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Check Out Rain Phoenix’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rain Phoenix.

Hi Rain, so excited to have you on the platform. We’d like to hear your story and how LaunchLeft got to where you are today?
The origin of LaunchLeft, or how I came to move the focus from my own career toward an artistic community based on collaboration over competition, goes all the way back to 2009. I was a recent transplant to LA from NYC and when I arrived and started checking out the cultural happenings and meeting new people, I had the keen sense that there was something special happening in Los Angeles. There was a real collaborative energy in the indie music scene and it was so refreshing so when I booked a show with my then band papercranes at the Bootleg Theatre- I decided to try something different. The earthquake in Haiti had just happened and I felt compelled to do something, I wanted to find a way to help raise funds, but I wanted to do it with other artists. This was the dawn of Gift Horse Project, a supergroup for charity and we enjoyed a few years of purpose-driven live events – working with as many as 30 plus artists, supporting many nonprofits, and playing shows in NY, Marfa, Paris and LA. Through the years Gift Horse Project morphed into LaunchLeft- an alliance of left-of-center artists committed to lifting each other up. An intentional space for art and activism. A curated ecosystem where well-known artists highlight emerging artists.

Starting in 2014, LaunchLeft produced a few live events for The Art of Elysium, as well as the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign in 2016. These opportunities were the perfect way for us to try our artist-launching concept in real time. With a strong aspiration to include more artists and move toward a more virtual space, we tried podcasting in 2017 but, extenuating circumstances put that version to rest and, it wasn’t until 2019 that LaunchLeft the podcast was officially born. We simultaneously continued on with our live events, including pop-ups, cabaret shows, showcases and live streaming. We also started a record label and opened a merch store. We grew excited about web3 and how artists are using it to build community, so we started our own discord and created an NFT gallery in 2021. Through all of this, the number one takeaway for me was, collaborating with other artist’s actually improved my own work, inspired me to greater creativity and helped to redefine what success actually means.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Navigating a global pandemic had its challenges but our little community also seemed to thrive despite the times. I think one of the biggest challenges for LaunchLeft, as we solidly chose people over profit, is how to scale without compromising artistic integrity.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk about your music. What should we know about you as an artist?

After 45 years of making music, I put out my first solo record ‘River’ in 2019. That was a big milestone for me and is the record I am most proud of.

I also feel that one of my creative strong suits is connecting other artists. Whether on the podcast or in daily life, it’s a thrill to watch the collaborative process unfold.

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
Mentorship is such an important part of anyone’s trajectory. My definition of a great mentor is someone who models kindness, patience and humility- someone who is joyful about their work and skillful with their words.

I try to approach every conversation or introduction with the thought “What can I do to help?” as opposed to “What can you do for me?”.

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Image Credits
Brian Bowen Smith Chris Tucci

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