Robbie Zereka is one of six children from a loud, rural Irish family. Although he sang in the local choir from an early age, he struggled with his confidence until secondary school, where he auditioned for the school musical after encouragement from his music teacher. While rehearsing in the months before the musical, he became very close friends with a fellow cast member, who later took his own life. “It really forced me to think hard about depression and how people bottle things up. I owe that experience for teaching me to vocalise my feelings. I wrote my first song about him.” Robbie has carried this resolution seeking approach with him in life and lyricism.
The sounds of Patsy Cline, Tracy Chapman, and Smokie filled his childhood home, but when he started to write his own music, Zereka looked to broaden his influences over the years by learning from some of the greatest artists around. He learned vulnerable, honest and fierce lyricism from artists like Sinead O’ Connor, KT Tunstall, and The Cardigans and from John Grant, the impact of searing honesty was attained. As well as studying the beauty of balance and contrast in their music, Robbie has drawn aesthetic influence from his all time favourite act, Goldfrapp. “My favourite artists use visuals as a further means of expression. I feel that what you see is just as important to the message of a song as what you hear.”
As well as completing a BMUS degree in Popular Music Performance at BIMM (The British and Irish Modern Music Institute) in London, Zereka is gearing up for a headline slot at Hospital Club in Covent Garden on 8th August to launch his debut single Favourite Feelings. Pulsing with the emotive yet rousing swell of alternative pop, Zereka wrote the song to help a friend who suffers from depression so it felt like a natural choice to align with the mental health charity, SANE, to use the event to raise awareness for the issue. As well as combating stigma, SANE are a leading force in mental health research and they offer direct and vital support and advice on treatment through their helpline and website: