Working 9-5, what a way to make a living. OR 9-3?  

This week's blog is an unashamed discussion point - the new "6 hour work day" being introduced in Sweden.
The policy is once again making Aussie papers, certainly revolutionary, and elegant, in theory. Ballsy, in fact! Apparently, Aussies are working longer, not smarter(ironically though today is a public holiday in Victoria on account of it being Grand Final Eve). Australia is looking curiously to Sweden to see if a 6 hour work week produces more productivity at work, and happier employees all round. It certainly fits in with Sweden's priority to consider families first and put them in the centre of the equation. I get it - If the balance between work, family and 'play' is carefully satisfied, then it stands to reason that we produce a happier and fulfilled population of citizens. 

Thing is, I work in the music business. Self-employed, if you will. Most of my Swedish friends/colleagues don't have traditional jobs. Our jobs are more like a lifestyle. Self-determination, with it's good and bad points, but this is vital to us. Perhaps we can implement our own brand of a '6 hour work day', and/or even get a 'real job', but that's beside the point ;-)  I'd love to know, how is this new 6 hour work day working in Sweden? Can any Swedes shed some light, if their workplace has started to implement this? Does it produce a happier and therefore more effective workplace? If yes, then bring it on. 

I'd love to hear your feedback. And in Oz, do you think we could ever enforce a 6 hour working day? How are we juggling all the responsibilities, and for mums and dads, even affording day care??? But hey, Victorians, don't worry about that stuff today. It's YOUR public holiday, while the rest of the country.. WORK!

T x

 
THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, Oct 1 2015.
http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations/sweden-is-moving-towards-a-six-hour-working-day-as-australias-hours-increase-20150930-gjyp33.html

 

'Tis a new season, but some things never change 

After a mini hiatus, I'm back in blogging world ;-)
 
A Swedish summer(ish) then a whirlwind trip to Oz, and a sad goodbye to my father and uncle who both passed, within 3 weeks of each other. It was their time. Life..is so..intense at times, isn't it? The fragility. Yet, I'm so present to how everything keeps moving, as it must. The cycle of life. Ironically, though, if you're not present and you don't stop, really stop, reflect, review(eg, when I returned to Stockholm and danced around my loungeroom with Leo at 3pm & indulged in a glass of wine - highly unusual for me and It's ok, I was definitely sober), then we're kind of just like machines. Mindless machines. Unconsious choice makers stuck in the daily grind, never learning or growing or better still, BEING. ENJOYING!  Is this all we are? I hope not. But if we're not careful, that's all it will amount to..
 
Anyway, this blog wasn't supposed to come off pondering the meaning of life and I'm certainly a work in progress in the 'staying present' department. But I am somewhat changed after recent (family) events. Torn between two countries(again) and yet so grateful I get to experience two worlds. That old chestnut. It's all ok, and it's time. To keep moving. To embrace what works and shed what doesn't. To unleash, and release.. including new music. To explore undying passions that have been on pause. 
 
I'll be back in the studio cooking up something new, as an artist. I'll also be releasing a deep house track called 'Some Things Never Change'. Because with all this movement and change, it's true.. some things, just don't. Just like unforgettable memories and people, never 'die'.

Peace to you and yours,
Tania

Let's talk about the weather & other first world problems 

You can take the girl out of Oz, but u can't take the Oz out of the girl. As 'Swedified' as I've become, I still need to take the piss.. just a little. Certainly working with my Aussie mates/hit producers Dave & Anthony(DNA) here in Stockholm is bringing out the cheek in me.

I'll fly Sweden's flag anywhere in the world. As I’ve mentioned in previous instalments, this country rocks in many ways. Aside from social & family fair practices, it's also super technologically advanced, and it's even top 3 in Internet connectivity in the world. AND they grow (and nourish) songwriters and producers on trees here, which is extremely cool for me! But, I take issue with 3 downsides to this country that there's just no avoiding, albeit first world problems..  

First world prob # 1 - the weather
Ok, it's now June(summer?!) & we're STILL wearing coats. I mean come oooooon! That's an 8 month winter!!! Now people of Australia, I almost feel bad explaining to Swedes that yes, we do have "chilly" winters, and yes ok, we have wetter winters that 'feel' cold, but these poor Swedes. The lack of vitamin D & the darkness, well, it's the reason why sooo many people ask me, "why the hell do you live here when you're from Australia?!" Well, I didn't move here for the weather folks, and I'm from Melbourne and our weather is schizophrenic anyway. But I must say, Swedish weather can break you, especially If there's not enough reason to stay. 
 

Just this morning!



