Eric Fortaleza’s passion for music is contagious and we’ve caught the bug.

Eric Fortaleza’s passion for music is contagious and we’ve caught the bug.

Love music?  Catch some of Sydney’s top up-and-coming artists at Westpoint’s weekly ‘Live on the Lawn’ events. Held every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, and with a matinee on Sunday arvo, Live on the Lawn features an exciting mix of live bands and performers each week.

To get us in the mood for the upcoming shows, we caught up with local music industry identity, Eric Fortaleza.

Eric plays bass guitar, an instrument he says he only picked up 10 years ago “because every other position in the band was taken.” Eric has since established himself as a mainstay in the Western Sydney music community.

If there’s live music happening in the Western suburbs, chances are Eric has something to do with it. Not only did he help to organise Live on the Lawn, he performs weekly with his band, The Mogadishu Family Band, too.

In 2016, he was awarded the Blacktown Arts Residency Grant and late set up the monthly Western Sydney Jam Session to provide his community with a place for young musicians to meet, jam, and showcase their musical talents – something Eric says was his way of giving back to the suburbs that provided him with so much.

Eric’s foray into music occurred later than you might expect. He was 17-years-old and had only been playing guitar for two weeks before performing at his high school’s Valentine’s Day concert. Today, he makes a living as a session musician, playing with several bands throughout Sydney. One day he might be “playing pub-rock to a crowd in a bar,” the next he’s leading a 15-piece big band.

Eric’s career has provided him with some incredible opportunities: he’s hung out with John Mayer; been officially welcomed into the Fender Musical Instruments Family; and met the legendary Stevie Wonder at his annual Christmas charity concert in Los Angeles.

Despite all of his achievements, Eric remains incredibly down to earth. The bonds that he’s forged with local musicians and his enthusiastic approach to promoting fellow performers come from his sincere belief that the Blacktown musical scene is home to some amazing talent.

Eric winds up our conversation in his typically nonchalant but inspirational manner, offering the following message to the Western Suburbs’ young people: “It doesn’t matter what the world tells you you should be. It doesn’t matter where you are from. Just tell and show the world what you want to be.”

Come down and see Eric and the Western Sydney Jam House Band on Thursdays from 6pm. And if you’re hungry, any one of On Four’s 11 great restaurants is sure to cater to your cravings.

For more information on Live on the Lawn click here.