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Inspiring East LA Stories

The heart of our mission at VoyageLA is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of East LA’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble-rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool.  Check out East LA’s rising stars below.

Alexandra Fratella

I have always been quite obsessed with fitness and movement, starting from when my dad handed me my first soccer ball at the age of 5. I played sports all my life but because of a lack of knowledge and having such a drive to keep pushing my body, I frequently found myself facing injuries. That’s where I found yoga. I took my first yoga class at the age of 21 and immediately found that it offered a path towards a better relationship between myself and my body. I moved to LA – Hollywood to be exact – from Long Island, NY, almost six years ago, not really knowing what was in store for me. I had originally moved to pursue acting, and I was hit with reality pretty quickly. Finding an apartment with only $2500 in the bank and no job wasn’t the easiest walk in the park. Fast forward about three years, I had found myself a community not only in the service industry but in the yoga world as well. My days were jam packed with 2-3 part-time jobs, auditions, side hustles and a social life; I needed an outlet. Read more>>

Alec Nakashima

My story, and the story of AKASHI-KAMA, really starts with the generations before me in my family. Being Asian American, I feel so indebted and grateful to those generations who sacrificed a lot for me to have the opportunities I have today. Our fashion brand really started when I was looking for clothes with a traditional aesthetic but wanting to wear them in a modern, everyday context. I couldn’t find anything with all the details and specifics I was picturing, so I figured I would design my own. The goal from the beginning was really as simple as wanting to create something that represented multiple cultures weaving together. Since then, we’ve found a lot of different ways to tell stories with the brand through different garments and designs. Read more>>

Jazz Pierre

Jazz is kind-hearted, compassionate and mission-driven. She has a focus on spreading The Gospel through her love for R&B music and showing people worldwide that it’s ok to be exactly who you are while fighting to overcome fear and adversities. Jazz is the modern-day millennial who refuses to be a ministry leader who is unreachable, but one that loves on people relentlessly no matter what the world says our faults are. Jazz began her musical journey at the age of 4, inspired by the encouragement of her great grandmother who played a vital role in her life. After many years of learning more about the music industry, Jazz decided to finally claim her role as an indie/Rnb gospel artist. She realized that the gospel transcends in many ways and does not have to be placed within a box. Read more>>

Tristan Axworthy

Three years ago, my cousin (Dustin Perry) and I started talking about opening a studio in Salt Lake. I had been engineering at a studio I co-owned in Hayward, CA called Treetop Studios. After a few conversations, I decided to take a chance on Utah and come out to see what we could do. Within a couple of months, we realized there would be enough of a need for a proper hip hop studio in Utah. Since then, we’ve grown to be the top search result when you Google Recording studios in Utah & Salt Lake City. Read more>>

Toban Nichols

I moved to LA in 2009, fresh out of San Francisco where everyone claims to hate Southern California. All I knew was I had hit the creative ceiling in SF, at least for myself and I needed to move forward. I first visited LA when I was 14 and loved it. As a teenager back then, I was intrigued by the culture, not so much the Hollywood scene that was so obvious and vast, but more the music scene and seeing how kids my age dressed. I knew someday I’d live here, but my path took a different route. I had been making art my whole life, literally since I was a very young child in church. I come from Kansas and good strong farm folk, so my absolute disinterest in anything having to do with raising cattle, cutting wheat, or getting my shoes dirty on the many unpaved roads that surrounded our town was clear and obvious to everyone from a very young age. I had always thought about living somewhere else, never feeling as though I belonged until I went off to college and a small city. Read more>>

Jimmy Dean Horn

I’ll try and keep it on the short side. I grew up in a military family and was indoctrinated in the to military/USA is number 1 mindset at an early age. It’s been a rough one to shake. A year before graduating high school, I had a call with a high-ranking air force general who wanted to give a full ride to the academy. I turned it down because I am ‘too tall to likely pilot jets’. Who doesn’t want to be iceman from top gun?! my grades were there, my sight was better than required, I was an athlete, my height however would have limited me to large transports or air to ground combat. in two words. f*ck that. We moved around a lot growing up, which made me the constant new kid at the school. I learned early on if you could draw well, you could get good attention from the other kids. So I drew a lot growing up, when I wasn’t drawing I was outside skateboarding or riding bikes. Read more>>

Lo Artiz

My parents knew I’d be a musician when they saw me pull out all the pots & pans from our kitchen cabinets under the sink & I’d set them up like a drum set when I was two and bang away while my Mom cooked. My Grandfather was a pianist, & my Dad grew up playing guitar with his band in his teens in my Abuela’s living room – so music definitely already lived within my blood. I naturally sang for fun as a kid until I was about seven years old and heard Aretha Franklin for the first time. I bought my first CD, a Top 30 Soul songs of all time compilation disc, and Track #3 was Aretha’s “Respect”. I was never the same after hearing that woman belt & put her soul on display via her voice. I knew I wanted to provide the same feeling for others, as well as have a place to put all the things I feel. I was a pretty sensitive person from the start & felt things more heavily than others around me, so music became my safe haven to express what I was too scared to say outside of music. Read more>>

Char Gladden

When I was little, I’d get up every day before my younger brother and sister and draw at a little table in the laundry room. Having that impulse to make things and fine art – this has always been a throughline. My parents owned a video store growing up, so black and white movies and tap dance routines were the backdrop to my childhood – I worked the counter, kept track of my favorite box art, (and wore oversized free movie swag that said stuff like “Look Who’s Talking, Too”). I’d neglect customers in the back room, collaging movie promos into bookmarks on the lamination machine. Graphic design wasn’t on my radar until college when I discovered that I could weave art and type digitally – in this way, my studio practice informed my design practice and opened up a world beyond paint and charcoal. My dad used to take me to flea markets looking for car parts, which fueled my now deep love for old junk and printed ephemera. The beauty of an old handwritten note to a lover, old jeans, the smell of vintage books. Read more>>

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