First world prob # 2 - no cold wash
I can't wash my clothes in cold water here. That's right, there's no cold water function on most washing machines(except good ol' Sissi has a cold wash option on her machine!) Most Swedes think I'm nuts that I even care about this, and they're surprised that cold water even washes your clothes properly. So no cold water option means I can't mix colours, which in turns translates too, with a baby, I now need to do 27 loads to account for all the washing! Apparently that's ok up here because there's lots of water, not like drought stricken 'Straylia(of the past). When Dave from DNA asked his Air b&b landlord "where's the cold wash function?", she glared at him as if he was speaking Zimbabwe. Then he saw the function 'programslut'(which means 'end program’, of course he had no idea of this and read it in his Aussie brain, phonetically), giggled hysterically on the inside ("ok, you can't program cold water but you can program that!’). Needless to say he bit his tongue before he asked anything else 'stupid'. 
 

The 'Programslut' proof



First world problem # 3 - the bedding
Swedes effectively use 2 doonas on a bed for 2 people, instead of one. No top sheet, so you have to wash the doona covers frequently instead. Then they often have a cover over the doonas so it looks all unified. That's a lot of bed making! When Mum visited us after Leo was born, she blurted out,"I can't bare to watch you make your bed and see how long it takes to wash  all the linen and put it back together!" She bought us new linen and one king sized doona.. And sent them all.. From Australia! I see the method to both madnesses(or should I say, mattresses), but most Aussies don't get the Swedish logic, and vice versa. Well, we can't always be in synch, now can we?
 

An example of the Aussie method


Anyway, some people, and countries, have real problems. From where I stand, you're still doing more than OK Sweden :-) 
    Now back to my 27 loads of washing. Especially since I’ve been studio-ing/socialising with DNA for 10 days.
    The laundry needs love.
    Hope you’re getting some vitamin D(try it in tablet form if you’re desperate), wherever you are on the planet. 
    Kram/hug
    T x
 

Letting the hairs down in Stockholm with Dave & Ant from DNA


 

A two hemispher-ean existence 

When I reconnected with Daniel and officially moved to Sweden in 2012, a wise man, who also happens to be an extraordinary songwriter/artist and friend of mine), Eric Bazilian, once said to me, “You've begun a new adventure, one where you belong to two worlds.. and one where you will always feel a part of you is missing. When you’re in Stockholm, you’ll long for Melbourne some days. When you’re in Melbourne, there’ll be this pull for Stockholm. If you can roll with this, and accept those feelings anyway, you’ll be ok”.
 
 Sissi Hagald & Eric Bazilian - play roles equivalent to 'parliamentary advisors' in my life while I'm an ex-pat in Sweden

Sissi Hagald & Eric Bazilian - play roles equivalent to 'parliamentary advisors' in my Swedish, ex-pat life
 

 
Three years later, ain’t that the truth. Eric(American) would know it, he married a Swede too,  20ish years ago, the lovely Sarah.
 
Torn between two worlds… or belonging to two hemispheres?
 
I’m writing this on mother’s day(not in Sweden, but in Australia and many other countries around the globe), and of course I miss my mum today. Just perfect really, because I also have the flu, horizontal, in bed. Courtesy of my hubby, and trying desperately not to pass it on to the lil’ 8 month old mini-viking. 
You could argue I’m in a melancholic mood, but no arguments here, getting this sick means my brain is forced to stop, as the body shuts down, while you check in and reflect on what is so in your own little world. Ugh. Do I have to?! A necessary evil I suppose. Just don’t make any big decisions in this state, they say..
 

Mum and I, in Stockholm 2012 freezing on Daniel's vintage boat(his 'other' baby) but the cockles of our hearts, definitely warm

 

When you’re under the weather, you just want your mum, don’t you?! I do. I had to move to the other side of the planet to begin to kind of resemble(well, I have a way to go yet) the kind of woman I admire in my mother - strong, independent, selfless, generous in her actions, gifted, and a woman who simply DOES NOT STOP until she gets the job done! 'Growing up’ and living in Melbourne for a good 35 years meant an abundance of things - loving family, the best of friends, comfort, support, a successful career, my own house, creativity, opportunity, a University education, unforgettable summers.. and the list goes on. But on some level, I never really did grow up. Being the youngest of three sisters, I always hated to admit, but it was always difficult to shake off the approval junkie in me. Post Bachelor Girl and a couple of solo independent instalments, it was time. Time for a new adventure, because comfort usually brings more of the same, but to take risks and leave the nest is when you really stretch yourself, almost out of necessity. This is something my parents inadvertently taught me by being immigrants themselves(my father’s escape was a little more desperate as he fled communist Albania in the 1940s). Of course they never wanted me, their little ’baby’ to leave Melbourne, but they understood it’s what my soul wanted, just as theirs did, and never fought me on the matter. They graciously... accepted it.
 

