The editor of my last book messaged me and told me that her friend was singing in a fabulous venue near my home. I had to meet Tania Rose, and was regaled with her exquisite voice as she sat at the grand piano. One of my companions requested David Bowie, and she was beguiling in her renditions. This is her story.
When did you uncover your calling as a singer/musician?
I never really set out to be anything. I remember creating my own music when I was seven years old, and politely refusing music lessons due to the horror stories of music teachers I had heard from my peers. Music was an escape for me. When I created music, I was transported to this place inside my head, like a universe filled with galaxies, gas clouds of colour and feelings beyond the human experience. It was a place of wonder and beauty, and more precious to me than anything else. It was MY place, where I was free.
I guess it was a calling of sorts, but the road travelled in order to bring it into the real world was financially difficult, and often impossible at times. I had a sudden realization at the age of twenty that I had chosen the path of a musician when I literally woke up one morning and told myself “I am a music composer!” from that moment on I held my resolve to find a way to support myself doing the things I was passionate about, and often went hungry as a result.
Did you have any other jobs along the way?
My work in disabilities helped me in many ways, not only in helping me put food on the table and pay my rent, but it also enabled me to see inside human nature through different perspectives. This also helped my art, because I am inspired by the human experience more than anything else. Nature is extraordinary, but there is something about us that holds an endless depth I choose to explore.
I love people, so looking after people with extraordinary needs, and small people who are at the beginning of their life’s journey gave me the work I needed to sustain my joy in music and the arts. I was also a cleaner for a time, and the eeriness of spending time in houses filled with things and no people left an eerie impression; more creative fodder.
As a social educator I discovered much wisdom, which I later drew from as a parent. I had countless jobs as an arts worker and project coordinator, and even did a stint as a bra and corset fitter in intimate apparel! All of this work helped me grow and learn, and helped me carve out my niche in my artistic life.
What are some of the most interesting places you have performed in?
In 1991, I had the pleasure of being one of the founders of Restless Dance Theatre, an integrated dance company for those with and without disabilities. My work with the performers in both dance and music was life-changing, and shaped my work as a musician in the years to come. It was creatively the most inspirational time, and taught me much about process and outcomes. It helped me understand myself and my creative exploration. I was fortunate enough to be able to work with the group for several years, and each time I came back from a tour, I was invigorated and inspired to unlock more of my abilities.
Interesting people you have met in your travels?
I find all people interesting; in fact, much more of my music is inspired by the journeys of folk through life. I am inspired by the human condition, the psyche, and the sense of self. I have met a lot of politicians and famous artists, but it’s the lesser known people whom I find the most fascinating. I like talking to strangers, and I love a sense of community and connection.
Hopes and goals for the future?
I have far too many goals for the years I potentially have left! I’d love to score the Coral Sea Dreaming soundtrack for orchestra, and play the film live on a big screen with live music. I have many books I hope to write, and some are to be published this year.
There’s about a dozen albums in progress, and many more individual music works in development. I want to find more ways to share my experience, and help others find ways to explore their own potential.
Life is such a rich tapestry for me, where the seemingly small means so much and the large is worth pondering. Every day I am grateful for the choices I have made, and the path I choose to follow. Some days are harder than others, but when you have a deep love of life, success and destination aren’t the motivators. Life holds more for me in the journey, and the momentum of connections than in the arrival of “getting there.”
You can hear Tania perform regularly at Upstairs at Freds
Photographs of Tania Rose take by Leanne Creagh