Want my job? with Robbie Zereka, musician and performance artist

"I realised that you become an artist as soon as you decide you’re an artist. Once I made that decision I got out of my own way and the ideas and concepts started to flow."

Want my job? with Robbie Zereka, musician and performance artist

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

My name is Robbie Zereka. I am an Irish born artist based in London. I make alternative pop-infused performance art incorporating costumery and theatrical devices to tell stories through my music videos and live performances.

What does your job involve? Give us the typical outline of a day?

An ideal day (which is rarer than I’d like!) would consist of an early start with a run or gym workout. If I’m home in the morning I try to fit in a vocal warm-up and a short singing session after breakfast. I spend quite a bit of time doing admin, especially when I have an event coming up, so I try to get this out of the way early in the day. 

In general I make time (whether at home or on buses/trains) to listen to lots of different types of music and I am always going down Internet rabbit holes when I find new artists, photographers or designers. I hope this keeps me inspired and connected.

What’s great about your job?

The best thing about my job at this point in time is that I don’t have to answer to anyone. I am making exactly what I want to make in exactly the way I want to make it. I am also very lucky to work with some very talented musicians and artists, especially in my upcoming event on 1st November. 

What are the bits you don’t like or find challenging?

I am funding all of my current endeavors myself so making exactly what I want in this way takes a lot longer. However, the upside of this is that it forces us to be more creative which generally results in more interesting work.

How did you get into an arts job? Have you also worked outside the arts?

I have worked in many other roles, from working in a biscuit factory to TV work. I only really decided to take my creative career seriously around three years ago, just before I turned 30. I had lost my job and my husband basically said I should make a real go of it creatively now or I never would. Here I am!

Can you describe your biggest challenge so far in your career? How did you overcome it?

Honestly, my biggest challenge has been overcoming my own self-doubt. Initially, this was me telling myself I wasn’t good enough to be a “real musician”. Then it was me trying to be a certain type of musician. Eventually I realised that you become an artist as soon as you decide you’re an artist. Once I made that decision I got out of my own way and the ideas and concepts started to flow.

Have you noticed any changes in the industry? If so, what?

I think the essence of doing creative work has remained the same for a long time and probably won’t change any time soon. I think that if you are in it solely to make something that satisfies your own artistic desires, then you will find people who understand what you are trying to say and who will help you make a financially sustainable lane for yourself.

You’ve been granted the ability to send a message to 16-year-old you. What do you say?

I would say look further than your doorstep for guidance and inspiration. And get a haircut!

Author

Sienna James

Sienna James Assistant Editor

Sienna is the Voice Assistant Editor and author of the Creative Education series. A de-caf coconut-milk latte gal who spends most of her time in Cambridge cafes, Sienna is currently on a gap year before studying History of Art at the University of Cambridge.

Instagram: sienna_jamez

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