Mum(now 75) & Dad(now 86), at the hippie town of Daylesford, Victoria, 2012 on one of our Doko getaways while I visited Oz

 

 
So, I found a new nest in Stockholm or, as I like to call it - the North Pole. And I need to be a version of myself I’ve never known, the strongest ever. And that’s not all bad news really. I gotta take care of my own baby now, even when I’m sick! WHA?!?! I don't remember signing on for that! No, I’m not advocating super womanhood here, nor am I boasting it, but being a mother, also in a foreign country, means 've got to dig deeper, find resources in new places, and ones within myself I never needed to use because someone else could always do it for me. Daniel and I have no family in Stockholm(and of course a million babysitters in Melbourne), so when we both fell sick this weekend, I realised.. yet again, I’m an adult now. I gotta get my shit together and be a powerhouse! (Can’t just spit the dummy - two people are depending on me!) Of course there’s our Stockholm friends, but we’d have to dump Leo on them for days while we recovered, and that’s not fair. Plus, anyone being around us would catch this nasty flu virus in an instant.
 

This woman! Mum. Daniel's first Christmas in Melbourme, 2012. He brings Sweden to Oz with the Swedish traditional Christmas star in the window, makes pepparkakor(gingerbread) and glögg(mulled wine)

 
No newsflash here, whatever hemisphere you're in, life can be painful, end of sentence.  Eric's words frequently spin round in my head. I know that I am torn and miss my posse back home..and I can pine for what I don’t have...or I can accept the wave as it passes over me, and be grateful that I know I’m alive & sweatin' (a temperature of 39 degrees to boot - boofreakinhoo), for the wonderful friends I now have in Stockholm too, and that I put myself in this very position anyway. Careful what you wish for - that ol' chestnut. The moment you step out of your comfort zone, you create new adventures and with them new obstacles. And that's just how that ride goes. You can't have one without the other. 
 

Worlds and fur children coming together in Melbourne, 2012.. and a human child baking in the oven

 


So the ride comes with some prickly bits, and ok, so I can't just duck over and see my folks for an hour. And yes, spontaneous visits have gone out the window. Dump the baby and run down the store without having to take everything bar the kitchen sink, now not likely. And mum can't just fly 24 hours across the globe, and 'abandon' my 86 year old father, so she can steal a quick squeeze from her first and only grandson. BUT - it does come with some supersized awesome stuff, like - double the interesting experiences, opportunities, summers, creative Skype sessions, music, creators, friends, family, excitement to get back 'home', escaping the height of Swedish winters and..  love attacks from every corner of the world. And as distance makes the heart grow fonder, it also romanticises (and catasrophises-is that a word?) almost everything. At the end of the day, even after say, an hour of racketing about the so-called Sweden-Australia battle in my crazy head on any given late afternoon when Leo's teeth are driving us both nuts, I still keep choosing, and winning the 'battle', but over and above it, the little nest I had a big part in creating, the 'Tanielo'.

So, how does one reconcile it all? Well I've learnt it's OK to miss things, and people. It also doesn't mean anything is 'wrong' or I have to change any of it.  I also understand that mine and Daniel's 'new normal' is that no one place or town has 'forever' attached to it, and that my notion of 'home' is now complex. I DID sign on for this the moment I said yes to Daniel, and Stockholm - two fundamental deal-makers in two of my greatest passions in this life - loving partnership and music-making.
Accepting all this as so, is crucial, and incredibly freeing.
 
Thanks Eric. 
I belong to two hemispheres. One nest. Prickly bits and all.

 
 

Eric performs impromptu at our wedding in 2013, and kills us softly with his words, yet again.



(Gentle reminder: Eric is the lead singer/guitarist of 'The Hooters' and also penned the grammy-nominated, worldwide smash, 'One of Us').


'Til next week.. thanks for reading, and sharing. New look website in the works too ;-)
T x

 
 

Mamma land in Sweden - Blog Week 2 

Happy hump day people!
Firstly, thanks for your incredibly generous vibes after last week’s dipping-my-toe-in intro. T'was a real hoot getting your feedback and thankfully, the consensus is, keep going ;-)
 

Leo's & his big Swedish feet at four weeks of age, October 2014 


 

This week, I’d like to delve into my newest role first - mamma land - and in this instalment, examine and rave a little about the Swedish society support for the family. You see, it's not just conceptual, it's real, and a role model system, globally. Once again, my lawyer friend, Sissi, broached this when I first moved to Stockholm. On the subject of having my own potential children she confidently shared, “this is the best country in the world to rear children, and you will most probably want to have them here”. Of course this triggered an immediate reaction in me, ‘No way! I can’t be apart from my family in Oz, after all, my mother has waited a lifetime for grandchildren, I’m the youngest of her 3 daughters and if I had a child on the other side of the world, it would be .. be.. well, I’d be killed!!” Ha. I’m eating my words now. Of course Daniel and I’s choice to stay in Sweden and have a family was not primarily because of the financial benefits(or to be away from my family!), and truth is, money is not a predominant motivator for us. Or the fact that Swedish society is conducive to baby-making ;-) It’s no secret that the ’Nordic model’, if we can call it that, is unique and publicly noted as one of the most generous in the world. I have established myself as a songwriter/artist/coach here in Stockholm, world-renowned for its extraordinary songwriting community, and it has taken some time to reap the benefits after the cost of relocation..so in some ways, I feel like I’m just getting started! Daniel’s new business is also thriving now, and it would take some effort to ‘start again’ in Australia, just as I have been doing in Sweden. Having said all this, there are some undeniable ‘pros’ to living in Sweden and rearing a family, and they are worth highlighting - 
 
