E8 The Unlock Moment: Serena Kern-Libera (Segiri) – Achieving Social Change Through Dance/Pop Music
In this episode, I interview dance / pop sensation Segiri, by day known as Serena Kern-Libera, international trade lawyer and winner of the prestigious Asian Women of Achievement award in 2020. In her Unlock Moment, deciding to launch her own record label D2D Records to support young up-and-coming talent brought together her passion for music, her sharp legal and business brain and her desire to effect social change through the power of mentorship. This podcast also features Segiri’s sparkling dance / pop track ‘Parallel’.
Follow Serena Kern-Libera on Twitter
Instagram: @Serena_Kern and @Segiri_Music
Gary Crotaz 0:02
My name’s Dr. Gary Crotaz, and I’m a coach and author of The IDEA Mindset, a book about how to figure out what you want, and how to get it. The Unlock Moment is that flash of remarkable clarity, when you suddenly know the right path ahead. When I’m in conversation with my coaching clients, these are the breakthroughs that are so profound that they remember vividly where they were, who they were, with what they were thinking when their Unlock Moment happened. In this podcast, I’ll be meeting and learning about people who have accomplished great things, or brought about significant change in their life, and you’ll be meeting them with me. We’ll be finding out what inspired them, how they got through the hard times, and what they learned along the way that they can share with you. Thank you for joining me on this podcast to hear all about another Unlock Moment. Hello dear listener, and welcome to another episode of The Unlock Moment podcast. I met today’s guest almost a decade ago, I was working on a big strategic project, and my boss introduced me to the team of lawyers who were going to be working with us. They were fantastic lawyers, coming from one of the top London firms, super-slick and smart and slightly intimidating. And then one day one of my team said, And have you heard Serena sing? I imagined maybe she was an amateur soprano or dabbled a bit in musical theatre. I did not think that she had a side-hustle as a full on dance / pop star. I was blown away! We’ve been friends for years and I’ve enjoyed seeing both her legal and her pop career go from strength to strength. So fast-forward to today. Trade policy expert, businesswoman and artist Serena Kern-Libera is living proof of what’s possible with hard work and passion. In 2020 she won the prestigious Asian Women of Achievement Award, which recognises the contribution of Asian women to businesses and communities in the UK. Founder of D2D Records, Serena is an artist in her own right under the stage name Segiri. She set up D2D Records as a social enterprise aimed at marrying her love of music with her legal and business background. Aside from her day job in international trade, Serena is involved in multiple initiatives promoting women, education and diversity of thought. I can’t wait to hear more about all of it. Serena, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to The Unlock Moment.
Serena Kern-Libera 2:49
Gary, thank you so much for having me.
Gary Crotaz 2:52
So start out with telling a little, telling us a bit about your story. So tell us a bit about your upbringing and what formed the person that you are today.
Serena Kern-Libera 3:00
So I am half Swiss, half Indian. People always hear that and say, Oh, that’s that’s a strange combination. But actually, in the little town that I’m from in the southeast of India, there were a number of Swiss families actually, this this goes back to a long, long time ago, my grandfather’s time. And I was born and brought up in India, in a little town called Coonoor in the Nilgiri mountains, very beautiful. Tea-growing region, actually, for those of you who are tea lovers. And yeah, I was born there, spent 18 years of my life in India. It was a great upbringing. I went to two schools. I went to a local school until I was in my early teens. And then I went to an international school, because I started to think about, you know, what do I want to do? Where do I want to go to university? And the UK was kind of vaguely on my radar at that time. I knew I wanted to go abroad somewhere and try something different. But yeah, I spent 18 years of my life there and then moved to London for university. But it was a very different upbringing. And London was a bit of a shock to the system. But that was great because that’s what I was looking for.
Gary Crotaz 4:27
And did you know anybody in London when you first came? Or were you on your own?
Serena Kern-Libera 4:32
I didn’t. I was completely on my own. When I started, because I decided, having watched too much of Ally McBeal, I decided that law was something I was really interested in pursuing. But I decided I wanted to experience something different to what I had experienced before. Like I say what, you know I wanted to go abroad. It was either the UK or the US. Having had many discussions with my mum about leaving home and how far away I was going, we agreed on the UK, just because it was closer than the US.
