Scarlett Affection
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Scarlett Affection


Band Country Folk


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"The Scarlett School"

The Scarlett School

Nine months ago, local singer/songwriter sisters Melia and Nerida Naughton, aka Scarlett Affection, presented their first 'Scarlett School Concert', a showcase of performances by the nine young students at their new Scarlett School. Fast forward to today and their program is bursting at the seams, with 50 students aged from six to 60 (they currently have four adult students), each taking part in their own unique tailored program, in the skills of songwriting, performance, singing, piano, guitar, music theory and stage skills. We ask Melia to share her thoughts on the School's success.

What made you start the Scarlett School and how did you find your first students?

As local performers, we have met many musically minded youngsters at our shows who have asked for our feedback about their own music. After holding a songwriting and performance workshop in Bangalow, we unearthed a huge array of local talent - young kids with a flair for writing their own tunes; kids who were interested in performing but were lacking in confidence; kids who used music as a creative outlet to express themselves. We realised there was an opening to encourage and inspire young songwriters and performers and to help them learn the music they love. Our first students were participants in our first workshop and we have proudly watched them grow enormously since then.

Why do you believe it is proving so popular, and how are you handling the growth?

I think we have hit a nerve through our practice of designing a unique programme for each student. Gone are the days of a 'one size fits all' curricula - each individual wants to connect with music in an individual way, and making this possible is the primary objective of the Scarlett School. We have a growing stable of teachers to embrace the increased popularity of the school. Emily Rose Sorensen joined the school in October. She is a recent graduate from SCU with a Bachelor of Music and a strong focus on voice. She is a songwriter and plays piano and guitar and can be spotted around the shire fronting her own band.

The two of you started singing and performing at a young age yourselves. Who taught and encouraged you, and how has this influenced the way you run the Scarlett School?

We had a mixed bag of teachers when we began our classical learning. I had a terrifying guitar teacher who used to point at the music with a knife (a blunt letter-opening knife but a knife nonetheless) and my sister Nerida used to fall asleep in her flute lessons as she was so deeply uninspired. It is experiences like these ones that have urged us to create a learning space that is dynamic, stimulating and fun. Without fun and humour, learning can easily become a chore. We had two very committed piano teachers that were fabulous, they taught us patience and the wonders of daily practice. Our parents were very supportive of our musical journey - Mum taught us how to sing harmonies with wild abandon in the car and Dad opened our ears to a diverse spectrum of music.

Your first Scarlett School concert last June consisted of a set by your students, and a set by Scarlett Affection, in which you and Nerida performed many of your own songs. What sort of feedback did you have from your students about the concert, and how important do you think it might be to them, to have the chance to see their teachers on stage?

The concert was a wonderful success. For most of the students it was their very first time performing outside of their living rooms, and they all really relished the experience. I remember how significant it was for me to witness my first piano teacher performing as it confirmed that she had first hand knowledge of what it was like to get up in front of your family, peers, or a room full of strangers, combat the nerves and actually enjoy the experience. The feedback from the public, parents and students was hugely positive and as a result the numbers of students and inquiries at the school have increased exponentially.

Scarlett Affection have enjoyed considerable success over recent years, winning songwriting awards and touring grants, performing in New York City, at Sydney venues The Basement, The Vanguard and the Sydney Opera House, and at Festivals in Memphis and Toronto, alongside Bluesfest and Peats Ridge. Recognising that not everyone can get along to classes at the Scarlett School in Newrybar, what advice would you have for young artists in the Northern Rivers who want to pursue a music career?

To do what you love and love what you do. To feel inspired by the music you play and to play your heart out.

Rumour has it you're about to release a new album (your second) very soon. How is this project fitting in with your Scarlett School activities, and when can we expect to hear more?

Yes, our new record is set for a June release through Vitamin Records. We have been working with a really exciting young producer and the songs are currently being mixed. We are planning a local launch so stay tuned! There is a lovely synergy with teaching and playing - being inspired and hopefully inspiring our students is very enriching. I think it's really important we do what we preach. We tour, perform, record, and release records and this is one of the reasons why our students come to us.

