Career longevity within the music industry, as any professional in the field would concede, requires a certain degree of skill, stamina, and grit.
But more importantly, it's passion that truly reinforces the stand against the test of time. The same way we can listen to our favorite songs over and over, it's a love for the industry and those who work to build it that gives music professionals their persistence and verve. These are the qualities JMC searches for in our incredible educators and trust their industry expertise to inspire the next generation of creative leaders.
Nobody knows this better than JMC Lecturer Jane Gazzo, who has just received the Music Journalist of the Year Award at the 2023 Australian Women In Music Awards (AWMA’s). For Jane, a career in the music industry is less about perseverance and more about dedication. The music journalist, radio and television presenter, DJ, author, and educator holds an impressive list of projects to her name, including two published books (John Farnham: The Untold Story and Sound as Ever! A Celebration of the Best Decade in Australian Music 1990-1999), the formation of 1990’s punk band Rubher, an extensive list of hosting stints ranging from Channel V, Max, triple j, BBC Radio 6 and Triple M, plus the creation of the Sound as Ever initiative.
Jane Gazzo at the 2023 AWMA's. Photo: Albert Perez/Getty Images.
Starting as a Facebook group to document and celebrate the Australian music of the 1990’s, Sound as Ever has now grown to become an online community with over 20K members, with merchandise, CD and vinyl releases, a book, and various shows. "I'm quite productive in the sense that I am always looking for new projects and possibilities, and if they are not out there, I generally create them", Jane explains. "I love music and enjoy the process of preserving the stories of Australian artists and their legacy. I am always thinking up my next projects. I'm not the kind of person to sit and wait till opportunities come my way. I will generally go out and make them happen".
Dedication is multidimensional for Jane, particularly when it comes to the scope of her journalistic endeavors. She regularly dons the boots of a world-class historian or detective, delving deep into the archives of Australia’s 80’s and 90’s musical eras (where the absence of camera phones and computers have left significant gaps in recorded history). Since 2017, she's worked with the Australian Music Vault at Arts Centre Melbourne, writing and recording interviews with legacy artists from these decades.
"I enjoy the interview process and the idea that these interviews and stories will be accessible to our future generations", Gazzo shares. Her passion for preserving the past extends to the Sound as Ever Facebook group, where she aims to collect untold stories from the 90’s from the lived experiences and memories of online fans.
Jane attributes some of her career development to great teachers in high school, especially her media teacher, Mark Bailey, who fueled her passion for media and cinema. Now, as an educator herself, she echoes the popular saying, "Teaching is a great way to keep learning", saying that’s what she feels she is doing every day at JMC.
As Australia’s (and the world’s) music industry continues to grow and evolve in the wake of changing media and technologies, maintaining work/life balance and prioritising tasks in a portfolio career such as Jane’s now faces more obstacles, but also opportunities, than ever before. "Using my time wisely has become my focus as I get busier", says Jane on how she balances her various roles. “I have a diary! A physical diary (I won’t use electronic ones) and I write my to-do list daily. There is always something to do, so dividing my time between teaching at JMC, writing and researching for the Vault and being a mother to 2 young boys is really important. Sometimes it just doesn’t balance and that’s ok”.
Jane also emphasizes the importance of staying updated with the ever-evolving music industry and offers insights on industry trends, stating, "I would love to see radio raise their Australian music quotas. I don't think radio supports enough homegrown artists (certainly not the commercial stations), and I think radio in general needs a shake-up. Playing the same 5 songs a day on high rotation serves nobody".
The rise of AI in journalism and its potential impact on storytelling is also an issue that has gotten Jane thinking lately. "I know that the introduction of AI has brought about job cuts and really had us asking questions about the future of music journalism as we know it… I do wonder how much of the stuff we read in the next 12 months will be generated by AI", she says. "I hope it gets younger writers wanting to be better writers", she adds, highlighting the need for human emotion in storytelling, something that AI cannot replicate.
When it comes to creative blocks, Jane is no stranger but says she has learned to embrace periods of low inspiration and morale. “Sometimes it’s the body’s way of telling me to slow down or do something else”, she explains. “Walking without the phone is a really great way for me to align myself back into my head space. I like to walk for at least an hour and listen to my surrounds. It’s amazing what thoughts and creative ideas can come from this”.
For anyone contemplating a future career in the creative industries, Jane provides some sage advice. She emphasizes that dedication and passion are key, stating, "It can be a rewarding industry, but like most other industries, requires dedication and passion. If you're hoping to get rich quick, forget creative industries. The good stuff takes time".
"The best advice I can give anyone is, keep being creative and don't be afraid to try new things", she concludes, encapsulating the essence of a resilient and passionate career in the music industry. With educators like Jane to help guide JMC’s next generation of creative experts, we can’t wait to see the innovation and evolution that is yet to emerge from Australia’s ever-changing arts sector.
Interview and words by Clare Neal.