Gary Crotaz 5:15
And how did it feel when you, when you landed in the UK for the first time?
Serena Kern-Libera 5:18
It was a little bit overwhelming. If I can describe my town in India to you, it was a very small town, and it was great. But everybody knew everything about me, and I knew everything about them. And it was a very close-knit community. Coming to London, it was a very anonymous place, is what I would say, and I went to the LSE, which, you know, it doesn’t have a campus, you walk past people and you don’t know whether they’re a student or they’re a tourist, or it’s just, you know, you look at a building and you don’t know whether it’s an LSE building or a shop. And it was very anonymous, it was very different in that sense. But I loved it. And I kind of embraced the fact that you just have, it’s such a melting pot of cultures. And there’s so much opportunity. So yeah, it was overwhelming, but really exciting at the same time.
Gary Crotaz 6:22
And when you came to graduate, then was it obvious to stay in the UK at that time? Or did you think about moving again?
Serena Kern-Libera 6:29
I think I wanted to stay in London, like for me, you know I had spent 18 years of my life in India, it was still, London was still relatively new, and there was still so much to learn and explore. So for me, yeah, I didn’t really think about going abroad again, I kind of wanted to continue the process of really making London my home.
Gary Crotaz 6:54
And so you started building your legal career in London?
Serena Kern-Libera 6:57
Exactly. Yeah. So I did my three year law degree at the LSE. Then I did the legal practice course, which everybody has to do. That was six months. And then I jumped straight into work, which was a whole different experience!
Gary Crotaz 7:15
And describe for my listeners the, what does it feel like? What’s the kind of balance of work that you’re doing when you’re working for a law firm? How, you know, how intensive is the work? What kind of things are you doing?
Serena Kern-Libera 7:28
I mean, it was very intense. I have to say, I really enjoyed my time at my firm. And I spent, what was it, five years at my law firm, five and a half years. And I did, so I qualified and I became a corporate M&A lawyer. And that’s where I met you, Gary! When I was in that world. I mean, it was really interesting. You work on some really interesting, complex international transactions. I learned a lot when I was seconded to the business where I sort of met you, I just got insight into a real-life business in a way which I probably wouldn’t have been in many other jobs. And that was really exciting. We were doing something really cutting edge. And yeah, I felt you know, you’re at the forefront of a change, and a big change in a big business’s life. So all of that was really exciting and fascinating. But at the same time, very time consuming. So from a work-life balance perspective, not that great, if I’m to be honest.
Gary Crotaz 8:51
And I know we’ve always connected on having major side hustles so at the time that we first met I think I was still a professional ballroom dancer. So I was doing my my big strategy role. And then I was most nights in a week with my wife training as a dancer and travelling around the world at weekends. And then I discovered that you were running your own pop career. So how did you first get into music? Where did that start?
Serena Kern-Libera 9:14
So, and I should say Gary, by the way, that’s why I think we just clicked instantly. I don’t meet many people who do something similar. So that was great. And I think that’s why we’ve stayed friends. But where did my music career start? I would say I have always loved singing, I’ve always loved music ever since I was a child. But growing up in India, first of all, I would say that my parents were very open-minded. They really encouraged me to kind of pursue whatever I wanted to pursue, but I was a little bit surrounded by others who were not that open-minded. So for me, I never, I never thought of music as something that I could do as a career necessarily. And I don’t know why, in the back of my mind, I thought, okay, law will be the serious thing that I do. And then music will be, as you put it, the the sort of side hustle that I can do in my spare time, if I have the time to do it. So I came to London, I was pursuing law, but I started doing lots of open mic nights at university. And then that’s when I really started writing my own music. And whoever heard me performing really encouraged me. And they said, You know, I can’t believe you wrote that. Why don’t you do this on a more professional level. And it kind of grew from there. And I was lucky along the way, because I got spotted by a really good manager in London. And he really helped guide me along the way. I then got to work with some really amazing producers. Rishi Rich was one of them who’s really, that opened a lot of doors for me. So Rishi Rich, for those of you who don’t know, was very big in the, the kind of British Indian scene, and had a lot of number one hits. And he kind of, you know, he knows everybody who’s anybody in the music industry and working with him, he, you know, he really encouraged me and said, You’re so talented. And you should really think about doing this more seriously. And it was that encouragement that started to drive me to think about doing this on a more serious basis. Rather than this just being a complete side-hustle that I just do, you know, whenever I have time, and if I have time, it’s something I thought, well, maybe I should dedicate a little bit more time to. And it’s also a passion for me. So I think it’s important that you make time for your passions.