'Mamma pengar'- maternity leave
 
Any tax paying resident will receive 70% (ish) of their income in maternity leave. Parents are entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave. Yes, 480 days!!!! Of those, 60 days are reserved for the dad. According to recent stats, dads took around 25% of the total parental leave, and that’s why you see so many dads pushing prams around during the day. This figure is amongst the highest in the world, and it follows from the liberal, homogenous society Swedes have created; where traditional men and women, or mummy and daddy roles are challenged, and families, and everyone’s roles in it, are important and celebrated. Speaking of, I occasionally and affectionately call my hubby a ‘half man half woman’. This is in fact meant as a huge compliment in modern day society. To be handy in every area(!), perhaps also known as metrosexual, is not only very practical, but in my opinion, very attractive. I’ll never forget when Daniel and I first moved in together, I came home one afternoon to find him… vacuuming. Unsolicited!!! Now I’m not saying I wouldn’t find an Aussie male vacuuming, and I can imagine all my daddy male friends do this often, but hey, in my experience, I haven’t actually SEEN it, where the woman doesn’t have to ask for it be done. I’m probably asking for a backlash here, but if it wasn’t true then why was i SO surprised?! Perhaps I’ve just dated very misogynistic men?! I take full responsibility for that.
 
With regards to their social services, it’s not all a bed of roses, and residents of Sweden pay a massive price for them. In so far as massive taxes, again, these are among the highest in the world. But there’s no denying it works, and for the main part, the Swedes trust their system and all its parts. You do get a lot of bank for your buck. How refreshing!
 
‘Dagis’ - baby/child day care
 
As compared with the U.K or Australia, It’s very affordable, because it’s heavily subsidised by the Swedish government.  Although it’s difficult to compare direct figures with say, Australia, here’s the general vibe of what I found after I poked and asked around. Parents in Sweden spend about 5.7% of their income on babies aged between 0-2, and 3.6% between ages of 3 to school age. Compare this to figures from a recent Sydney Daily Telegraph article stating that the average Sydney mum returning to full-time work can expect to lose about two-thirds of her take home pay to day care. What the?! Obviously Sydney is our most expensive capital, but the average national cost is still $75 a day, that’s $375 a week, times that by 48 weeks(if you take 4 weeks off for holidays), that’s a grand total of $18,000 per annum. For the average Aussie, that’s about a third of their take home wage. 
 
In Sweden, there is a very strong push to put your child into ‘dagis’ -  93% of children between 18 months and 5 years attend dagis, and most Swedes trust the high standard of care. So after your 16 months off work, you’re encouraged back into full time employment to contribute to society and your family, while trusting the system will take good care of your child. Whatever your personal stand is on this, (often influenced by what you can afford too), I find it an amazing piece of mind and safety net that the service is readily available and affordable to all, no one is disadvantaged due to class/income, and the ratio of carers to children is also very high.
 
Leo will start dagis when he’s just over one year of age, this October. At this stage, we’ve registered him in ‘part time’. I’m just getting my head around the notion of him being in full time, because where I come from, it’s not that common that your 1 year old is in day care so many hours per week. Obviously with my work, my hours are a little more flexible, so we’ll just see how we go, and how I feel, on that one..
 
