Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Irina Liakh, Founder & Curator of Surfing Sound Waves

Irina Liakh is the Founder & Curator of Surfing Sound Waves, a platform for online music discovery.

Surfing Sound Waves brings extensive coverage for both indie and pop music, giving voice to the best emerging artists and celebrating established musicians across all genres.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I am a music journalist and blogger and I run Surfing Sound Waves music platform. I went to school majoring in journalism and PR and started working in the music industry right away. A year after graduating I moved to LA to chase my dreams, and I’ve been living here for almost 10 years now.

When I came to LA I had to start everything from scratch, and even though working in music was my main goal and I had various jobs in the industry, it wasn’t always the case. I started my own platform as a creative outlet for myself, and I’m so happy that it grew to what it is now and I can do what I love every day!

2) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

No two days are alike for sure, since I don’t have any set schedules. Most of the time it’s working out of the coffee shops or the beach. I live right at the beach so it’s a short walk and a perfect place to focus.

I deal with tons of emails, going back and forth with labels and publicists, going through submissions that I get through the form on my website, and searching for new music on SoundCloud, Spotify etc. I’m also always preparing content for social media.

My favorite work days definitely include sitting down for an interview with the artists or attending music festivals or events and writing about them. My perfect day combo is work +gym+beach in any order, and when I can make all 3 happen, my day is definitely a success.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Yes! I can work from anywhere! Mostly recently I was working from Hong Kong and Bangkok, Thailand, but on a more regular basis it’s right here in Venice Beach.

4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?

I schedule absolutely everything on my calendar, from personal errands to any important work tasks. Then I do my best to make sure I finish all of my most important tasks during the day.

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5) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Because with this work I’m pursuing my dream, it’s hard not to be connected to it 24/7. And as it requires a lot of online presence, the best way to balance work and life for me is by disconnecting from social media and spending time outdoors, working out, surfing and spending time with friends.

I feel very lucky to be surrounded by people that are pursuing their dreams and they inspire me every day. I love that we can always get together and talk about life and our projects and careers and celebrate any victories.

This is one of the reasons I love LA so much: it’s the city where everyone believes in their dreams and is living and breathing their passion daily, and no matter how many times we get rejected or crushed we keep going, and keep supporting each other along the way.

6) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?

Always taking time to pause and recharge during the day, and meditating every night before going to sleep, as well as creating a vision board every year to have a visual reminder of my goals and dreams in both work and life.

7) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

There are so many!

These are just a few that helped me a lot in work and life!

8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

Writing a gratitude journal every day! My amazingly talented friend Amy May, who is a singer-songwriter, taught me this practice years ago, and it changed my life.

Reflecting on experiences, things and people I’m grateful for brings me so much joy and perspective and helps set the tone for each day.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

I’d say that ultimately it’s about building a system that works for you. And of course, being kind to yourself and celebrating even the smallest victories!

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.