Gary Crotaz 12:12
I remember the moment, the moment that I twigged that it was different from somebody who does something in their spare time, was when I saw your music videos, and it’s like, you know, it’s full on, you know, pop star music videos, and that was, you know, you’re still relatively early in your, in your journey, then. So tell me a bit about, you know, when you started to do that, and how you made how you make that happen? How do you go from, I’m singing in an open mic night, to I’m recording a music video with a load of extras and driving down the street in the car and all the rest of it?
Serena Kern-Libera 12:43
I think, so it has been a real journey for me. And it’s been a journey of discovery as well, where you kind of go from thinking, Okay, this is one random open mic night that I’m going to do. And maybe people will like my music. And you know, I’m going to, I think there are hurdles that you have to get over as well, just about in terms of putting yourself out there and thinking, well, how are people going to react to this? Because, because as opposed to law, where you’re just, I suppose interpreting a piece of legislation. This is, you’re writing your own story. You’re putting yourself out there, you’re making yourself vulnerable to people. And then you think, well, how are people going to react to this? So I think I slowly started to build my confidence, because the reaction was good. And I think I got a lot of encouragement from friends and from family along the way. And one, yeah, there was a certain turning point where I thought, Well, why don’t I just go for it and do a music video because it looks like it’s fun. And actually, it was a huge amount of fun. My first music video I think I recorded it somewhere in Sheffield. With, with this guy who I had contacted through the internet and said, You know, I’ve seen some of the other stuff you’ve done. I’ve never done one of these before, shall we, shall we just go for it? And it was a it was, it was a bit of experimenting and turned out better than I expected it to. And when I put it out there, again, you know, you have to get over the hurdles of, Do I put it out there? What are people gonna think? Are they gonna say, What is this lawyer trying to, like, what is she doing? But you get over that. And actually, it was great! I loved it. And it just as I said, grew from there. And actually the the music videos helped me get the attention of the people I then ended up working with, like, like Rishi and that again opened so many doors for me. So I think it was just a case as I say of self-discovery, but also just getting over those hurdles, and not being afraid to kind of put yourself out there.
Gary Crotaz 15:03
So talk to me about identity. So you know, you’re describing the lawyer who’s, you know, nose-deep in legislation, which you were then and you still are now. And then you’re also this, you know, dance / pop star, recording music videos, and it’s creative. And to me, they seem, and I kind of get it from my own background, but they seem very, very different sort of mindsets. So do you think of yourself today as you know, a pop singer who does law, as a lawyer who’s a pop singer? Or are they are they like two completely separate identities that you balance?
Serena Kern-Libera 15:43
It is a really interesting question, actually. So I would say, I don’t even think about it in that way. I don’t wake up thinking, Am I a lawyer? Am I a singer? For me, and also, I know, so a lot of people have asked me, you know, these are two completely different things, how do they work, and they seem to be two opposing things almost. But for me, I guess, I’ve never seen them as two opposing things. I think as a lawyer or whatever, in whatever job you’re doing, in a serious profession, and I say that in inverted commas, I think, I think people underestimate the value of being creative. And I think, you know, you’ve called certain professions the sort of, the professional world and then you’ve got the creative world. And sometimes I really query that because I think, well professionals need to be creative as well. And why do we underestimate the value of creativity? Creativity is important in everything I think. And for me personally, I truly believe that I’ve gotten to where I’ve gotten in my professional career because I have given myself the freedom to really explore and allow my creativity to grow. So I’ve never seen them as two opposing things. And I’ve never seen myself as, as it were switching mindsets and saying, Okay, now I’m going to be the creative and Okay, now I’m going to be the professional. And actually it’s, it’s something I’m quite passionate about. Because, you know, I do a lot of work with young people in schools. And I set up an initiative, where we’ve got a group of 15 of us, women, and we go into schools and talk about, you know, careers and career options. And I think, and I did this as well, I think a lot of students build up in their head a perception of what a certain type of professional needs to be or look like. And, and for those who are interested in art, or those who come from a certain type of background, they think, well, I could never be a lawyer in the City, because I just don’t fit that brief. And my view has always been well, there is no kind of, you know, these are, these are ideas that we have in our head, there’s no reason a lawyer needs to look and feel as it were in a particular way. Anybody can do anything as long as you’re passionate about it. But yeah.
