About Realma and Realmaverse

About Realma

Otherworldly. Transformative. Postmodern. Meet Realma – a sorceress at the heart of a songwriter.

Born out of a hurtful period of losing the self, Realma is an intimate musical alter-ego of a Serbian/Chinese polymodal artist trying to reclaim her identity. Her music has been featured in Rolling Stone India, Calvert Journal, Music Crowns, as well as numerous media outlets across the world. While her eye-catching live session videos feature notable locations, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Felix Romuliana, Realma’s animated music videos have been a part of multiple international film festivals, including Lift-Off Global Sessions, Flipbook Film Festival and Animest.

Using otherworldly sonorities and narratives to confront the everyday in all its light and dark hues, Realma began wielding the medium of songwriting as a transformative force that offers a state of reverie and escape. Like disparate realms reflected in the crystals of a sorceress, Realma’s songs manifest divergent themes through the influence of different musical genres. Fused together by the omnipresent witchy quality, her music is both atavistic and postmodern, gloomy and empowering, but most of all filmic and life-like.

Based upon Realma’s art songs, Realmaverse is her multi-genre audiovisual universe infused with engaging characters and their gripping stories. Realma and her team are currently working on the exciting possibilities of shaping this musical universe into a powerful franchise, with plans to extend the storyworlds into the comic, tabletop RPG and video game mediums.

The creative behind Realma

Growing up in two disparate cultural environments and family conditions that allowed her to develop a broad interest in arts and performing, Ariadna Vrljanovic-Zhao is a young Serbian-Chinese polymodal artist with distinctive roots that continually evolve through a range of different art mediums. Her explorations range from Chinese painting, calligraphy and poetry recitation, to the classical music (violin, guitar, piano, harmony, counterpoint, musical form and composition), dance (contemporary, Horton, tanztheater, ballet, butoh and burlesque), traditional Western drawing, oil-painting and stone carving, as well as martial arts (karate, wing chun, ninjutsu and yoga).  

During her undergraduate studies in drama and film at the University of Kent, where she demonstrated distinguished results (two rotary awards, Vanessa Forrest prize and The Best Writing Prize), Ariadna focused her skills on ensemble devising and physical theatre with a focus on the psychophysical actor training and Michael Chekhov methodology. The practical side od drama allowed her to investigate various societal themes through narratives enriched with soundscapes and choreography, while the academic aspects led her to topics that extended beyond the given framework, inspiring her essays on the counter historical outlook on body-mind relationship and reconceptualization of process/product binary from a post-psychophysical perspective on devising. Meanwhile, the film coursework taught her about cognitive theories, such as embodied cognition, as well as theories on narrativity like chronotopic narration. Outside of the university, she attended multiple workshops on general movement efficiency, immersive theatre, Laban and Shakespeare, puppetry, mask, mime and many others. She has also completed the Singing and Songwriting course at PointBlank in London, and has attended multiple summer intensives, including the Guildhall Summer School for Musical Theatre, Jasmin Vardimon Summer Intensive in Ashford and Duende physical theatre residency in Greece. 

After returning back to Serbia due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Ariadna was admitted to the prominent Ecole internationale de théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris for their two-year professional course. Although this has been postponed to October 2021, she has embarked on yet another artistic journey, creating the audiovisual project under the alias ‘Realma’, based upon art songs she started composing during lockdown. The name is a punny wordplay on ‘realms’, since each song is composed in a different music style/genre with the narrative situated in a new storyworld. The whole concept is being carried out in collaboration with a group of international young artists, with songs being accompanied by animated music videos and further re-interpreted as a comic booklets, mini video games and contemporary dance/physical theatre videos.