Pram and boob friendly
 
By boob friendly, of course I mean, breast-feeding friendly. Perhaps breast-feeding in the middle of brunch with twelve people at the Grand Hotel will be somewhat frowned upon(controversial as it may be), but you can feel safe and secure that feeding your child is almost always, respected by all, as is getting around with your little one. I’ve lost count how many times people have stood out the way for me, or on the rare occasion there's no ramp, help me lift the pram up or down stairs. (I shamefully admit, in my pre-mamma years, I’ve not been so kind on the other end of the stick, and would get quietly annoyed at mums with prams who’d 'take over' supermarket aisles). Of course, the fact that I’m barely 5 foot and have a miniature Swedish viking half my height may have something to do with all the assistance i seem to attract. But, there’s almost always a ‘hiss’(elevator) or ramps of some description on every stair - steel, wood or concrete blanks so you can carefully wheel your ‘barnvagn’ up or down. Initially I was just frightened by these things. Of course I’ve never even see them in Oz, but I didn’t exactly have baby eyes for such things back then. When my sister and mum visited us four weeks after Leo was born, and we ventured out for the first time with Leo, we carried on so ridiculously, it is now laughable - the benefit of hindsight. You see, our nearest train station, just 3 minutes walk away, has no wheelchair ramp, only these two skinny, ‘scary', steep planks of wood to wheel your barnvagn up. Ugh. So together Gloria and I, on a rainy cold late-October day, wheeled little Leo up, but instead of tilting the big wheels down so the pram is still horizontal while traveling upwards, we pushed the pram up the wooden planks as little tiny 3.5 kg Leo progressively traveled down the bassinet, and by the time we reached the top of the platform, he was completely covered by the sleeping bag and blankets. AHHHHHHH! I burst into highly hysterical and hormonal tears and was virtually inconsolable for five minutes… quickly reaching for my baby to save him from potential suffocation. Sob sob sob!! “That’s it, I’m never going out again!!!” My sister and Mum teared up too, worried sick to the core how I was going to get around Stockholm, without a Swedish driver’s licence(yes, that’s the next project), negotiating the Swedish snow and cold. We eventually caught our breaths, Leo survived(he was totally oblivious), and staggered nervously onto the train. We were walking on egg shells all day with our little precious bundle, in case we dropped him or forgot something(of course everything bar the kitchen sink was in that damn Bugaboo pram bag). 
 
That night I retold the said disaster to Daniel, and declared "that’s it, I can’t go out, how can I get the damn barnvagn up the ramp, no wonder these Swedish women are so powerful, they can wheel their buggies up and down those things!" He calmly replied, "don’t worry darling, I’m going to build you something you can take around with you so you can wheel it up.” Yeah, right. The next morning Gloria and Mum went for a stroll to the next station around ten minutes away in the other direction, the last stop on the train line. Much to their sisterly and motherly relief, there it was -  a wheelchair ramp! They came pouncing through the front door like two gleeful deer(the kind we see around our hood), “Tan Tan, it’s going to be ok, there’s a proper wheelchair ramp at the other station! You’re freeeeee!” Again, I burst into tears, this time, exhilarated ones. Needless to say, Daniel never needed to build me his BS contraption to appease me and now, would you believe, I’m one of ‘those’ women, who can pull the barnvagn up the skinny, once scary planks of wood, with snow on, at the station just three minutes away from our home. In fact, now I can even conquer three times the length. Lesson - it always feels impossible, until it’s done ;-)
 

The apparent too skinny/scary 'ramp'


 

The not-so-perfect stuff
 
Of course there’s a few ‘cons’ to these seemingly all fair, all equal, liberal, Swedish objectives. The side-effect means then that standing out, airing honest feelings or concerns or having an individual voice different from the consensus, may mean you come across some particularly challenging road blocks, practically and emotionally. Of course any society can complain of this, but it's particularly so in Sweden, where a word like 'lagom', meaning just the right amount or in moderation, are said to actually describe the Swedish national psyche, one of consensus and equality. Speaking specifically in 'mamma land' then, for argument's sake, my personal small stature meant that I was not able to have a natural child birth(and an unusually small pelvis), so my ensuing C-section was almost an emergency one. If it were not for good ol’ Sissi, who warned me(and retold a story of another small girlfriend of hers and her horrible child birth experience), that because it’s all about ‘al natural’ in this society, combined with Swedish women being typically tall, and a hell of lot taller than women of southern European origin(me-very much in the minority!), c-sections are barely discussed ahead of time, unless of course you’re in labour for up teen hours and there’s no way that head is comin’ through. So as to avoid a possible emergency c-section, (after an impossibly long labour), I demanded a test weeks before I was due, on Sissi’s instruction, to check my pelvis size. There exists such a test, but in Sweden you almost have to insist on it! Sure enough, I was way too small. When this result finally came in, it was only nine days before my expectant date, so I was called in urgently to schedule the c-section for the very next day, to avoid possible early contractions. Now in Australia, I’ve been told that any obstetrician would have taken one look at me and concluded this much earlier, or at least, we would have explored all the options in the seemingly endless time during the pregnancy! Conversely, any time I bought it up with my mid-wife during those weeks, (who was always very nice) it almost felt taboo and the ‘wait and see’ approach was adopted. Thank goodness I listened to Sissi!I  was awake and alert, with Daniel(a little more shaky), to experience the wonder and amazingness of our little lion's arrival. Lesson - integrating and being open to a new system/country/job doesn’t mean you should lose your voice - speak up, be you, wherever you are. 
 
 
Well, this all feels like pandora’s box, in a good way..once you dive in, there’s more and more to discover and pull apart. But we have time! I’d love to hear from anyone who can relate out there, particularly in mummy world(and there’s certainly more personal feelings to explore and admit to!) or daddy world, or what the hell, any citizen of the world who wants to make a contribution, or just plain vent! I better quit now, while I’m behind, on my Swedish homework.. and Leo calls. Well, actually, now he’s yelling in go-gah talk. Translated: "Enough now mum, gimme ooooove!!” And so the balancing act continues.. what a lucky problem to have ;-)
 

Have a rockin’ week, whatever ‘world' you’re in.
 