Gary Crotaz 18:20
I think that’s amazing. And it’s such a powerful message that, that I think comes across so well. There’s something very authentic about the way you describe that and the fact that you don’t compartmentalise for other people, I think that’s important. You know, and I’ve done the same, I think people are always a little bit shocked when I was in the corporate world, how open I was about the dancing that I did, and I would sometimes, I remember, a day I went to, I don’t know, a corporate training day, and I wore some dancing trousers. So ballroom dancing trousers are baggier than your normal trousers, because there’s something about the line as you move, and I was wearing those. And somebody said, You’re wearing really weird trousers! And I was like, No, I’m just wearing my trousers. But actually, it was something, it was like, because they’re so used to people thinking that they need to set themselves in a box for a certain role, to give a certain impression, to make people feel comfortable around them. And I think it’s a really powerful message to say, Be who you are. And everyone else has got to deal with how they how they think about that. But you’re very clear in who you are. I hear that coming across very strongly.
Serena Kern-Libera 19:27
Yeah. And as I say, I think it’s really important. And, you know, we all talk about the importance of diversity. And I think for me, the real, the bit that’s really valuable about diversity is diversity of thought and being able to think differently and being able to embrace people. And I say embrace, it’s not just tolerate, and I think there’s a big difference between tolerating somebody who’s different and embracing their differences, and I think we all need to learn to embrace people because of their differences.
Gary Crotaz 20:04
I love it. I love it. So we’ve talked a bit about the law. And we’ve talked a little bit about pop music. So tell me a bit more about the social enterprise. I know you started this Discover2Dream. And you talked a little bit about that. But tell me more about where that came from.
Serena Kern-Libera 20:19
So Discover2Dream is the kind of initiative that I set up with schools. I became a school governor. This was, I’m thinking now, probably five years ago, five and a half years ago. And that’s because the opportunity came about, I didn’t know what a school governor was, if I’m to be honest. But I knew that I came from the sort of traditional kind of Indian school system, and I was really interested in learning about the school system here. So the opportunity came about, I said, Oh, so I don’t have to be a parent to be a school governor. And they said, No, actually, we really value people who don’t have any association with the schools. So I became a school governor. And that’s how I started getting interested in schools and came across some students, absolutely loved interacting with them. Because I think you learn so much from young people, they just think, I mean they have, they are just free, I think in a way that adults sometimes aren’t to speak their mind. And at the time as well, my music manager had said to me, There is an initiative, which is looking for young artists to go into schools and to perform their music. So why don’t you do that, because that’s a great way for you to kind of build up a little fan base as well amongst the school population. So I started doing that. And I said to him, I really love performing, but I would also really like to talk about my career path, because that’s another big part of me. So why don’t we combine the two? Why don’t I do it a little bit differently to other artists? Why don’t I do the performance, but I’ll also talk about my career path. And that went down a treat, I have to say, because the students never expected somebody who comes from such a kind of straight-laced corporate background to then say, actually, I’m working with Ms Banks, who was a big rapper. In fact, she’s doing very well for herself. So I started getting a lot of requests to go into schools. And it was at that stage I decided, okay, this is, this is a bit much for me to take on, on my own. But actually, I think it is really important that we get young female role models into schools to speak with students. And that’s how this idea of Discover2Dream came up. So I basically called up friends of mine and said, You’re interesting. You have an interesting background, I think you would love doing this. And, you know, the response was great. And we started this initiative. It’s been going for a while now, we’ve been into a number of schools. And yeah, it’s, it’s just something that I derive a great amount of pleasure from.
