• Provider of the greatest "Hey Mum!" in Australian history, Tania Doko is a songwriting powerhouse. In songwriting partnership with James Roche, Bachelor Girl had 3 top 50 singles, 5 ARIA nominations and a Songwriter of the Year award over 1998 and 1999. This freaks me out but we're approaching the twentieth anniversary of this period. Crazy.

    So after years of writing songs based in Stockholm, I've managed to catch Tania during a three week Melbourne trip, where she's creating a new Bachelor Girl album with James to mark this occasion. We discuss the move overseas, the challenges involved with creating with such strict time pressures, the joy of performing, differences between Sweden and Australia, how success affected her social life and attitudes... all through the prism of "what make you happy?" and the Kids Love Balloons vibe.

    We could've gone on for hours and hours - Tania was fascinating to speak with and got right in the zone. For more of an understanding of what she's been up to since the Bachelor Girl days, check out taniadoko.com

    The music that makes her happy is soulful, uplifting and fun - you can see her 3 additions right at the top of the updated Ever-growing Playlist of Joy.


    Please share your thoughts and comments!

  • Author of five published books with more on the way, a podcast which has been picked up by newspaper and radio entities, teaching masterclasses; Nicole Hayes is a creative guru and won't slow down any time soon. After our chat I believe her extreme creative output has plenty to do with how happy she is on a regular basis. That happiness becomes positive energy shared with those around her, and the world is a better place.
    This episode of Kids Love Balloons is one big "HELL YEAH" to being creative. If there's an idea somewhere in the back of your mind, do yourself some justice and make some time to play with it.

    We each look forward to the AFLW season starting this week! Her podcast The Outer Sanctum made enormous waves in Melbourne and the footy community in 2017 and promises to do so again. Get around it - the team of women behind that is something special.

    Pearl Jam, Sublime and Bruce Springsteen add positions to the Ever-growing Playlist of Joy which takes it to the next level of elite! Discussing this music helped me feel fantastic afterwards. I hope you enjoy listening to this, take a little inspiration somehow, and please leave your feedback by rating, commenting or subscribing.

    Thanks very much.
    Nicole's website is nicolehayesauthor.com

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  • Belinda Kirwan is an actor, screenwriter, producer, teacher and dead set legend!

    Recently she's been co-creating a TV series HActresses, which has become a web series of seven episodes you can watch on YouTube right after you listen to this podcast. You'll recognise many popular Australian personalities including bloody champion Jo Stanley (who features on episode 22 of Kids Love Balloons!).

    We discuss how tough it can be to achieve your career and creative goals, the struggles you have to persist through, that you may have to take detours and twists and turns to progress, and how to put a smile on your face while you're enduring it all.

    If you ever experience self-doubt or aren't sure if what you're doing is right or wondering if it's just you finding things so hard - know that you're not alone. Belinda's been there, I'm there regularly, and the characters in this show certainly feel that way.

    Thanks for listening.

    Say g'day or say get stuffed @ TheSongNerd

  • It's been a while! But here we are, finally a new episode. Mike Mills is a brilliant all-round musician from Melbourne. He's involved in a multitude of musical projects but is perhaps best known for his work "as" Toehider. (that's where you can find him on Twitter). We had a chat right after the release of Toehider's latest album, titled "Good". As I explain in this podcast, it's better than good.
    We discuss overcoming mental demons, the weight of expectation, balancing emotions, and how happiness can feel like it comes at a cost. Three more songs added to the Ever-growing Playlist of Joy, which I dare suggest will probably surprise you.
    Thanks for listening.

  • Alan Brough has demonstrated his vast music knowledge & passion for years, most famously as team captain in Spicks & Specks. Name me someone more qualified to select three songs for our Ever-growing Playlist of Joy! I'll wait...

    More recently, Alan has turned his hand to writing books for children aged roughly 10-12. Charlie and the War Against the Grannies was released last year; the next in the series, Charlie and the Karaoke Cockroaches, is released on June 27th. I'm fascinated with the advice he received while learning to write this style: to find your inner 12 year old. The ability to channel your younger self is something I hold in high regard and is potentially the key to creating a smile, a song, or in Alan's case, a series of novels!

    Alan still listens to new music on a very regular basis and you may be surprised with the songs and artists he mentions. He certainly is a Song Nerd and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time discussing various music, the smell of old record stores and how to earn respect of the staff, the benefits of persistence when listening to music you may not like, the attitude of punk... we cover plenty.

    It was also great to get an insight in to what it was like to work on Spicks & Specks, and surprising to hear that at times he and ABC staff didn't think he was qualified to perform the role he did so successfully.

    Join us as we ramble through any manner of things that make he and I happy. I'd love to know which nuggets of info or inspiration you enjoy or learn.

    Have an awesome day.

    Hit me up @ TheSongNerd

  • The world's greatest song contest is fast approaching. Here-assembled is a group of 6 Melbourne-based super experts for your comprehensive preview!
    Jason-Scott Watkins, Ti Butler Danie Tregonning, Mark Perkins and 2011 contestant Nina share a range of perspectives on the contest. How it makes them happy, their favourite memories, and most urgently: their predictions for the 2017 finals which take place in the second week of May!

    The politics, the gimmicks, the key changes, the voting, the costumes (and sometimes lack thereof), the varied languages, the questionable taste - if there's something we haven't touched on, please share your comments! The Eurovision Song Contest is a gargantuan beast with so many aspects and in this podcast, 6 fans celebrate them all. We have inside perspective of course from Nina who has actually participated, successfully qualifying for the final. Her insights are incredible.

    Each of the five guests nominate their most anticipated moments from this year's contest and also provide their top 10 favourite entries. Who will our jury choose as their favourite to win?

    This year's songs contain yodelling, saxophone solos, a person dancing in a gorilla suit.................. BRACE YOURSELF!

    Who do you think will win Eurovision 2017?

    More details and links at thesongnerd.com

    Please share your feedback @TheSongNerd anywhere. Enjoy!

  • "If your quest of life is happiness, then you're going to be a really sad human being."
    The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is truly one of the world's greatest. Twice Emmy-nominated Loyiso Gola is one of the first class calibre of talents who have travelled here this year, performing his show Dude, Where's My Lion?

    His International Emmy noms stem from the South African show Late Nite News, a satirical take on politics in the ilk of The Daily Show or The Weekly with Charlie Pickering (where Loyiso has been a regular correspondent).

    I love this episode for many reasons. Firstly - his immediate answer to "what makes you happy?" is deliberate and profound. Each guest has different answers to this question and different interpretations of what the question actually is. None of these are wrong. But Loyiso's vibe makes plenty of sense.

    Secondly - he flat out refused to play along with the second rule of my podcast and makes no apologies. I don't even mind!

    It's amazing to speak with a man of Loyiso's perspective. At just 33 years of age, this dude is seriously wise.

    "The sooner you realise that material things are not gonna make you happy...the closer you are to understanding the theory that I'm trying to present."

    This podcast isn't stand-up comedy, but trust me when I recommend his MICF show to you! Take a look while he's still in town. I would really value your feedback on this episode. Please leave a comment below, a review on your podcast platform, or hit me up on social media @TheSongNerd.

    Enjoy your life, don't be a c.....retin.

  • "Here's one I prepared earlier"... James paid Melbourne a visit in November to speak at the CBAA conference. The afternoon of his presentation, we caught up with a beer and my microphone and discussed radio, podcasts, music and what makes us happy.

    This weekend I'm pleased to finally share it. The time is right.

    James is a "radio futurologist". What's that? Click play and listen to him explain it!

    I never knew cereal could have this much effect on a person's life. Cereal. Breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, but may hold the key to inspire your whole career. Get around it.

    Three more songs have been added to the Ever-growing Playlist of Joy - don't let anyone shame you for enjoying a bit of kitsch in your day.

    James can be contacted at https://james.cridland.net/


  • Podcasting at the footy! You'll hear the ambience of pre-match entertainment at Ikon Park as Tegan & I prepare for our teams to do battle in AFL Women's Round 5. You'll also hear Tegan and I chat about what makes us happy, the multitude of creative endeavours she's involved with, and the gob-smacking way sexual references in music such as Grease and the Rocky Horror Picture Show go straight over kids' heads. Oh how naïve we were.

    Tegan is currently preparing to perform at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with her group Watson - with a show titled Go To Hell! Possibly sounding more horrific than comedic - listen in as she explains the premise behind it and how it's one of the must-see shows this year. Watson won Best Comedy award at the 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival, so you're in safe hands.

    The Ever-growing Playlist of Joy is again updated on Spotify. Hit up thesongnerd.com for more details or anywhere @TheSongNerd!

  • The Play That Goes Wrong opens at Melbourne's Comedy Theatre February 22nd. Star Brooke Satchwell feels like she's doing good civic duty in being a part of something that creates so much laughter, happiness and real escape for the thousands of people who will see it across Australia this year. I crashed afternoon rehearsals and scored a quick but bloody awesome chat that I hope you'll really love.

    Brooke nails exactly why I make this podcast and I feel like the energy in this play could make anyone feel the real unadulterated happiness we need in our lives.

    "Just pure relentless silliness and joy...God knows we all need that at the moment, we forget that we're allowed to have it, we forget that everything that tenses up every muscle in our body and constricts our thinking and our clarity and our ability to reason and move forward, can actually be medicated by laughter."

    "We get so stuck in our heads, and that's all well and good, but we live in our bodies, and anything that can bring you back in to that present moment and have you grounded and there and present - that's where the freedom comes from. That's where happiness lives."

    Brooke felt goosebumps in this chat, just thinking about a song that makes her happy. Is there a song that does that to you?
    ALSO - your homework - what's "that" which Meatloaf will not do?
    Let me know @TheSongNerd on Facebook, Twitter or wherever you darn well want!

    We also talk about poo, headbutting practice and getting hit in the nuts - this is a 15 minute blast of fun and one of my favourite episodes.

    Check out The Play That Goes Wrong and the Ever-growing Playlist of Joy on Spotify!

  • OK so I couldn't resist using a TISM reference in my intro, despite the language being filthy, and now I'm caught somewhere in between "that's a great dad joke" or "why did you swear like that you buffoon". TISM was one of Australia's most iconic and entertaining bands and when a song title such as "I might be a ..." exists, the opportunity to use it contextually was too rare to resist.

    Nevertheless. Former member Damian Cowell popped around to my place and we had a great yarn for a couple of hours. He's now focused on Damian Cowell's Disco Machine - a new album to be released February 20 and subsequent shows which seem basically unmissable. Just by reading the band name you can sense the sheer fun this project exudes.

    It's about "giving in to the simple joys of my own twisted version of fun dance music". The album is titled Get Yer Dag On. The gist is: What a shit world we're living in - let's boogie!

    So we discuss the musical influences of the project, the pleasures of choreography, how his career developed over the years and as it happens, plenty of life lessons pop up. He airs concern that we ventured in to "some sort of self-help" thing and if that element is there, I don't mind too much. Hahaha this nugget of wisdom does spring from the chat so thanks Damian for the inspiration and comfort!

    We can all garner some hope. DAILY DISAPPOINTMENT is beneficial and make you a richer, fuller person. Try things and fail. Feel emotionally vulnerable and experience suffering. It all helps in the long run, keeps us grounded, teaches us lessons, and as long as we keep recognising this we can stay on top and not let the disappointment defeat us.

    For the most part though I just hope you have a dance or a sing today and I hope it makes you smile!

    Damian is the first ARIA winner to add songs to Ever-growing Playlist of Joy and look out - they might not be what you expect!

    See you on social media @TheSongNerd!

  • As I say in my intro to this podcast - Michael Pope HAS entertained you, even if you aren't aware of it. If not as a host or actor in his own right from the 1980s to now, it's likely as a producer of The Price is Right or rallying up the crowd on Millionaire Hot Seat. You'll hear about his life in the Australian entertainment industry but also a few specifics of Millionaire, as that's where we got in contact in 2016. I was a contestant!

    In essence, his job has been to help us smile for decades. Michael is deservedly proud of this and is endeavouring to create further new ways to do so.
    If you're an aspiring host or MC, there are great tips here on learning your audience, overcoming nerves and even some advice for parents to be - like myself.

    If it's your job to make people happy, what makes you happy?
    Listen in to our conversation.

    ​Michael also adds three songs to the Ever-growing Playlist of Joy. I'm absolutely staggered it took over 30 episodes to get where we finally arrive today.

  • What an honour to have some time to sit down and chat one on one with Santa Claus!

    Who better is qualified to discuss enthusiastic joy, the happiness of kids, taking time to smile and feel positive?

    I don't need to write much here. You know who Santa Claus is. Listen to the chat, get a few answers to some of your questions and be a little inspired by the magic shared through the community at this time of year.

    Importantly: Which songs will Santa add to the Ever-growing Playlist of Joy?!

    I'd love to know which songs make you happy at this time of year. Please comment below or @TheSongNerd on Twitter, Facebook, etc.


    Merry Christmas!!!
    ​If you happen to feel any sort of Christmas joy, pause on it, bottle that feeling somehow and call upon it whenever you need it during the rest of the year.