Tan. X
 

My 'yeah right' face when Daniel tries to console me the day of the pram disaster. Interestingly, he's wearing his work fireman look jacket. No, he's not a fireman but boy, was he trying to put out a fire that day.

Confessions of a new mum, new 'Swede', former Bachelor Girl-(now-married)-artist/songwriter.. and all things in between.. BLOG WEEK 1, April 2015 

A fellow Stockholmer and powerhouse friend of mine, Sissi Hagald, recently suggested I start blogging. I guess she finds my stories somewhat entertaining(she is an entertanment lawyer, after all)…and that even my verbal diahorrea and inner most thoughts regarding living thousands of miles from my home town Melbourne, Australia, as a singer/songwriter with my Swedish husband(Daniel) and little 7 month old viking(Leo) could actually make a difference out there, and quite possibly add value to any fellow mother, wife, creative, or person/mum living abroad who's remotely interested. To document these extraordinary experiences and challenges of all four ‘roles' I essentially play right now - and how they work together, and sometimes against each other. Balancing them, embracing them, accepting them, surrendering to them, laughing(at them), crying about them ;-)
 
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that this little project is foremost for my own sanity.. Like any decent song I’ve ever written that happened to move people, I just had to get the pus out. No difference here. As Jerry Mcguire resigns himself to this fact, as do I(ok, I admit I do use a few too many quotes from that flick), "I have lost the ability to bullshit."

So here we go.. where to start? Perhaps just a quickie, just to dip the toe in. 
No time like the present to springboard from. Everything makes more sense from the ’now’.  It’s no accident I should choose now, to dive into this new little venture of blogging. After a 4 year process, today I finally received my Swedish permanent residency. Thank you Sweden! Tack Sverige! Most would argue bearing a Swedish child and marrying a Svensson(I mean a Thorgren, sorry hun) were the two likely factors in securing the deal.. nevertheless, one must never take being the recipient of a foreign visa for granted. It makes me somewhat reflective, grateful and peaceful that indeed my greatest 'hits' (to even my own surprise), created in Sweden, are my hubby and son. It also affirms that powerful gut feeling way back in 1999 when James Roche and I(as Bachelor Girl), on a US and European promotional trip, including a day in Stockholm, when I walked outside of the Sheraton(yeah, thanks BMG) overlooking stunning Gamla Stan(‘Old Town’) and pontificated, “I could actually live here one day". I knew, on some level, that I could call Stockholm, literally on the other side of the planet, my Stock-home. Or at least my Northern Hemispherean home. Mind blowing, since I could never fathom being that far away from my posse of dear family and friends(of course this is my ongoing dilemma.. but more on that later), but the pull was so strong, I obviously could not, and did not ignore it.  It was the Swedish infectious songwriting community that initially drew me here, and it was against this backdrop that creating a whole new world, beA it as a renewed artist/songwriter and then as a mum, gave me a kick-up-the-butt I needed, and invited. 
 
As if to commemorate my recently granted ‘Svensson-ness’, today on our walk(yes, going out on a sometimes seemingly aimless mid-afternoon pram walk, just before the witching hours, is a must, and I acknowledge all mums who advised me.. right again! It’s crucial in order to prevent cycling down into permanent insanity), Leo and I saw a deer prancing around in the woods(still a novelty for this wombat), and tomorrow, I finally, FINALLY start Swedish lessons with my own Swedish tutor, Caroline. I find my worlds accidentally-on-purpose colliding again, as Caroline’s favourite city on the planet, just happens to be Melbourne, when she commuted with her now ex Aussie boyfriend - 6 months Melbourne, 6 months Stockholm. Sounds familiar, and I think we might get along just fine ;-) 

So as I embrace my (new) inner Swede, whilst holding true to my Aussie/Italian/Albanian roots, reminding myself that I’m still an artist that needs to express herself, and try not to f*** up my most significant gig ever, being a mum, I’m prepared to write and expose all the silly, and even more serious adventures that comes with all of it, weekly. I hope you’ll come along for the ride, share your experiences, insights, and just basically get around some of these honest offerings I'll put out into cyber world.

We haven't even scratched the surface yet... 'Til next week!
 
T x
 

Bachelor Girl says YES! 

It's been too long again, and yes time escapes don't it?! 

Summer is here, and crazy Swedish midsumma celebrations are here this weekend! YEOOOOOOOOOW! We've been prepping the boat and finally got it out at sea and into the beautiful Swedish archipelegos.. 'we' being me and my Swedish better half, Daniel. YES I SAID IT! I have a Swedish 'better' half!!! ;-) In fact he asked me to marry him in Gran Cranaria last month on my birthday and SHE SAID YES!!! I may be dethroning my Bachelor Girl status legally, but you know, deep down, I'll always be THAT girl! Good times, happy days...