Gary Crotaz 23:35
I’m not quite sure how you fit all this stuff in in 168 hours in a week, as well as sleep and everything else that you that you need to do. And it’s interesting, I mean, we were talking before, before we started recording about so how this comes then to your Unlock Moment. So talk to me a little bit about how you got to this place where you, where you figured out how to put this all together.
Serena Kern-Libera 23:59
So Gary, I would say my, there have been a few Unlock Moments along my journey. But a fairly big one came when I set up D2D Records. Because I have, like I say I’ve got my my day job. I have been an artist, recording artist for a while. My music is doing really well. And you know that the Spotify streaming numbers were very healthy, which was great. I was doing work with the schools. But one day, someone in my music team actually said to me, Well, Serena, you know, you’ve got, you’ve got all of this. Why don’t you set up a record label? And I thought, well, I didn’t know what to say! And I thought, and my, and my immediate reaction was, Oh, but I just don’t have the time. And that’s going to, you know, I’m already quite stretched, I’m already working non-stop pretty much. I’m not sure I have the time to take this on. And that was my kind of immediate reaction to that. But you know, I never, I am one who will never close down an opportunity. And when somebody puts something to me, I like to think about it. I don’t like to say no and then just leave it at that. And I do like to challenge myself. So I took that away and I thought about it. And I kind of sat down and I thought, Well, I’ve always had a portfolio career as some would describe it, which are lots of strands. But I thought, well, maybe this is a way of connecting all of those things. And the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. And then I thought, well, you know, you start thinking, Well, how much work is this actually going to take? And is there, are there efficiencies here? And you know, how do we manage this? And actually I decided, well, why not just go for it? And we’ll see what happens. Because I couldn’t come up with enough reasons for not doing it, so seemed to be a lot of reasons for doing it. Not enough reasons for not doing it!
Gary Crotaz 26:19
That sounds like a very lawyer-y way of thinking about it, considering all the, all the worst-case scenarios, and then deciding that there aren’t enough.
Serena Kern-Libera 26:26
Gary Crotaz 26:27
What was the… Bring us right into that moment of when you, when you went from, I’m thinking about it, I’m exploring it, I’m running the numbers, whatever it is, to, I want to do it. What was that moment? Do you remember?
Serena Kern-Libera 26:43
It… So I love, I love to go on long walks and thinking, What do I do? Is this something I want to do? Is this the road I want to go down? Is this… You know, as I say, you weigh up the pros and the cons. The main con that I could see was one of timing. But that’s never, I don’t think that’s ever a good reason not to try something. And like I say, you then just have to work out ways of creating efficiencies. And I’ve got, I’ve managed to get a great team behind me, who helps me with, with, with the label. And I thought that on the pro side was being able to help young artists and I have seen so many young artists out there who are extremely talented, but just do not have the funding, do not have the connections to be able to get their music out there. And to be able to say that I helped even one artist and this was my thinking, you know I could set up the label. And even if I helped one artist to be something that they wouldn’t have been able to be without my backing. I mean, you know, you think about it, well, that’s something, that’s something I would be really proud to say. And that’s something I would be proud to say to my children one day. And I thought, well, if you balance that with the cons, I think I should just go for it! So that was that was my Unlock Moment, it was kind of like well, you kind of, you think forward and think to what, what the possibilities are with, with whatever the project is that you’re trying to do. And, yeah, it seemed a no brainer, then to me. And I also thought, you know, after all of these years of gathering the experience as an artist, knowing the corporate and legal side of things, I was just in such a good position to do this. And I thought there are not that many other people who are in that position. So it would be a shame to not do it.
Gary Crotaz 28:55
And it’s interesting, I can hear when you’re describing that there was a time when there were a lot of factors that you’re weighing up, a lot of pros, a lot of cons and then – but it was a no brainer. And so what happened for you, once you got to that place of thinking, this is a no brainer? What changed for you in the way it felt in your head?
