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Meet Moana Avvenenti

Today we’d like to introduce you to Moana Avvenenti.

Moana, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born in Saint Martin, Caribbean, and lived on a sailboat until I was six. My parents are musicians, so I always had music around me. I always sang, but I started taking piano and guitar lessons when I was a teenager. I graduated summa cum laude from Berklee College of Music in Boston in 2011. Since then, I’ve been touring the world as a singer and teaching in LA.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The main struggle has always been the financial aspect of this career. I worked through college and got involved in as many projects as possible, to have access to more scholarships. I also had an internship at the same time. So I was very rarely sleeping. And then, as a freelancer, the work comes and goes: I’ve had times when I had to record 40 songs in a short time for a kids’ cartoon while gigging at night, and teaching 40 students; and then other times, all of my students go on vacation at the same time, and there are no gigs for a while.

Being able to stay healthy is another big challenge. When I was doing US tours every weekend on a tour bus with little sleep, I was sick all the time. If I get sick, I usually don’t get my regular singing voice for about a month, so it seriously affects my work. It’s also tricky because I love singing, and I want to do it all the time, but I often have to rest my voice, which is frustrating. So even when money is tight, I have to make sure not to overwork, so I don’t lose my voice.

Please tell us about your work.
I am a singer, songwriter, and music teacher. I released my first original, solo album 7 years ago. But I moved to LA right after that, and my tastes evolved. I don’t connect with those old songs as much anymore, and I lost touch with who I was as an artist for a while. My first single since that is coming out on January 17th. I’ve been writing a lot of female empowerment songs lately, and this is one of them. I grew up lucky enough not to have to worry about getting approval for being whatever and whoever I want to be, and I want other women to feel as entitled about their self-agency as I do. I want all people to be “Wild Card(s),” with no restrictions, or need to fit into boxes. I’ve also been working with film composers this past year, and that helped with finding “my sound.” I can’t wait for some of these epic, orchestral songs to come out, too!

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have done more co-writes in college when I was surrounded by so many talented student songwriters. I use to songwrite for myself. My songs were my secret babies, and I hated sharing them with the world. But writing with other people over the last couple of years has been amazing! I can’t believe I was missing out for this long!

 I also wish I had taken bass lessons as a kid. Now I’m struggling to pick it up. And man oh man should I have spent more time on learning production!

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Image Credit:
Sarah Lleon

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