Spotlight | Raquelle Pedler, Musician
one of our best champions for local music
raquelle pedler is one of toowoomba’s most beloved musicians.
As the Director of Highlands Music Academy by day, and a crooner at your favourite bar at night, Raquelle is a recognisable champion of the local music scene. Not just a talented musician in her own right (as if that isn’t enough…), she spends countless hours mentoring and teaching future generations of artists.
We dropped into the academy to see/pester her at work, and hear her thoughts on opportunities for local musicians, the best brunch spots and why she’s never left.
Name: Raquelle Pedler
Occupation: singer, musician and vocal coach
Known For: all things singing and music!
Local since: forever!
First things first: why Toowoomba?
I’m born and raised! My dad moved over from New Zealand in the 80s, met and married my mum (an old Fairholme girl off a cattle station near Chinchilla) and soon after had me! Growing up I had plans to high-tail it to Brisbane as soon as I finished school, but I met a certain boy here (my now-husband), and with close-knit friends and family I stayed. I ended up being one of the first to graduate the contemporary music program at USQ, I nabbed my teaching quals while I was at it, and started sharing my skills with other emerging musicians. 10 years on, I can’t imagine leaving. My community at Highlands campus makes me a better person, coach and leader, and with the likes of Gabbinbar Homestead, wedding venues, cafés and restaurants I’m never short of work providing live music. Not to mention, it’s such a beautiful place to raise a family! What’s not to love!?
What do you do, and, more importantly, what do you do differently?
By day I’m the director of Highlands Music Academy, providing contemporary music tuition for all ages – everything from singing, guitar and drums, to piano, cello and songwriting! I started the academy because I recognised the need for tuition that catered for musicians like me who wanted to explore popular music styles without losing good musical know-how – and then potentially find a career in the industry.
By night or weekend I love providing live music for weddings, events and venues. Toowoomba has no shortage of stellar pub-rock-acoustic musos, but I like to cater for more of the dinner vibes – soulful tunes. And then when everyone is on the dance floor, break out some Whitney Houston or Bruno Mars bangers.
What have you learned about running a business in Toowoomba?
It’s all about who you know, and everyone knows everyone so it’s great to be apart of a larger community! I used to feel the creative industry or at least the music scene (maybe even business in general) was a little stagnant in Toowoomba. Now, I see people coming from larger cities to experience what we have to offer and even learn from us. It’s amazing to be right in the midst of our region’s growth, and not feel alone or like the market is oversaturated. I’ve especially enjoyed a small little niche of Toowoomba creatives and business owners on Instagram who are all about connecting and promoting each other! It’s so unique and refreshing!
What does an average day look like for you?
I have a 1 1/2 year old, so every day is different but you can bet it’s always broken up with singing little ditties, drumming a beat or dancing along to Wiggles tunes. Oh and he’s learning to talk, so let’s chuck a good dose of nonsense chatter in there! It’s fun! On days at home I gym at Willows Health & Lifestyle, make good food and more recently write songs. If I’m not at home it means my mum or dad are on kid watch and I’m doing all the music things!
What does your ideal Toowoomba weekend look like?
Saturday laze in, coffee or brunch at ANY of the locals, and fresh air in the park with family. Then a Sunday chill sesh singing at Muller Bros and Highlands Church with friends after.
Only a Toowoomba local would know…
Easterfest packed out our city every year and supported little starting out artists like me!
FAVOURITE WEEKEND SPOT TO:
PERK UP: our Ground Up fam. It’s not just the coffee, but the people that perk us up!
RELAX: walk or drive in the nearby countryside.
INDULGE: a drive out through the trees to dive into the menu at Emeraude and a stop at Escape in Highfields for a massage on the way.
SHOP: Live Pure & Simple, Little Chiefs, and can’t go past local online stores like Poppy Lane Designs.
CATCH UP: nothing beats dinner at a friend’s house over a delish homemade meal – using local goodies of course and no clean up!
BE INSPIRED: Highlands Church – so many stellar people making a positive difference in their world!
Keep up with Raquelle’s gigs by following her on Instagram.