Tips of the Trade: Living Overseas

Tuesday, 15 Jul 2014


‘Buses and Trains’ was understatedly the Australian ballad of the 90’s earning Bachelor Girl and the duo lead singer Tania Doko, APRA Song of the Year back in 1999. Tania since has had an illustrious career on both sides of music, performing and writing songs for artists all over the world. Tania is now living in Stockholm, Sweden, making music and working with artists from all around the world. We spoke to Tania about her career, how she came to find herself in Sweden and what tips she would give to other songwriters looking to move overseas.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your music career.

I’ve been in this business for over twenty years and it’s been a most colourful time. I started as an artist/songwriter in Bachelor Girl, back in the 90’s. Our single ‘Buses and Trains’ won the APRA Song of the Year in 1999 and I was with the band until around 2005. I then went on to have my own independent projects and bands and toured extensively. In 2012 I made the move to Sweden and now I’m working as a singer/songwriter working with some incredible artists.

I couldn’t have predicted that now my career would be more of a songwriter than a performer. Now not only am I writing music for other artists, I’m also a vocal coach and artist mentor (as part of Platinum Artist Development). I’ve had songs cut and released in The Netherlands, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Italy, Australia and Spain. It’s been a diverse and crazy journey so far.bachgirl.jpg

How did you come to base yourself overseas? 

Before I moved to Sweden I was travelling a lot. My publisher Sony/ATV was sending me to songwriting workshops in both the UK and the US so I was always travelling for music.  In 2012 I finally made the decision to move to Sweden. I’d been to Stockholm a number of times beforehand and it had a great creative vibe about the place. I really enjoyed making music there, so I thought why not.

What were/are some of the challenges you have found with being an Australian songwriter overseas?

I think the biggest challenge is missing home. It’s a bit difficult being away from home and family, which can often give you some of your creativity. I miss having Australians around me.

What advice do you have for people who want to relocate overseas?

I would say to anyone looking to move overseas to do small trips at first. I went on small songwriting trips to LA, the UK and Europe. I found you can really get a feel for the creativity and opportunities of an area in a couple of weeks. Talk to everyone you can and head along to as many live gigs as you can, that’s where you will find label reps. Now because of the internet you can find contacts in almost every country in the world! So talk to people before you visit the country, set up some studio time or look into organisations for songwriters. 

Once you find a place that has everything you need, then you should go through the process of getting visas and moving.

How has APRA AMCOS helped you when you have been overseas? Taniastudio.jpg

I really feel like if I ever need anything, even though I’m in Sweden I can pick up the phone and speak to someone or email someone and APRA AMCOS are quick and responsive. I’m not just saying this because this interview is for APRAP. I really feel a great sense of care from the APRA AMCOS staff and it’s a tough time for songwriters so we need all the help we can get.

Why did you become an APRA AMCOS Ambassador? What is it about this organisation that makes you want to represent us?

It was a very special moment; it all has come together like this. I’ve been working with Australian artists in Sweden for a couple of years now and like to be the unofficial welcome to Sweden for Australian songwriters. I’ve helped introduce people to studio connections and give them an insight into the industry over here. It’s something I’m passionate about and connecting Aussies with the rest of the world. So to be an APRA AMCOS Ambassador is quite natural to me and I’m thrilled to be helping in the Nordic regions.

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