Serena Kern-Libera 29:16
It was a moment of elation. I think before that, when I kind of, when I was still considering and still wondering whether this was the right thing to do. And, and again, I think we as people can sometimes put a lot of hurdles up in our own heads and procrastinate and then you think of all the reasons you shouldn’t be doing something. And I kind of, it just felt a little bit sad really, but once I thought okay, well I’m just gonna go ahead, I’m gonna do it, see where it gets to me. I just felt happy. And then I knew well this is the right thing to do. Clearly, this is what I should be doing. But yeah, and since then, it’s just been an incredible journey. And it’s not even been that long. But I feel we’ve already achieved quite a bit, which is, which is great.
Gary Crotaz 30:09
So bring to life, so what happened next? And where are you at now with with the label?
Serena Kern-Libera 30:15
So I have a really good team that I’m working with. I have a guy called Kwame, who runs the urban music seminars in the UK, which is, it gets together a lot of young artists, I met him through one of the seminars actually that I attended. And he’s kind of the face of the seminars, and you get people from the music industry, you get people from, well, you get labels in as well, you get people from radio in and they kind of speak with young aspiring artists, you know, about how to, how to kind of go on the path to being a recorded musician with their music out there, you know, published on Spotify or whatever. And through these seminars, a lot of young, aspiring artists send Kwame through their demos. And he then through that basically said to me that I’ve got a demo for an artist I think you will be interested in. She is also of Tamil heritage, so similar to me, although Sri Lankan Tamil. Based in London, really, really talented. And I think you guys would work well together. So that’s how I met Pritt, who is the first artist I’ve signed, I saw in her a phenomenal amount of talent. And I’m just so proud, I guess, to be able to support somebody like that. So listen to one of her demos, loved it. And we are working now to sort of release that track, and do a music video and do all the PR and everything behind that. So it’s great to be able to kind of work with her and take her on that journey. I remember when we signed the label agreement, she was really excited and said to me, do you mind if I bring along my mum and my sister and, and to me, it was just, it was so sweet. But also it was so, it’s so wonderful, I guess to be able to, to be able to support somebody with something that in their life is so important to them. So that was just, that was a great moment for me, actually.
Gary Crotaz 32:42
And what have you learned about yourself from that experience going through that journey and creating the label?
Serena Kern-Libera 32:50
I think what I have learnt about myself is probably just, just how much pleasure I derive I guess from seeing others achieve what, achieve their potential. I hadn’t realised, I call it maternal, I don’t know, I’ve always been very competitive. I’ve always been a high achiever. So I got the highest GCSE grades in the whole of India, but I hadn’t really appreciated just how much, how happy it would make me to see somebody else achieve their potential and be a part of that journey with them. And I think that’s really, yeah, but that’s taught me something about myself I didn’t, I didn’t know.
Gary Crotaz 33:38
I think it’s really interesting, because I can hear in your story all the way through, there’s always been this drive to make a difference for other people. But now, in marrying all of that together, all the different elements together, is something very powerful. And so, you know, when you think about your own journey, and you look back, you know, to that journey so far, and you were, you know, going to give advice to other people who were thinking about maybe they’re balancing various different strands in the way that you were, what advice might you give to other people about how to handle all of that?
Serena Kern-Libera 34:15
I think what I would say to people is, Just go for it. I think if you have an idea or a passion that you feel that you want to pursue, I think just go for it. I think a lot of people, and I’m guilty of this as well, you kind of as, and I’ve spoken about this before, you put barriers up in your own head and you come up with all the reasons for not doing something, and you procrastinate about stuff and then don’t end up doing it. I think just go for it. If it doesn’t work out, analyse and see why it hasn’t worked out and then kind of maybe try and make some tweaks to how you approached the issue. But I think there’s nothing worse than looking back and thinking, I had a really good idea. But I was just too scared to, to go for it. So that’s what I would say to people.
Gary Crotaz 35:14
That’s amazing. And I also, when you hear that piece around identity and not being defined by other people, that piece you were talking about before, where, you know, in any environment, people are trying to put you in a box, but you have your own box. And that’s something that I think comes through very strongly in your story.