I've been flat chat in the song writing world, with confirmed releases like Dutch Jill Helena and the Spanish songstress Chenoa unveiling songs I've co-written. Samantha Jade certified 3 times platinum for our little baby with Jorgen and DNA(congrats for your recent APRA boys!), and have a couple of tunes on hold for big Japanese acts I can't speak of yet(cos I'd have to kill you all otherwise). I've played some fun gigs in Gran Cranaria(Gay Pride) and Finland, including judging/mentoring at the BIG JAM comp.. another gig coming up on July 3 for you fun, Finnish peeps.

My newest and most exciting new 'baby' is the launch and momentum of PLATINUM ARTISTS DEVELOPMENT Sweden. Please check out the flyer on this site if you're interested in making a demo/record with us. I've also been having a blast vocal coaching on the side, and I think my awesome students are coaching ME at the same time ;-) Such fuel for the soul for my artist and writer sides, and I surprise myself every lesson at how much I feel I can pass on after 20 years plus experience. It's making life incredibly busy and full to juggle all the hats, but if you're keen and musical already, on any corner of the planet, I'm more than happy for you to join my little school and from there, anything is possible.

Looking forward to my mum and aunt arriving to Stockholm in August, and us all trapsing off to their home town Montecilfone, Italy for some no frills, mortadella filled, mozzarella laced, village and beach time with the relatives ;-) Then it's Berlin and L.A for writing trips in September, and maybe even a trip to Oz in November for some possible Bachelor Girl gigs. Christmas back in Stockholm and 2 months of Aussie summer with my tenacious D early 2014. Hold onto your hats! 

Solo artist pursuits are on hold for now, but they're still cooking(as always)... watch this space!

Would love to hear from y'all out there in cyber world.. love getting your mail & comments. 
I'm finally on Instagram now too... follow me at Ted Tania

Baci, pussar, kisses 'n stuff.

EUROPE & U.S - HAPPY SUMMER DAYS! I've never appreciated SOLEN as much as I do now.
OZ & the Southern Hem - hold on and keep each other warm. 

Tan x


February 2nd 2013 

 Happy 2013 peeps!
 
My first blog for the year, back in Sweden after a whirlwind trip back to Oz for Christmas and New Year's with the Doko clan, was a combination of fabulous, sunny AND a crazy time connecting with fam and long time buddies again. Hope you guys got some quality time with those closest to you…
 
Got to squeeze in some Sydney tourist time (a rarity) including rocking their beaches and some writing days with DNA (who I share the Sammi Jade X Factor winning single with). We smashed out another tune we're extremely proud of.. but more on that soon ;-)
 
The showcase late last year was soooo much fun, and this year is all about bringing live gigs to you the people. So more on that soon too, including an exciting artist release for me, and outside artists recording and releasing songs in 2013 I've penned..
 
After a stop by London last week for an Australia Day performance with my buddy accompaniment Dean Lotherington at Australia house (the most prestigious Oz day event on the UK calendar), I'm now adjusting back into a chilly but somehow cosy Stockholm life. As much as "I Still Call Australia Home'" ( i got to bang that one out at the Oz day gig), I really call Stockholm another home now. As an Aussie always being a million miles away from everything, I still pinch myself that I can just 'pop' into another Euro city for a few days to holiday, write or perform.. including PRIDE GRAN CANARIA main stage May 12!!! And on the Pride front, we'll keep posting tour dates up as they're booked.. we got a few in the pipeline ;-)
 
Sooooo I'd love to hear from any or all of you.. how was your summer if you're from the Southern Hem, or Northerners how are you coping in the winter?? I want to hear from you! Hopefully I'll get to meet some of you at a show somewhere in Europe this year.
May 2013 be your newest rockin' year ;-)

 
PUSS OCH KRAM
 
Tania x
 

November 15th 2012 

Sweeeeet peeps!!

Just a quickie to say Hej Hej!!!
Life is rich & full & crazy & wonderful right now. As an artist it's an exciting time, as well as a songwriter.
November 28th sees myself, and 2 fellow Swedish artists, put on an exclusive showcase for industry & supporters. I'm
showcasing my new album for the first time in Sweden! I'm a cocktail blend of schizophrenic nerves & pure excitement right now, and it's time to set the babies free into the Swedish wild.. We are busy rehearsing, refining the show with back tracks & some exciting collaborations, nailing the costume-age.. It feels oh so familiar yet different way up north. Of course I'll report back to you straight after & will post pics..
2013 we bring the show to YOU all!!!

