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Meet Rhiannon West of Wicked West Music in Culver City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rhiannon West.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Rhiannon. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
In 1989, my life would never again be the same. That’s the year a redheaded mermaid swam into my life and inspired me to embrace my inner mermaid fully. Ariel’s character in The Little Mermaid inspired me in so many ways that I can’t even begin… That’s another article for another time, LOL!

Growing up in the Deep South, along the Gulf of Mexico, my life long love affair with the ocean and music began. I was raised by a single mother, who was also going to college and working full time. My brother and I would fill our time making music and art during and after school. Mom would let me sit in on some of her University classes if I wanted to during summer recess (in between salty waves and sandcastle days at the beach of course). I would soak up as much sun as possible on the weekends, and during the week I’d become a sponge in Mom’s college Courses. From Shakespeare to Art History, Drawing to Graphic Design, Set Design, Costume Design, etc… You name it, I wanted to be there and didn’t want to leave.

Thankfully, Mobile, Alabama was not what most people assume of being in the Deep South. It was rich with culture, color, music, history, diversity… “Country” hardly describes the city that nurtured my love for music, theatre, and art. When my mom took my brother and me to the local children’s theatre to audition for A Christmas Carol, we both were cast as “street urchins”, where we scurried across the stage during one musical number. The second I stepped foot onto the stage in costume, I finally felt right at home. I couldn’t wait to do the next show! And the next, and the next… I found out that all those years of trying to sing like various radio artists had paid off. No more singing only in the car or shower. It was game time. I dedicated most of my youth to learning how to sing like some of my musical idols, how to “move” well enough to get a part in musicals at local community theatres, and how to act like the leading ladies I dreamt of being one day. Thankfully, my mother was very supportive of my brother’s and my dreams. There wasn’t much of a theatre department at the local high school, so we moved to Orlando, FL to audition for the reputable Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Magnet School. After High School, I moved to NYC to study Musical Theatre at AMDA. Upon graduating, I went on to book work as a professional actor in regional theatres across the US. After completing one National tour and another International tour, I moved to LA to give “HOLLYWOOD” a try. The music scene had been hit hard in New York by the recession of 2008-09, and the west coast was calling me…

Flash forward to 2020, like any artist who goes after their dreams in a city like “La La Land”, I’ve grown a lot, developed a thicker hide, so to speak, and loved every second of it (even when I felt like moving to a remote island and disappearing from “main land” life). Today, I am thankful to say that I am a professional Singer, Songwriter, Vocal and Guitar Coach. I also enjoy teaching children the important skills to be a strong swimmer. Just before the Pandemic, I was playing out a lot in LA, a couple in Nashville, and most recently Auckland, New Zealand. Now that there are no live shows for the rest of the year, I am focusing on finishing my debut EP. I will be releasing my first ever Single by Fall. Like much of the artist community, I am hopeful and eager to get back out there and do what I love most— sing and connect with people for as long as possible.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Haha haha… Oh boy… I wouldn’t call it “Rough”, but definitely… yeah, I’ll call this journey so far, “Un-Smooth”, for lack of a better word LOL. Similarly, like a lot of artists (at least that I know of), most of the struggles along the way have been financial. Pepper the meager bank balance with working “survival jobs” that “PAC MANED” through what I’ve learned is extremely important when trying to realize your dreams… TIME. “Work Smarter not Harder” should really be emphasized in the early years of Education.

Another struggle was based solely on what it means to be a young woman in Hollywood. Self Image or focus on the “exterior” Is a realllll thannnggg… I’ve always been on the more “voluptuous” side, “Hour Glass” body type, “Bosomy” so to speak. After many workshops, self-help books, and learning to accept the fact that I will never be a size 0 or 2, is perfectly fine. This helped me to learn to love my body as God made me and to focus more on what really matters most in life… doing what you love and owning your story every page at a time.

Can you give our readers some background on your music?
To quote one of my favorites, “My role in society, or any artist’s or poet’s role, is to try and express what we ALL feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.”— John Lennon

I am a truth seeker, storyteller, singer, songwriter, and educator. What I’m most proud of as an artist is my resilience and work ethic. I don’t take No for an answer, and even though it’s been a “rocky road”, so to speak, I have sacrificed certain comforts in life, and continue to persevere in order to speak my truth and connect with community through art.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Immediate future plans are finishing up my debut EP and releasing it by the Fall.

My future, future plans involve developing up and coming artists through my label Falling West Records & production company Wicked West Music. WWM has been in the making for a long time now. It started when I realized that I have a great passion for helping to launch projects from young artists and playwrights I met along the way. I started producing/Co-writing new musicals and plays during my time as A New Yorker.

WWM specializes in developing artists’ material no matter how big the vision may be. I like to help flesh out the details acting as a bouncing board, so to speak. From there, the artist and I develop a cohesive plan to execute realistic goals during each stage of the creative development process. What sets WWM apart is that we believe no budget is too small to complete a project.

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PHOTOS BY: ALEX HUGGAN, AMANDA SHEPHERD, STEVEN MATTHEWS

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