock, Ashleigh thought their band's music was 'just really different' and may be passed over.
'To win was just really exciting as we were doing our own thing and while it wasn't that we thought we couldn't win, a couple of the other bands played really good rock and we thought the judges would go for that.'
Ashleigh added the girls were all surprised at their good fortune and it was nice to know the judges appreciated what they were trying to do with their music.
'First and foremost we were happy with the music we were putting out and as professional musicians we wanted to sound good,' she said.
'It was about, this is what we do and this is who we are - that was the message we wanted to convey.'
The band won $500 cash and will now compete in the national final on 25 October at the Northcote Social Club.
Interview / Photo Opportunity
Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or firstname.lastname@example.org
NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on seven campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.
Interview / Photo Opportunity
Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener.