Being part of a new generation comes with many challenges. For many, doing both what they love while fighting for what they believe in at the same time can often feel near impossible. Where do you find that balance, and how can you juggle the many skills you’ve come to learn in order to find professional success using them? We asked multidisciplinary artist and star-in-the-making Livia Rita to share the steps she took when starting her own career.
Rita grew up in a rural village located in the Alps, which didn’t stop her from “dreaming of the radical other—in this case, of the big city.” As soon as she turned 18, Rita left for London and dived into London’s artmaking scene, the nightlife and the new communities. “It was so overwhelming. I just didn’t have access to the world of arts when I was younger. I took my first ever dance class aged 18, surrounded by 6-year-old ballerinas and felt completely out of place. I loved to sing but I was told by teachers that my vocal technique just wasn’t good enough, even though the expression was there.”
But she persevered. After studying acting and going to a string of unsuccessful auditions, Rita realised that she didn’t fit into that one space either. “So many people were always telling me to choose one thing and become a specialist at it. But when I felt that pull to express myself, I found that I had this much wider perspective, this drive to build worlds and visions and identities, that needed sound and movement and visuals to truly come to life.” Nowadays, she explains, she’s not interested in our society’s constant need to define and categorise something. “I want to break free of categories, explore questions rather than answers, examine the sliding scales and the in-betweens and the unknown—I guess, the future,” shares Rita.
Through the varied mediums she explores as an artist, Rita not only aims to promote the messages she deems important, but also to introduce others to safe spaces where progressive values are welcomed. “With these different art forms, entangled together and bleeding into one another, I want to bend time and reality to jump into an in-between, future world. I have always struggled to feel at home in this world and this life, so I try to create alternative ecosystems with my work. Maybe it’s about creating my own safe space, my creature habitat, and then inviting others in with dance and music, hoping they will share that need for a future-forward community, hoping that I’m not alone.”
Rita grew up surrounded by nature, which led her to build a tight relationship with it, one that is apparent as an influence through her career. “Nature doesn’t have a voice in our society, so I do feel like I need to incorporate it into my future visions, to treat the natural world as an active player. In today’s time, it feels more relevant than ever: it’s impossible to think of the future without thinking of the climate!”
When asked what her advice would be to young creatives living in big cities such as London, who are trying to make a living all the while standing up for the causes that they care about, Rita told us, “If it looks easy for me, then that’s not the truth—it’s still a daily struggle.” It’s been said before that gen Zers tend to consider themselves the hardest-working generation, yet other studies show that they won’t tolerate being forced to work when they don’t want to. As a result, this paints the contradicting picture of a generation that, in all honesty, is constantly worrying about whether it’s fully equipped for what different workplace environments have to offer them.
As a gen Zer myself, I feel as though it can be hard sometimes to find the right balance between the amount of work actually being put into something behind the scenes, and the constant flow of success stories that we are being fed through social media platforms such as Instagram or even LinkedIn. We’re part of the digital generation, we’re as internet-savvy as it gets, and we’re ready to dab in and out of our many interests, yet we’re lacking guidance from others. Instead, what we end up following is a glamourised depiction of hustle culture—even though we love promoting self-care at the same time.
And Rita can relate to the point made just above, “When one looks back on their path to getting to where they are now, it’s so easy to glorify it and forget the problems and shit moments. Still, now there are things I don’t love about my daily work, even though I’m so grateful for where I’m at—for example, I spend far too much time on my computer!”
When it comes to advice, Rita recommends people learn when to ask for help. “No one does it by themselves completely. You need to find symbioses; find people at the same point in their artistic journey. I was constantly reaching out to others.” Secondly, “give yourself time. I’m an independent artist, so it is slow work: unless you are born into it, with crazy connections or lots of money, then the Hollywood stories of making it by age 18 barely ever happen,” she adds.
Like many other things in life, finding your niche and thriving in it takes time. “Being an independent artist can absolutely become a strength, in the long run, it just takes time because there is a lot to learn. I think the slower grind is worth it down the line though, to take a position of independence: it sounds like the future, doesn’t it?”
Speaking about self-care and how she balances hard work with ‘me time’, Rita explains that it can sometimes feel impossible for her too, “I have begun to look after my wellbeing by reconnecting with nature on a daily basis whenever possible. There’s no one-size-fits-all, but I would recommend the healing wonders of the natural world.”
“Eco-feminism basically brings together two big movements—environmentalism and feminism—into conversation with each other, and finds the many links between the exploitation of nature and the subordination of women. We find that they can marry each other and it’s all one big collective,” explains Rita.
As an artist who draws inspiration from both movements, Rita fights for these causes, both separately and together, through her work. “I have really gotten to know myself and find my identity through the prisms of gender and of nature. There’s a big exploration there for me and the world is so full of information but also tension and trauma around these topics.”
As a singer, Rita’s voice—produced from her assigned female body—dissipates itself into the air surrounding her, in turn echoing around our environment and becoming a part of it. “We think of natural and human-made as opposites, but humans are creatures like any other, a part of nature too,” she adds. In that sense, eco-feminism is one of the main driving forces behind her creative work and life in general.
The influence of eco-feminism on Rita’s career as a singer and musician is also hard to ignore. Her new song, titled ‘SCREAM IT’ was initially created as a love song. “But then later I added a second layer of vocals, more urgent and underground. I think it marked my own progression as a person. The main lyrics were written at a time when I was making sense of myself, my own experiences and my own relationships,” Rita tells us, but as time passed, “I started to think more about my place as part of a bigger whole. So these secondary vocals are about community, the need to support one another and drive social change through unity.”
In a way, ‘SCREAM IT’ has expanded outwards from the micro-level of personal romantic love to the macrocosm of love as a driving force, existential love that could be deemed ‘the zest of life’. “Altogether, SCREAM IT is still a love song, but it is a love song to be screamed—a cacophony of desires, expectations and fears for the future.”
When asked what she thinks it will take for the young generation of creatives to shift things around when it comes to matters of sustainability, equality, diversity, and more, Rita shares that “on the one hand, the young generation has immense power and we have to use this power well. We are the future, we are shaping culture, and it is important we inspire future generations to have a positive impact and carve paths forward.”
On the other hand, however, “we are consumers in a failing capitalist structure—we must demand certain ethical and moral standards. In FUGA FUTURA [Livia Rita’s upcoming debut album], I think mostly about preparing for the future, getting ready for the revolution. So the next step, for my next album, is to think about how we shape that revolution, which future scenarios can we realise?”
As an artist, Rita cherishes both utopias and dystopias. Utopia is a sacred fantasy place; even if it’s not real or attainable, “I find it so helpful to have something to strive towards, a driving force. Then I also spend time in dystopias, in apocalyptic scenarios; even in dystopias, there is the element of possibility, the chance for rebirth.”
“I’ve made it to a certain point. Nowadays, I have collaborators with me at every step of the process instead of taking everything on my own shoulders: the workload is less suffocating and collaborating gives such space for artistic growth, inspiration and playfulness,” shares Rita. In a hyperconnected world, collaborations have taken on a deeper meaning than ever before—making them as valuable, if not more, than other solo projects you might be working on.
“Another piece of advice I have is for other independent artists; we need to support each other and raise one another up, there is strength in that. That’s how we can thrive and create without having to bend our moral compass or compromising too much. We don’t have anyone to push our work, to put us on platforms—but we do have the power to do that for each other.”
When creatives work together, they not only promote each other on their respective organic as well as digital channels, which helps them both grow their reach, but they also learn from each other along the way. Collaboration helps you create a brand image around your name, and mature your approach to your work.
The new generations are inherently creative beings—by growing along with new technologies and the way they impacted our society, millennials and gen Zers have evolved from the singular approach most people took when it came to life in general, from building a career to picking a hobby. As a result, this means that they’re also more inclined to thrive in multidisciplinary careers or actively take part in various causes.
In order to do that successfully, it’s up to us to know when to take a break, ask for help, or even rely on someone else. Only collectively will we be able to do it all. Oh, and stream ‘SCREAM IT’ here when you’re looking to release all those pent-up emotions.