5 Best Things About Working With People With A Disability Shared By Tobias

Published in Music  
Tobias is a folk-pop singer-songwriter based on the Sunshine Coast. Tobias is a folk-pop singer-songwriter based on the Sunshine Coast.

An indie folk-pop troubadour with more than two decades experience performing across the country, Tobias returns with his latest single, the life-affirming anthem 'Will You Still Love Me'.

Written while Tobias crashed on a mate's couch in Collingwood, Melbourne, 'Will You Still Love Me' came to life as he dealt with issues of loneliness, anxiety and insomnia as the pull of past destructive behaviours tried to lure him away – unsuccessfully.

"There is a soulfulness and a longing in the Australian spirit that touches me, and I hear this in Tobias' songs and singing," Irish folk legend Luka Bloom says, lavishing praise on an artist who often has been likened to Beck meets Paul Kelly meets The War On Drugs.

After spending the five years prior to COVID living on the road, performing at such festivals as Woodford Folk Festival, Tamworth Country Music Festival Mullumbimby Music Festival, as well as organising drought-relief concerts in drought-stricken towns throughout Western Queensland, Tobias recently moved back to his roots in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

He's been focussed on writing and recording a new album at Heliport Studios, which will be set to release early 2022. Tobias also has a small business assisting people with disabilities that supports and sustains their own independence.

"I began working in disability as a volunteer in Melbourne over ten years ago and have done it ever since," he says.

"I now run a small business (Neo Caring) supporting people with a disability find independence in the crazy old world.

"The job has been a great support for my music career and aligns with my life philosophies of helping others, safeguarding the ever present self-centredness of the inner artist."

Here, Tobias lists some of the highlights he's had with his career away from music.

1: You laugh a lot

When I work with people with disability I laugh so much, it's hard to take anything too seriously sometimes. I have a client that is fascinated with Beavis & Butthead, so some of my days are spent working on our best impersonations: "Errr hey baby!"

2: I get to travel

I didn't lie about being the outdoor type. Part of our business is taking people away on trips they would not normally get to do.

Because of COVID it's been a little restricted, but we've managed to go out to the mountains for a winter camp, stay in the city on a record shopping holiday, mosh to garage grunge bands and go surfing in Byron Bay. I mean, that's all pretty sweet.

3: I get to listen to and explore so much music

For many people with a disability, music is so important. I have clients that are trying to learn instruments and are really in to record hunting.

It's just been so awesome to revisit the music I used to listen to with these guys. We've been shopping for records – bands like Joy Division, Ramones, The Smiths, The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, and J.J. Cale. . . so many more.

4: You learn to eat morning tea

One thing you may not now about working with people with a disability is just how important morning tea is.

I'll never forget the first time morning tea arrived when I worked in  a day centre, everything stopped, Tupperware containers arrived to a symphony of happy chatter.

Life revolves around two very important times of the day: morning tea and lunch. I've now got a pretty awesome muesli bar collection.

5: It puts life into perspective

No matter what problems I think I am having on a certain day, they are always made smaller by looking at what challenges these guys face on a daily basis.

I used to take myself and my music career so damn seriously to the point it consumed me. Working with these guys has given me a realistic perspective on my own life and taught me there are more important things than trying to write the next hit.

Funnily enough, I am now writing the best music I ever have and that feels fantastic.



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