Phebe Starr - Slashie Creative

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Let's Talk 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What are 3-5 things you love to do on your days off or 3-5 quirky things about you?

Exercise, eat out and get close to nature.

3-5 quirky things? Most things about me are quirky.

What are three creative tools you couldn't live without?

The internet. My calendar. Adobe.

What do you do? 

Songwriter/artist/music manager/creative development specialist/content creator. The most slashes ever lol

Is this your whole income or do you have other side hustles?

It's my whole income.

How did you find your way into music?

I've always wanted to be in music. Initially it was getting an instrument and hustling for gigs as a teenager. Then Triple J and Triple J unearthed supported my music. After that it was taking the leap to move to L.A.

I guess there are A LOT of things that happen to make a career. 

Can you describe a working day for you?

I get up at 7 and try to exercise, eat and relax till 9. Then I write a list of what needs to get done and do it. This might be songwriting, answering emails or shooting a video. It's very flexible and motivated by my goals, deadlines and health. Some days I'll finish at midnight and others in the afternoon. It looks different every day.

What are the perks of your job?

Everything. Going to shows. Meeting people. Thinking about ideas.

I love everything I do. Even when it's hard I feel so lucky to be making art and working in music everyday. 

What are some of the challenges?

How isolating it can be. Going out when I'm tired. Trying to not think about outcomes. 

Earlier on in my career it was dealing with getting paid in lump sums and the fear of never getting paid again.

Having outcomes dependant on your work can at times produce a lot of anxiety. This is something I've tried to find practical ways of handling.

Also, not having access to older more mature people in the industry that know what's really going on. 

What are 3 of the pitfalls you often see artists making?

1. Thinking that someone else will make your career happen for you.

2. Not looking after your health and thinking partying is more important than working.

3. Not having a financial plan and accountability to outcomes.

What are the top things you've learnt throughout your career?

1. Make quick recoveries when you feel like you have made a mistake. Learn from the mistake and move on.

2. Protect your vision, write it down and believe it.

3. Work hard and rest hard. Turn off your devices and look after your mind and body.

4. Understand that being an artist makes you emotional and sometimes dramatic... Own it, but also figure out ways to manage it so you can communicate your vision clearly.

5. Accept your failures and celebrate your successes. It's not going to be perfect, but if you love what you do day to day then that's something to be thankful for.

What advice would you give to someone who says they're feeling overwhelmed trying to self-manage their creative career and that they want to find a simpler way to do business?

Firstly, make sure you have time to rest and look after your body. Sometimes being overwhelmed can come from lack of sleep, fatigue, no exercise, adrenaline problems or just the situation. A clear mind can help you to find a way forward.

Also, I think this industry is incredibly hard and complex. The best musician doesn't always get a grammy. Sometimes it's ok to walk away if it's effecting your life negatively. The reasons why you started may not be the reasons why you continue. Your talents and gifts may be used more in fruitfully in another career and it's perfectly ok to walk away and try something else. Give yourself time to reflect and check in with what you want. If the answer is YES I want to keep going then KEEP ON GOING with that attitude.

What advice would you give to someone who is struggling to cope with the on-again off-again seasonal flow of freelancer work and who is doubting whether any more creative work is going to come their way?

I would say talking to someone or having a community that is going through the same thing is sooo helpful. Understanding and writing down the risks has helped me take the emotion out of situations too. I don't think there's a way to eliminate that all together, but there are others ways to create stability. 

Be prepared to do other work.

Being flexible and determined. There's no one way, so reassessing and changing small things can help.

Art and Fear is a book that helped me a lot with this question.


Philosophical Musings

Why do you work in the arts and why do you create?

I have always been drawn to the arts. I create for various reasons, mainly because its something I naturally just do, but practically because it's my job so I make it happen!

How do you balance business and creativity in your life? What do you think about the concept of 'selling out'?

This is different for everyone. I have a natural desire to rebel from structures or people who tell me what to do, which can make things harder than they need to be sometimes.

I think understanding your values and writing them down has really helped me. Also, finding the right community who encourages and inspires you helps make this easier. I try to work with people who I admire and have a good relationship with so I can express myself and be supported doing that.

I would never shame someone for doing something for money as it's really scary when you don't have much. However, I always try to think through to the bigger picture in how it will effect my long term plans and I ask the question; Would I be ok with that?

What do you think it means to live a creative life?

Creativity isn't determined by your environment or who gives you permission. That's whats so cool about it. It can happen anywhere at anytime. I think creativity is challenging the way things are done and trying to find a new way forward.