  • Catching up with a friend you haven't seen in 13 years. That makes me happy.
    What originally made me happy was stumbling across a band I liked, then realising I used to know the singer. Then determining she'd be the perfect guest for the podcast and it would be a great excuse to catch up!

    Sibylla Stephen has achieved so much since we last knew each other and it was a delight to discuss it and muse over what she's learned. You'll find out more about the two bands she runs with her sister Beth in this chat. One of those bands is targeted at kids (and their parents) - the songs are useful and entertaining as anything!

    As a mother herself, Byll shares what she loves and also doesn't love about raising children; really refreshingly. She's identified her skills and also at peace with her weaknesses. She's certainly not the first guest to admit that wine makes her happy! We discuss the pros and cons of self-doubt, how music affects your emotions, and this particular nugget which I really love: "life's little secret: no-one ever feels old".

    I certainly hope that if you do feel old for a moment, find joy in something that brings that youth back!

    Above all it was just really lovely to chat with Byll for the first time in 13 years and have it feel like we'd been friends in regular contact that whole time. I think that comes across while listening. This day was awesome.

    Feedback, banter or recommendations @TheSongNerd!


  • 4 days following the US election, I have a chat with an American who works for their Government!
    "It's an odd country in many ways, and there's people that take great offence at certain things, yet those same people don't take offence at other things so go figure!"

    Politics will not be the main focus of the chat... do you know anyone who thinks politics really makes them ultimately HAPPY? :-)

    Joan's trip to Australia this week left her with a lasting, inspirational memory before she even left the aeroplane at Tullamarine. She sheds tears just thinking about it - utterly joyful!

    Her radio career kicked off in the 70s - twenty of those years working with Voice of America - and has some amazing stories of artists she's interviewed, scandals she's reported, audiences she's helped. Over that career, she's used many different 'radio names' or aliases. Joan / Casey / Catherine / JJ et al shares the stories of many of those throughout this chat. Much like David Bowie, Joan says "you make up a character, it's not you. That person can do anything." Totally liberating! Performing as a character was a useful method of overcoming shyness, which is a useful tip for anyone.

    "I'm sorry this is such a long story..." haha it was great to be able to meet someone for the first time and have such a flowing conversation - believe me, this podcast could be much longer if I allowed it!

    What makes you happy? Post your answer on @The Song Nerd Facebook page, tweet, comment on this page right here...... go for your life!

    Feedback, banter or recommendations @TheSongNerd!


    What'll life be without Homegrown Tomatoes??

  • "A girlfriend once dumped me because she didn't like how enthusiastic I was about..."
    I love this quote from Gideon. This level of enthusiasm, as long as it's not criminal behaviour of course, should be celebrated! Sharing your enthusiasm and is the reason for this podcast and Gideon Haigh is as passionate as they come.

    Once the footy season ends, the Australian sporting focus turns pretty sharply straight on to cricket! I love this time of year. The smell of fresh cut grass, the extra daylight hours, and people everywhere wearing all white clothes that will, by days end, be covered in red, green, brown and who knows what other coloured stains.

    No man articulates everything cricket means than Gideon Haigh. A master of the English language - what blokes drinking at the bar may only exclaim as "GOT HIM! YES!", Gideon is able to contextualise and describe that moment's significance in far greater detail with supreme use of words. His latest book, Stroke of Genius, investigates the myth behind Australian cricketer Victor Trumper - and the shot that changed cricket. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Gideon's managed to get 315 pages from this one.

    Stroke of Genius was launched at Gideon's cricket club, Yarras, a few days after recording this. Tim Rogers of You Am I fame was on hand to lead the launch and had some real inspiring words to say. In this photo, Tim is imitating the viper-like bowling pose of the great Dennis Lillee.

    Gideon pains to be thought of as simply a cricket writer, but 21 of his books have been somehow related to cricket! He explains this in our chat. "I think it changes your relationship to something when you rely on it for your livelihood. I always want cricket to be something that I go back to for solace and reinforcement and joy and satisfaction; not simply because it pays the bills." His principals are spot on.

    In this chat I'm reminded of my own passion for cricket. The summers spent glued to radio commentary outside or the TV inside. Playing. Watching my dad play and learning how to score. Playing and not really excelling but still loving it. Being part of a community, a club and an association of similar clubs. Contemplating history. Seeing my name on honour boards. Inspiring my own travel to the West Indies.
    Of course we have a quick preview of the upcoming Australian summer and what we can expect from our Test opponents, South Africa & Pakistan.

