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Conversations with Vanda

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vanda.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Growing up on the south side of Chicago, I was fortunate enough to have parents who were not only musically gifted themselves but also made a point to prioritize my passion for singing after noticing my natural musical abilities. So, by age three, I was already getting involved in local musical theater productions & eventually scoring leading roles such as Annie in “Annie”, Cinderella in “Cinderella” & The Artful Dodger in “Oliver” etc.

At 12, I discovered the art of songwriting and completely fell in love with it, prompting me to slowly switch gears from musical theater to pop music. I taught myself how to play guitar and by 16, I decided to chase my dreams of becoming a full-time artist. I moved to LA in 2014, and after making my rounds on the sunset strip, playing at local venues and clubs, I decided to enroll at Musicians Institute in Hollywood to learn how to produce my own music. After graduating from the Independent Artist Program in 2018, I met my future collaborator, Joel Woods, at an ASCAP songwriting event & released my first official song, “Wish You Well” on November 1st, 2019.

This summer, I signed with a new distribution company, Symphonic Distribution, and I’m set to release my ninth studio single, “Super Cold” September 23rd.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The music industry, as a whole, is super challenging. You are competing for listeners’ ears that have thousands and thousands of options, but I’ve tried to study my peers & the people I look up to in the industry and think, “what are they doing that I LOVE” & how can I use that as inspiration but also make it fresh and from the heart. At the beginning of my career, I spent a lot of time relying on producers to guide my direction, not realizing that I had the answers I was searching for inside of me, I just needed the confidence and tools to communicate them.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I’m a singer/songwriter/producer blending influences of R&B, Alt-pop & soul, with lyrics driven mainly by my love of storytelling, the strive to be one’s true self, queer love, friendship and of course, a little unpacking of trauma. I’d have to say I’m most proud of my tenacity. There’s something to be said about someone who is hyper-focused on what they want while continuously prioritizing the need to learn and grow. I can say that the past couple years, I’ve done a ton of growing as an artist but most importantly, as a human!

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?
The freedom to express yourself in Los Angeles is my favorite thing about the city. Your uniqueness is celebrated and supported in ways that are unmatched anywhere else. My least favorite thing about LA is the traffic, but I would take that any day if that means I get to live and love freely & meet people with completely different life experiences from me, teaching me new perspectives I carry and cherish daily!

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Image Credits
Alex Casillas

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