June 26, 2020 / 12:58 PM / 20 days ago

Belgian pop singer takes office job as COVID-19 wrecks debut

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Just before the coronavirus outbreak in Europe, Belgian pop singer Dana Rexx was hopeful of breaking through with her first single release in April and a tour of Asia planned.

Belgian singer Dana Rexx wearing a protective mask poses in a music recording studio after the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak halted her career, in Namur, Belgium June 25, 2020. Picture taken June 25, 2020. REUTERS/Christian Levaux NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

Instead she found herself working an office job to make ends meet.

The coronavirus has put millions of artists around the world out of work and caused huge financial loss, particularly as some, like Rexx, are not eligible for emergency state help for the self-employed because of a lack of formal contracts.

“Four months ago we were negotiating a tour in Asia and the release of my debut album,” Rexx, which is a stage name, told Reuters.

The single was not released and the tour never got off the ground. She now works from home as a freelance assistant to a managing director of a firm in Brussels.

Everything, including studio recording in Britain, is on hold, said Rexx, who declined to give her real name.  

“I have had to find other ways to make money to pay my bills,” she said while answering corporate emails on a computer screen.

Still dressed in black and with purple hair, Rexx has returned to office work she sought to leave behind in 2014 when she tried for a career as a singer, inspired by her youth, when she sung on Belgian television aged 10.

Her desk is far from the drama of her promotional videos where, with feathers in her hair and sparkling eye make-up, she sings both on horseback and in chains in a castle.

But like her lyrics about the phoenix rising from the ashes, she hopes that with the easing of lockdowns across Europe from July she may be back on stage.

“I will definitely be sending emails to promoters and bookers to let them know I am available,” she said.

Writing by Robin Emmott; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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