    When asked to name three songs that make him happy, "I'm not sure about joy..." was his initial response, but the songs he chose bring feelings of excitement, vitality, enthusiasm and other fantastic reactions. When I stopped the podcast recording, Gideon and I continued chatting. He took out his ipod and scrolled through the entire menu, naming every artist on it. We discussed many, I wrote many down of who I wasn't familiar with, and have been schooling myself deep into the world of post-punk born and spread from the second half of the 1970s. In that world, Gideon definitely out nerds me. The passion was and is infectious.

    What caught my surprise was Gideon's passion for music! The quote at the top of this page was related to his love of music. "If someone stole my ipod it would be of no use to them whatsoever; it's so totally contoured to the interior of my head."

    Music, writing and sport all things we discuss in great detail and I really enjoyed recording this episode - I hope you also do. Please share your thoughts with me @TheSongNerd.


    Feedback, banter or recommendations @TheSongNerd!

  • Following October 1, the day when my favourite footy team, Western Bulldogs, won their first grand final in 62 years... (I struggle to believe that's even true as I type it...)

    There was just SO MUCH happiness created. I don't even mean just for myself or my family. Millions of Australians were caught up in it. It was a true fairytale.

    If I was to publish a new podcast episode asking "What makes you happy?", I knew I had to find someone associated with the Bulldogs and discover what it means to them.

    So here we have Tony Liberatore - Dogs legend and amongst many other things, 1990 VFL Brownlow Medallist. He still finds happiness in footy. His son Tom is one of the premiership players, yes, but he also played footy for two clubs this year. In one, winning the premiership himself! In the other, winning the Association best & fairest. Tony is 50 years old. Just incredible.

    Thanks very much to Tony, his family and the Aberfeldie Football Club who helped organise our catch up.
    Tony's added three classics to the Ever-growing Playlist of Joy. Feedback, banter or recommendations @TheSongNerd!

  • I ventured from Melbourne to Sydney to follow my favourite sporting team, the Western Bulldogs, play a preliminary final on 24th September. While there, why not catch up with an old mate of mine, shoot the breeze and record it?

    So at the time of recording, the football matches hadn't happened yet. Listening to this, you hear me unaware that the Bulldogs would not only go on to win that match in Sydney, but the Grand Final the following week, becoming the AFL Premiers for the first time in 62 years. That relates to my happiness though (I'm pretty bloody happy right now) - here are a few details about my guest.

    Brooklyn Ross is the newsreader for The Kyle & Jackie O Show on KIIS 106.5 in Sydney. We met while he was on work experience at Power FM Bega more than 10 years ago and it's a delight to see his career grow so successfully. He also runs what's fast becoming an empire of online radio stations. What started as a hobby has become a serious business and his boldness and bravery are paying great dividends.

    Before it was politically fashionable, Brooklyn shared his sexuality on Sydney radio station The Edge and played a major role developing a publicity campaign for marriage equality. He's not phased at all with sharing himself, creating things, and bracing for any consequences. I hope you like his attitudes, and the songs he's added to the Ever-growing Playlist of Joy!


    Hit me up on any social media @TheSongNerd where I'm happy to discuss the podcast or topically this weekend, the FOOTY!!!

  • Getting more analytical in this episode, chatting with a woman who dedicates each day to understanding happiness and the effects it has on each of us. Professor Lea Waters has spent over 20 years working at Melbourne University, in recent years focusing on Positive Psychology - instrumental in establishing the Centre for Positive Psychology. So what has she learned and what is she working on that can be shared with us on Kids Love Balloons?

    Listen in and discover the personal struggles that Lea has battled and continues to battle. It's not all skittles and rainbows but I really hope it can help you smile today!

    "I don't even think I'm a very courageous person to be honest but I just drew on my courage. And all the times I got knocked back...all of those struggles along the way, they definitely knocked me down but I just got back up again and said 'OK well this just has to happen and so I just have to be brave'". This is a quote that we can all identify with and hopefully all channel when the time is right in our lives.

    In 2015, Lea was listed as one of 100 Women of Influence in Australia - an honour that she attributes as a tick for Positive Psychology and scientific inquiry in to how it is that we increase happiness and well-being in people. It's interesting to hear in this chat, how much negativity was thrown her way as she set about this path!

    "...having the understanding that we can make the most of our suffering, we can grow and learn from it, but ultimately we're here to kind of transcend that."

    I'd love to hear your feedback on this one. Feel free to share!

    The Ever-growing Playlist of Joy just became three songs happier.