As a writer, I've been penning tunes for outside pitches for Korea, Finland & the U.S (just returned from LA - went nuts on shopping, sun & writing, and I'm only just over the jet lag) Plus, I might be able to share some big Aussie release news with you.....next week :-)

I'll be back in Oz in exactly 4 weeks which I'm super pumped about & will get all the vitamin D one can seriously collect in 6 weeks. I'll then return to London for an Australia Day function and then back to Stockholm for finishing touches on the album recordings. I hate to be the CIA but in the coming weeks I'll be able to reveal some of the exciting collabs on the record, but for now I gotta be boring and keep my mouth shut. You know how it is.. Don't count your chickens before they hatch blahdiblah.

Well, I'm writing this on the tunnelbana on the way to see super cool up & coming electronic producer Adrian Bood (who works with one of my faves Mike Snow! Ahhhh!) to see what we can come up with for a 'featuring' track, engaging the doofy side of me :-)

Please keep in touch & thanks for visiting, staying up to date AND interested.
You're awesome.

Puss och kram from a 3 degree Stockholm.. But hey, at least the sun is out.

T x

Post Euro summer update... 

 Hey peeps!

Well it's always too long in between drinks with my blog.. I know ;-)
Forgive me please!

So, the headlines are:

My record is well and truly under way now. Penned 2 new songs last week, and had an inspiring & productive week on my existing priority songs with Maria Marcus & Stefan Orn out at the jaw-dropping Dreamhill Studios, and finished up the week at Scandinavian songs back at Maria Torget, also with Niclas Lundin. I feel as though we have serious momentum now, and can't get enough!!! I WISH I could tell you about the lead song, and who's involved, but I just can't yet (grrrr… I know, so cliche and boring) BUT needless to say, I LOVE this track and who's associated with it. It says so much literally and ironically, as well as me feeling like an alien sometimes way up here in the north. A very welcome alien at the least ;-) Where are we at now? Half of the record is enjoying some last minute tweaks and is being mixed as we speak..

On the live front, I've been gigging my ass off ;-) Both on the Pride circuit and my new pop rock Swedish band.. Since I last wrote I performed at Leeds Pride & Manchester Pride (rocking' crowds at both, caught some London Olympic action & Manchester Pride was a secret dream come true!). Booked a run of Finnish pop rock gigs showcasing album material and tunes never before played. We rehearsed and played hard! I've said it before but there are fewer things finer than playing new tunes in a new country. What a buzz, and to feel like people are really feeling these songs, just after one time of hearing them, is the shizzle. Please check out our pics on the photo page and keep checking tour dates as we are booking more gigs for Sweden and Finland before the year's out. I also have a little acoustic performance in London on Sept 30 at The Apartment, Soho (see flyer), and will be playing a little old and a little new with one of my favourite person's on the planet, Dean Lotherington, who musically produced the theatre piece, 'Seriously. The Pet Shop Boys Reinterpreted' I featured in. London friends - hope to see you there for a special afternoon showcasing Aussie talent..

I also squeezed in a Sardegnian (Italy) holiday. LOVED that island, mixed in with a dose of the mother country...

The countdown is also on to get a truck load done in the studio before I go back to Oz for Christmas, and to secure the right label for the release of this record. Nothing concrete yet, and I'm still an independent artist and loving the creative freedom. Starting again (but not in a way) in Europe has been a great, next challenge for me, and most of the time I thrive on it, and of course, sometimes I feel like the the big Aussie alien that doesn't belong. But careful what you wish for, and I most certainly got that. It's wonderful to be reaping benefits of my trips back and forth, and to have established strong business, creative and friendship ties in Europe now. I feel like I've created a little family here too, and while nothing replaces home, I can feel and see an inspired future here in Sweden… and right now, I'm very present to this and am feeling the joy of making music, friendships and a real life here.

Have you checked out www.platinumartists.com.au yet? We are well and truly under away in Sweden! Please get in touch with us if you're an up and coming artist, writer or producer looking to connect with Sweden's music elite! We could make a difference…

I'm finally starting Swedish language classes in 2 weeks. AHHHH! Yes something MUST be done. My Swedish is pathetic and I need to be involved in more Scandic conversations, so I'm giving it a good crack!

My mum arrives in 11 days…AHHHHH x 100! So excited to spend some serious quality time with her, and to reveal this extraordinary part of the world to her. I miss Australia in so many ways, people who I've known forever, and read THE AGE every day just so I can stay connected ;-) I'm missing things like AFL footy finals fever, and RAMP's reunion (Whitelion and Reach's program for mentoring young people in residential care), my 20 year high school reunion at OLSH… but the distance forces me to dig deeper and appreciate you all even more. I can't wait to unleash new material for real this time as an artist again, not just as a songwriter. It's been a long time coming. Thanks for your patience and your loyalty.. particularly on all the online forums.. you're awesome.

Bachelor Girl and/or myself solo may do a 'homecoming show' this Oz summer. I'll keep you posted of course.

OK I better sign off before I get way too mooshy for anyone to handle. I've probably already crossed that line already ;-) Please stay in touch in whatever way floats your boat.

'Til next time!

Puss och kram

Doko out x