Please tell us your story! How did you get to where you are today?
I’m Carolina De La Piedra aka Carolina Gasolina. I was born in Peru and raised in Blacktown Western Sydney. Life is crazy and can take so many different turns. I haven’t always worked in music but it’s always been a passion of mine. I can honestly say my journey started at good old FBi Radio. I made it through the Presenter Training program back in 2017 and the relationships I made through FBi and going to gigs built the foundation of where I am today. Through my radio hosting I then started DJing and then working in bookings and touring which I feel solidified me as a player in this industry. I’ve been lucky enough to work on amazing initiatives like Tracks with FBi Radio and Blacktown Council as well as the Blacktown Block Party and now I’m here! A&R at legacy independent label Elefant Traks.
What does your day-to-day entail?
In my A&R role I’m lucky enough to listen to a lot of music. I meet with artists, chat about goals, music and what they’ve been working on. I give feedback on artist demos, suggest features and help strategies up and coming projects. Another part of my day is working on One Off Traks the first Writing camp in our space that is dedicated to woman and non-binary creatives by women and non-binary creatives.
Outside of ET you can find me gigging around Sydney and also on CADA every 3rd Friday of the month mixing global club music with a focus on latin music.
If you could change one thing in the music industry right now, what would it be?
To put it bluntly, how white and male dominated it is.
Why did you want to get into the music industry?
It really just comes down to the music! but the further I got into the industry I realised that there’s not many people that look like me here. I didn’t know that the music industry was an avenue I could go down as a career and I would really love to see more people from Western Sydney in music industry positions especially considering the wave of artists from Western Sydney coming through. I think it’s so important for industry figures to not only be able to relate to these artists but truly understand the background of where we come from.
Have you had to overcome any challenges or adversity in your career, and if so, how did you approach them?
Yes of course! This thing ain’t easy! Being a woman in this industry is hard and I’ve had to deal with everything from sexual advances whilst on tour to being bullied and isolated by certain males in the industry. But you know what it only made me work harder and when you are genuinely a good person things come back to you tenfold.
What is the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
Live your life for yourself and not how others want it.
What has been your proudest achievement so far?
Playing Splendour in the Grass 2022 was a huge moment for me. After 2.5 years of cancellations it was crazy and surreal to finally be on that big stage. I never saw myself in spaces like this let alone a main stage at one of the country’s biggest festivals. I had all my friends that I grew up with messaging me saying they were so proud of me. It really meant the world to be up there and made me feel like anything is achievable if you have the right attitude and follow your dreams.
Who are your role models in the industry be they local or international?
Tim Levinson aka Urthboy – I’m lucky enough to work under him and from the beginning of our working relationship I’ve admired how he moves in the industry. When I started working at ET I realised just how many artists come to him for advice, support and mentoring. His heart is always in the right place and it doesn’t come with any ego at all. He is also one of the very few males that champion women and non binary creatives fearlessly. I’m glad that I have a mentor like Tim in this industry.
You live in Sydney, what is the current musical landscape like there?
The musical landscape in Sydney at the moment is so exciting, we’ve entered a new chapter of Australian music and there’s so much independent activity going on from so many amazing collectives that have started from scratch! I’ve loved seeing the scene grow over the last few years and can’t to see what’s in store.
What has been the best gig that you’ve ever seen?
Any tips for a quick ‘pick me up’ if you’re having a bad day?
I think exercise is so important in this industry! So if you’re having a bad day go for a quick 10 minute walk around the block or a little jog!
What has been the most useful career discovery for you recently? (for example a time-saving app, a project management tool, a website/newsletter?)
We’ve just started using Trello which is like a project management tool and I love it.
What are your hopes for 2023?
I would love for the One Off Traks writing camp to be so successful that we continue this every year. It’s so important for non male creatives to have safe spaces to work and learn from. I would love for it to create a community of creatives that really champion and support one another for years to come. At the end of the day there is and should be room for all of us.
What is your go-to Karaoke song?
Tupac – Hit ’em Up. I know every single lyric and there is no singing involved!! So I always nail it!