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Meet Trailblazer Deanna Villarreal

Today we’d like to introduce you to Deanna Villarreal.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Deanna. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born in the SF Bay Area and moved to LA in 2017. I’ve always loved to sing and listen to music but never really thought about songwriting as an option or a career until I was in college. I loved writing, in general, and have written stories, poems, and articles my whole life, but it wasn’t until 2014 that I really decided to pursue singing and songwriting seriously. I started out slow, but once I moved to LA, I met some wonderful people and have been trying to climb my way to the top of the food chain one session, one demo at a time!

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?
It definitely hasn’t been easy. I’m currently an independent artist with no manager trying to navigate this industry. I think I’m kicking ass, so far! I’ve met some incredible co-writers along the way and found comfort and empowerment through a badass girl gang and music platform called Her Music Club. I’ve also connected with some powerful people through sheer luck and open-mindedness. I know everyone in LA seems so “woo-woo” but I can’t stress enough how mindset and manifestation has played a part in my wins.

My advice to any other women in this industry trying to make their way is to create your own opportunities. One thing I had a really hard time with was finding good producers to work with. That’s why I really want to learn. It makes you more valuable and you don’t have to rely on as many other people. Reach out to people you look up to… you’ll be surprised that a lot of them respond. Look for networking events near you. Find your PRO representative. Create or join a community of like-minded creators.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I write a lot of toplines for producers – where they send me tracks and I write and record a full song (melody and lyrics) on top of it. That’s where most of my success has been. I work most on EDM tracks but my true love is for R&B and pop. I will also have more standard sessions where we start from scratch. The producer will create a beat and the writers go to work. Sometimes, it’s a song to be pitched and sometimes, you’re in the room with the artist it will be for. No two days are the same, that’s for sure!

I think I make a great songwriter because everything about my life seems like it was preparing me to do this. I’ve been singing and making up melodies since before I could do about anything else. I grew up writing. A lot. I have a journalism degree and I like to think it makes me a bit of a wordsmith. I’m also incredibly empathetic which you really need in order to be a good writer (which is lucky for me because it makes almost everything else in life harder!). You also need to be a good listener. You’re hearing someone’s most personal stories (or revealing your own) and need to weave these moments into lyrics and melodies that transport the listener into that place or time.

Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
Definitely! I grew up with a really strong mom. I also really loved to learn and was good at school. I feel like that mixed with my natural personality made me super resilient and perseverant. You need to have this relentless grit if you’re going to pursue anything in entertainment. Not to mention, I was the first one in my family to go and graduate college. I guess I mostly just like proving people wrong. Everyone growing up always said it was nice that I wanted to be a singer but “it’s kind of a one in a million thing.” Someone’s gotta be that one, baby!

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Deanna Villarreal

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