When and where can we next look forward to seeing students from the Scarlett School take to the stage?

On April 1 we have a Scarlett School Concert at the Bangalow Catholic Hall, which will showcase the students and their current progress. There will also be a Scarlett School Concert in Term 3.
- Arts Northern Rivers

"Scarlett Affection Creates The Love You Book Song"

Scarlett Affection is sisters Melia & Nerida Naughton. They have been writing songs together since they were youngsters singing into hairbrushes and playing tennis racquet guitars. After completing their musical and dramatic studies, they moved to Bangalow near Byron on the North Coast of NSW and began recording and touring. They have received several grants that have assisted them in touring this big country. They have toured internationally and were invited to perform at Folk festivals in the States and Canada. They are about to launch their new album in February 2012.

They have really enjoyed working on the song for The Love You Book and have been inspired by Emma's gorgeous illustrations and Andrew's lovely words.

Melia and Nerida like collecting tea cups and rickety old chairs. Between them they have 3 dogs, 6 chooks and a horse.

Melia and Nerida have also opened the Scarlett School, a contemporary music school for kids where they work with young songwriters and performers. They are currently part of the ArtStart Young Creatives Mentoring Project, where they are mentoring a young singer songwriter providing direction and support with their ideas and creative practice. - The Love You Book

"Scarlett Affection EP 'Laced' Reviewed"

I'm driving home back up the coast, after judging a singer/songwriter competition. Scarlett Affection, one of the finalists of the particular Heat that night, and eventual winner of the competition, have given me their three track E.P. in the hope I might stock it in the Record Store I work at. Based on the performance of their song ‘Denouement' earlier in the night, there was not going to be any doubt of us taking a few copies to put on the shelve.

Ejecting whatever I had in the car stereo at the time because I had listened to it once too often (Springsteen's ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town' if you must know), I throw in their disc, titled Laced, and am immediately transfixed by the angelic vocals from the two sisters that make up Scarlett Affection. Byron Bay locals Melia and Nerida Naughton have the uncanny knack for brilliant two part harmonies that have served artists such as The Everly Brothers, Neil and Tim Finn, Vicki and Donna Simpson from The Waifs and Donny and Marie Osmond well in the past. Okay, probably not the last example but you get the idea: there is nothing like the intimate knowledge siblings have when performing together.

The duo specialise in moody piano/guitar with haunting melodies that thankfully don't descend into Robert Smith ‘bed wetter' territory. ‘Pianoman' (No it's not a cover, before you even ask!) tells the desire for the intriguing guy playing the Steinway and most probably the desire to experience more than his talent on the ivories. On ‘Take me Down' they search for more than just mere pleasure, someway to connect even closer with their love: “I want to find your soul and lose it with you.”

The jewel though is ‘Denouement', a heartbreaking tale about closing the books on a love that is no more. Performed live, this song is absolutely brilliant, feeding off the energy of the audience right to the very last line where Melia simply states “And then we're gone”. In the studio, the song holds up just as well and is a fitting finale to a nice little taster for hopefully what is to come for the group.

And therein lies the problem with Laced. At only three tracks and a little over 11 minutes in length, you want to hear much more and are left hanging impatiently for their next release. Hang on a second, I've been had! Smart move ladies.
- Stu McPhee:

"Sisters on the Rise"

Tuesday, 15 August 2006
Reporter: Richard Porteous

Increasingly popular on the Northern Rivers music scene are sisters Melia and Nerida who form the duo Scarlett Affection. Based in Bangalow, they've already won numerous awards and have been wowing audiences wherever they perform. Recently they've started to extend their touring from Yamba to Maleny and to corporate gigs in Sydney and Brisbane.

But they're not planning to move out of the area. They love the rich character of the musical community here. The sisters reckon there's no other area where you can live in such an influential musical destination as well as enjoy the beauty of the surrounds.

However they did move around a lot before discovering the amenity of the North Coast!

