Living life with an element of risk becomes a choice that you lean into, rather than resent, says a passionate musician.
“It’s never not risky,” says Tess Crow, 35, from Inglewood, WA. “It’s really hard to be a musician in this town, but if you love it, you’re going to keep doing it regardless. This is my passion, and it helps my mental health to realise that I’m doing what I love, as well as what I need to survive.”
Tess performs and composes music, while also working as a music teacher, managing bands, doing graphic design, and working at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre.
The five creatives who spoke to Spotlight for this piece had eighteen separate income streams among them in order to mitigate the risks of low pay, irregular work and long hours. Plus three unpaid jobs: Parent, Board Member, Volunteer.
Romi Kupfer, aged 30, a theatremaker, director and producer, held down seven jobs before the pandemic changed life in Melbourne. This mix allowed her to focus on producing the art that she wanted and pay her rent and bills with work as a drama teacher, synagogue events producer and writer. “I’ve chosen not to rely on my artistic work for any income,” she says.
But then COVID-19 happened.
Romi will increase her rates now that, as she puts it, “I’ve got one-and-a-half-jobs left”. She’s also aware that applying for funding has limited return on investment. “I got four grants last year,” she says, “but I applied for thirty.”
One tip that Romi’s learnt is that rejection shouldn’t mean too much. “It’s not about whether you’re good enough or not, it’s about if you’re right or not for that role. I think it’s much better to be in the places that need you, and where you can grow,” she advises.