A modern-day Nancy Drew unearthing gold in an over-commercialised music industry minefield, Queensland-born journalist Tiana Speter is cutting through the crap, amplifying the voices of talented Australian and international acts via her website The Soundcheck.
A self-described ‘eclectic musical vampire,’ Tiana has been making waves in Australian music media since 2017, interviewing, reviewing and championing quality music she loves. Growing up on the Gold Coast with a music teacher for a mother, this whimsical wordsmith was raised on classical soundscapes, but it was hearing Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody for the first time at age six that ignited her passion for the heavier music she adores today.
Currently working a day job as a TV Producer for Channel 7 in Sydney, Tiana keeps wild hours to pursue her passion project which involves regularly attending gigs, fielding emails and curating fresh content. It’s a hectic schedule, but a price she more than happily pays to live her wildest creative dreams, proving some naysayers wrong along the way.
“I didn’t actually realise when I was younger that the music industry was a career option,” said Tiana. “My high school was very academic and I was told point blank by friends’ parents and teachers that I’d never find work in creative fields, that I should focus more on ‘real’ career options.”
“But ‘to hell with them’ I thought to myself. I went to university and studied music, met people who inspired me and made me feel less weird. I never really had a Plan B – I knew I had to work in something creative, even if the dollar bills weren’t there.”
A decade after graduating she made her creative dream a reality, launching The Soundcheck in 2017. Two and half years on she’s connected with hundreds of artists – from international heavyweights like Don Broco and The Darkness’ Rufus Taylor to homegrown talents like Osaka Punch, who were her first concert ever in their former incarnation as The Kidney Thieves – all experiences she considers ‘pinch-me’ moments along with countless others.
“Writing about music and exploring the insane depth of talent out there is just far too exciting to me. Having people read, engage with and value my work is the icing on the cake. It’s very humbling, terrifying and exciting.”
“I’ve learned along the way to trust my instincts but to be open to change. Everyday there’s something new to listen to, or there’s some crazy new opportunity. I never have writer’s block because no two songs or albums or artists are the same.”
A breath of fresh air in an industry she admits can be full of game-playing and financial warfare that stacks the odds against emerging acts, Tiana says it’s connecting with passionate and dynamic artists and industry personnel that keeps her on track.
“The Queensland music scene is a such a unique and precious pocket in the industry – us Queenslanders are just so gosh darn nice. We need more venues, we need more opportunities for local bands and we need the government to realise the worth of the industry.”
“If we can have more opportunities to put these acts front and centre, it really bypasses the bullshit. If you build it, they will come.”
And if you’re a fellow dreamer unsure about whether or not to pursue your passion, Tiana has some words of wisdom for you…
“Whatever your dream is, just do it! It took me 10 years to take the plunge and do what I’d always wanted to do. Is it hard work? You bet your ass it is! But is it worth it? Hell f*cking yes!
“Ask yourself: what have I got to lose? If it’s nothing – go all in and never look back.”
Muser of the Moment is a monthly feature celebrating hard-working individuals doing brilliant things to support the Queensland music scene.