Nerida and Melia actually started gigging together at the ages of 13 and 17 throughout Tasmania at pubs, theatres, fetes, vineyards and even street corners! Because of their youth they were always chaperoned, but nevertheless still did the late nights typical of live professional musicians. The duo split for a few years while Melia went to study acting in Victoria and later Nerida took a course in music at Southern Cross University in Lismore.

As her final degree project, Nerida invited Melia to join her in making a CD (Laced - the duo's debut e.p.). That re-ignited their passion to work together and Scarlett Affection was formed. Melia says that the word "Scarlett" was chosen because it has a history of being on the edge and a little sexual (viz scarlet woman, scarlet letters etc) which they feel describes their music. "Affection" is a reference to their sisterly love.

Melia and Nerida recently came into ABC North Coast studios and recorded several new tracks that you can listen to below. In September Scarlett Affection releases its second ep - a locally produced totally independent release. - ABC North Coast


ALBUM - 'Forever is a long long time' - To be released September 10 2012

The single '5:49' has already been selected as a Finalist in the International Songwriting Competition.

Four songs from 'Forever is a long long time' are semi finalists in USA competition 'Show Me the Music'.

ALBUM - Our Sweet Ambush 2007

Scarlett Affection's beautiful debut album features the award winning re-released track 'Denouement', single 'Scandinavian Bitch Waitress' and hit song 'Buckets' all receiving airplay on local and national radio. Tracks from this record have also received airplay Internationally in the US, UK and Europe.

EP - Laced 2004

Tracks from their ALBUM 'Our Sweet Ambush', EP 'Laced' and various LIVE recordings are regularly played on community radio stations and nationally on ABC Radio and Triple J.



Synergy and simpatico are central to the sound of Scarlett Affection. Harmonies and folk pop songs oozing with sass and soul.

Affecting ballads that stir the poignant pot of emotion; soaring choruses that hook into your heart; quirky ditties that make you want to dance in the rain – Scarlett Affection have a blazing stage dynamic that throws opens the Pandora-like box of secretive sibling rivalry for everyone to experience.

Small town Bangalow sisters Melia and Nerida Naughton have been joined at the hip since they could sing 'Mary had a little lamb.'
Spending their (in)formative years in Sydney, NSW and then south of Hobart, Tasmania hanging out in a dilapidated apple orchard, stage shows were mandatory in the Naughton family household.

Complete with bedsheet curtains, hairbrush microphones, tennis racquet guitars and constant arguments over who would take the lead line. Refreshingly, nothing much has changed with bickering, banter and butting heads a standard accompaniment to the magic that these sisters conjure. After education separated the sisters by states, Melia and Nerida reunited in Bangalow where their musical union grew into Scarlett Affection.

A great love of harmony and humour has led to Songwriting Awards, touring grants, shows in New York City, Festivals in Memphis and Toronto, The Blues Festival, Peats Ridge, and stunning shows in Sydney venues The Basement, The Vanguard and the Sydney Opera House.

A major development in the Scarlett world is the launch of the Scarlett School - a contemporary music school. This is a dynamic learning space for kids and adults who want to learn fresh contemporary music. The Scarlett School was officially launched in June 2010 and has already presented three sell out school concerts. With a personal and personalised approach, a team of energised and skilled teachers and a focus on originality and passion, the School has recently acquired a Patron, the inimitable Paul Dean, Director of the National Academy of Music and the Director of the Bangalow Music Festival.

The Scarlett School has created the 'Scarlett Singers' a small choral troupe of young singers aged between 12 and 18. Already the Scarlett Singers have enjoyed wonderful success at many festivals including the Sample Festival, Mullum Music Festival, Bangalow Music Festival & the Hallelujah Choral Festival.

Scarlett Affection have recently taken time out from touring to record with fabulous Sydney based producer Dave Symes. The new offering will be released in early 2012 on Vitamin Records. During this time out, Melia & Nerida not only birthed a new album, but also two beautiful little boys! Melia & Nerida are thrilled to be returning to the world of performing in Spring 2012.

Scarlett Affection is the sassy, cheeky theatrics of sisters Melia & Nerida. With an onstage delivery that is infectious, original catchy songs and the remarkable chemistry of sisters on stage.