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Breathtaking

Claire Anne Taylor, Jay Jarome, Ben Austin + Samantha Hammersley

Pull up a pew (literally) as the magnificent St John’s Church plays host to the second of the Breathtaking series – this year featuring three powerful new voices and one piano virtuoso. 

Featuring Claire Anne Taylor, Jay Jarome, Ben Austin and Samantha Hammersley and hosted by Junction’s Creative Director, Greg Clarke.



Claire Anne Taylor

With a voice that recalls a huskier, feminine version of Van Morrison, Claire Anne Taylor crafts soulful folk songs that are alternatively lush and intimately earthy. Born in a barn built by her parents in Tasmania's ancient Tarkine rainforest, Taylor’s music is reflective of her wild and remote upbringing. With her colossal vocals, honest storytelling and powerfully captivating stage presence, her live shows leave the audience in no doubt that they have just witnessed something extraordinary.

In January, 2019 she released her second studio album, titled 'All The Words'. A rich, soulful masterpiece from the Tasmanian songstress. Recorded in a wooden cabin in Tasmania's Huon Valley, by esteemed producer Chris Townend (Portishead, Silverchair, Tim Finn, Ngaiire) the album sees Taylor's powerful, smokey voice set amongst a rich musical palette of soul, folk, gospel and blues. Over the past few years, Taylor has been carving out quite a reputation for herself, including: two national album launch tours, a co-headline tour with William Crighton and two Festival Of Small Halls tours with Canadian artists The Small Glories and Dave Gunning. She has also played at numerous festivals, such as Byron Bay Bluesfest, Nannup Music Festival, Bello Winter Music, Mullum Music Festival, The Gum Ball Festival, Dashville Skyline, and Dark Mofo.

Jay Jarome

Hobart based singer songwriter Jay Jarome comes with a unique blend of Soul, R&B, Folk and Funk. Born and raised on Bribie Island in Southeast Queensland, this young artist made the move to Hobart on a scholarship to study songwriting at the UTAS Conservatorium. Now in his third year of Uni, Jay is working on his debut album which is to be released in November 2019.

Benjamin Austin – Piano

Ben is currently undertaking a PhD in Music Performance at the Melbourne Conservatorium under Professor Ian Holtham, receiving an Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship as well as the Phyllis Judd/Therese de Kretser Scholarship. He graduated in 2012 from the Queensland Conservatorium with a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours, studying under Natasha Vlassenko. In 2014, Ben was guest soloist at the Cairns Winter Music School under the direction of UK conductor Mark Eager, and also won the Peoples Choice Prize at the Australian National Piano Award. In 2012 he won first Prize in the Australian Society of Keyboard Music competition and the Brisbane Club Award, as well as again receiving the Peoples Choice Prize at the 2012 ANPA. Ben was runner‐up in the 2011 Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition, also winning prizes for best performance of a Russian Work, Prelude and Fugue, and Virtuoso Study. Ben was the State Representative at the MBS Young Performers Award 2011 in Sydney and was a guest performer at the 25th Tyalgum Festival of Classical Music.
The fourth of six children, Ben was born and raised in Launceston, Tasmania.

Samantha Hammersley - Vocalist
Samantha has most notably appeared as Dusty in ‘Dusty – The Original Pop Diva’, Belle in ‘Beauty and the Beast’, Madelaine in ‘The Wild Party’, Philia in ‘Forum’, Nancy in ‘Oliver!’, Joanne in ‘Rent’, Judy Bernley in ‘9 to 5’ and as Miss Gardner in Carrie, for various theatre companies throughout Tasmania and Melbourne. In 2012, Sam was selected to travel to the United States to train with prominent industry professionals such as Lisa Beach (casting director), Adriana McPhee (vocal coach) and Alyson Stoner (choreographer). During this time, Samantha performed at several notable venues, including Disneyland, Universal Studios, and at the San Diego Carols by Candlelight. In 2018, Sam performed the role of Madame Thenardier for Encore Theatre Company’s production of Les Misérables, for which she won Best Supporting Performance (Female) at the 2019 Tasmanian Theatre Awards.