Serena Kern-Libera 35:34
Yeah, I, I really don’t like the idea of boxes, Gary! I think, I think you just have to be yourself, and people should appreciate you for being yourself. And we all have a creative side, we all have a side of us that will be analytical or whatever. And you just you kind of embrace that and be yourself and, and exactly as you said, you don’t try and fit into a particular box, just because you think that’s what people want you to do. And I’ll tell you a story. When I, when I joined my law firm, I was quite nervous about people at the beginning finding out that I was doing pop music. And that, you know, I tried to keep it quiet for a long time. An article then came out in the Law Society Gazette, so everybody then ended up finding out. And I remember being called into one of the partners’ offices one day. And I didn’t know why I’d been called in. And he had a copy of the, the magazine in his hand, and I could see my photo on it. And he said, what’s this about? And I thought he was going to tell me off. And I said, Oh, well, you know, yeah, I kind of do pop music on the side. And he said, Well, that’s absolutely great! Why didn’t you tell me about it before? And we should have a charity event for our clients! And will you perform? And you know, this was, it was a great moment for me because I realised then that actually all this, this, these ideas about how I thought at the time a proper corporate lawyer should be, it was just all in my head. So that was a great moment for me. And that was, maybe that was another Unlock Moment along the way, actually.
Gary Crotaz 37:31
I mean, you’ve got to be the only pop star whose big breakthrough has been not in NME or Rolling Stone magazine, but in the Law Society Gazette! I really like that story. So as we’re coming, you know, well into 2022 now, what is the things that are ahead for you? What are you looking forward to over the coming months and years?
Serena Kern-Libera 37:49
I think, I wouldn’t really like, so the record label as I say still very much in its infancy. So I would like to see where that goes, how many young artists I’m able to support. I mean, I’ve created this very much as a social enterprise. So I’m not, I’m not expecting to make a big business out of it. But I think my idea with it was a) to to support artists who wouldn’t have otherwise been able to get the support they needed. But also, I feel like the music industry in many ways is not as artist-centred as it should be. Which is why actually my business model is a little bit different to the traditional record label. I don’t sign artists, I sign songs, so the artist is free to go on and do whatever they want to do, collaborate with whoever else they want to collaborate with. And just be themselves as an artist, I don’t try and control them as an artist in any way. So I don’t know, Gary, hopefully, somebody will will pick up on this and say, maybe, maybe the music industry. I mean, this is in my own small way. I’m trying to make a change, but maybe we can be a small example for how things can be done better. I mean, that would be great.
Gary Crotaz 39:10
Amazing. Fantastic. And where can people find out more about you and the various things that you’re doing?
Serena Kern-Libera 39:17
So on social media. I’m @SerenaKern, on Twitter and on Instagram. Segiri is my artist name, if you want to listen to some of my tracks you can find me on Spotify or any other music streaming service. And Pritt is the artist I’ve just signed. So do go and check her music out as well.
Gary Crotaz 39:44
Fantastic. And how do you spell Pritt?
Serena Kern-Libera 39:48
Gary Crotaz 39:51
Fantastic. Serena, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. The Unlock Moment is that flash of remarkable clarity when you suddenly know the right path ahead. For Serena it was marrying her creative vision, her corporate drive and her desire to create opportunities for others through launching her own record label. She has learned how to find balance without compromise. Knowing herself, her ambitions and her goals helps her to bring her best to all her endeavours. She is a true inspiration to young women and girls and someone I know we’re going to see much more of in the years ahead. Serena, thank you so much for joining me on The Unlock Moment.
Serena Kern-Libera 40:28
And thanks for having me Gary, it’s been an absolute pleasure.
Gary Crotaz 42:56
This has been The Unlock Moment, a podcast with me, Dr. Gary Crotaz. Thank you for listening in. You can find out more about how to figure out what you want and how to get it in my book, The IDEA Mindset, available in physical book, ebook and audiobook format. Follow me on Instagram and subscribe to this podcast to get notified about future episodes. Join me again soon!