Serena Robb, also known as The Isle of CC, studied the BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Performing Arts, followed by the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Music at MK College from 2011 to 2014. We caught up with her to hear how college helped her to pursue her dream career and to find out what she’s been up since we last saw her; from her favourite memories at college to how her tutors supported her in achieving her goals.
“Attending MK College definitely helped me creatively. I actually wanted to dance, act and sing, and maybe go to an Academy afterwards. Studying Performing Arts boosted my confidence and I enjoyed being in various theatre shows, from being in the chorus to having main parts. I realised I shined the most whilst singing and I think other people realised this before I did, and encouraged me to pursue this. I think that was one of the reasons that lead to my decision to move on to the music course.
I have lots of good memories of college but I think my three favourites were learning about Foley Art for film and making my own, going on a trip with the music class to watch The Lion King and performing at our final major performance.
When I first went to college I had no desire to go to University. I had it in my head that I wasn’t academic enough to do something like that. I didn’t even know that Music universities existed until my tutors told me. I remember Caroline helping me with my acceptance letter and giving me some really good tips. She helped me showcase who I was, why I should be accepted and most importantly – what made me different.
Thanks to her support, after MK College I went on to study at The British and Irish Modern Music Institute (Brighton Institute). I chose BA (Hons) Professional Musicianship in Vocals and graduated in 2017. Since graduating, I have my thumbs in many music pies. I’m a Solo artist, Radio Host, A director of MK Fringe, Sync Writer and Wordplay Magazine Writer.
While studying at MK College, I was able to get involved in lots of different projects and meet like-minded individuals, some of whom I still speak to. This definitely helped me, as I don’t think you ever stop learning in a creative industry.
My advice to anyone wanting to join the Music industry would be to go to gigs – especially the grassroots ones as you’ll be surprised how many people you meet. Try and network as much as you can and learn from others. If you show a willingness to learn and grow, people will help you.
Try and learn the basics of an instrument, even if it’s just simple chords and the basics of recording software. It does make it that bit easier when approaching a producer and explaining to them what you’d like to do. Research 2-3 different artists/musicians a few steps ahead of you who are doing what you want to do. See where they have performed before, who their target audience is, who has written about them, their radio play etc. It can help you to figure out where to start.
If you want to be a session musician, practice, practice practice – surround yourself with like-minded people and research function work. Function gigging might not feel like the best thing in the world, but it helps you think on your feet and learn songs in a short time frame. Once you’ve done this for a while you can start approaching networks such as GO2 Entertainment and Alive Network.
I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of camaraderie, especially with indie labels. At the end of the day, we are all in the same boat and helping one another, which I believe is important. Don’t be afraid to ask for help too, I’m a bit introverted at times but sometimes don’t overthink it – just go for it, otherwise, you’ll never know.”
We’ve loved hearing about Serena’s journey since leaving MK College and can’t wait to see where she goes from here. If you want to check her out for yourself, follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, as well as YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music.
Want to study Music or Performing Arts? Check out our range of Creative Arts courses and turn your passion into a career.