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Meet Cynthia Brando

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cynthia Brando.

Cynthia, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I moved to Los Angeles in late 2013 to pursue a music career in my late 30’s, but I have been doing music most of my life, though not much in the public. Although I always had day jobs in fields very much the opposite of anything music related-I always told people I was a musician first. I don’t feel that I was born a musician, but I wanted to be one and had to work at it constantly before I was even half decent. Musically, I was confused with trying to find “my sound,” and a huge part of my moving to Los Angeles was to discover my voice and to follow what I always knew was my true calling-to do something creative in music. Cut to now; in my 40’s and finally feeling good about the work I am doing and the direction I’m going in after years of practicing the guitar, singing and writing songs that were mostly hidden. Being in Los Angeles these past years, around all these incredibly talented people, has helped tremendously.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It hasn’t been a smooth road at all, though I have been incredibly lucky, so I have to remind myself of that constantly to get through the difficult times. Throughout my life journey, I had a lot of emotional struggles. Working through them allowed me to finally be able to make a bold move in my life like moving to Los Angeles. I only knew a couple of people here and no one in the music industry. I had never even visited here, and I didn’t know anything about it except all the glossy hype. I was definitely in a strong frame of mind, but my time of 5 years has been full of stress with trying to survive as an independent artist with day jobs that allow me to do music and which also pay the bills for L.A.’s exorbitant housing and cost of living. To make it work, I’ve had up to 5 different jobs sometimes at once, moved five times, and have worked full time on my music while navigating those stresses to get where I am currently which is a place of abundant love and support from the music community.

Tell us about your business/company. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of as a company? What sets you apart from others?
As a performing singer-songwriter, I perform folk music in various venues in Los Angeles, and as a street performer. I also tour and am currently on my second tour. I guess I am known for making my own opportunities; as when I moved here, I quickly became frustrated with the common venues that artists perform at which often require you to “pay to play,” bring in a certain amount of people and do nothing in return with their own promotion. I started a concert series which ran for several years where the artists got paid. I also recently started to advertise coaching services and had my first client.

I’m most proud of my company Music Emerging which is “your place for emotional resources that will inspire transformation on the challenging musical journey by gaining strength and confidence through a variety of supports to further your dreams and goals.” My company offers support in the form of workshops, coaching, a blog, and resources. I started it in 2014 and it has grown a lot in the last year. Recently I teamed up with a local Pasadena business who is doing a lot for their community, Lyd and Mo Photography Studio. Music Emerging holds workshops there monthly with an emphasis on the emotional aspects of the creative life. The Playhouse District, which is working on revitalizing the arts in the area, has also been very supportive in promoting the workshops and the other really cool events that the owners at Lyd and Mo studio have going on.

Do you feel like our city is a good place for businesses like yours? If someone was just starting out, would you recommend them starting out here? If not, what can our city do to improve?
Los Angeles is a major music center, so I feel like this is the perfect place for me to be, but it’s certainly tough, because so many others come to pursue music and it’s easy to get lost in that competitive sea. You really have to hustle and be focused. I’ve already sown my wild oats, so it’s a good time for me to be doing something new and challenging with my life. I do a lot of hiking in the mountains above Los Angeles where I can see the vastness of the city and instead of feeling small or overwhelmed, I think of the million angles, niches, opportunities and communities the city has to offer. It’s of course, way more complicated than that, but a lot of people are down on the idea of moving to Los Angeles and pursuing the arts in general, and I hear even successful people giving the advice of “don’t do it.” I don’t think that’s helpful. If I listened to that advice, I might not have come here and had all these wonderful things happen to me, so I would recommend to someone starting out to come and experience Los Angeles. Sometimes it’s not the right time and place, but you don’t know until you try.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Mo Cee
John O’Kennedy

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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