While most of his friends were consumed with driving tests and high school exams at age 16, Aaron Vanderaa had his sights on bigger challenges.
When he started his university degree in 2007, Aaron was not sure what to expect and whether he would be able to make the transition to tertiary study successfully.
Now the 20-year-old Bachelor of Creative Arts (Music) graduate was not only the youngest higher education graduate at Charles Darwin University’s recent mid-year ceremony, but he is also the youngest ever to successfully navigate the degree.
Aaron said that being exposed to music and a variety of other creative arts at an early age was a huge driver in beginning his university studies so early.
“My mother introduced us to a variety of different interests, but once my eyes were open to music I never really looked back,” he said.
“Having access to the latest industry surround sound equipment at CDU exposed me to a range of career possibilities in music including audio editing, record engineering and post-production sound design.”
As lead singer and guitarist of local band “Enth Degree”, Aaron and his younger brother Levi have quickly made their marks on Darwin’s entertainment landscape.
The Territory born-and-bred rockers best describe their music as “acoustic rock and electronic”.
Leading up to a planned three-year national tour later this year, Aaron said he believed Darwin’s local music scene has never been in better shape.
"There are so many great young and up-and-coming bands in Darwin, which are attracting a lot of attention from southern promoters," he said.
And while the dream will always be to make it big on the national stage, Aaron won’t be heartbroken if he doesn’t top the ARIA charts.
“No matter where I am, so long as I’m involved with music I’ll be happy,” he said.