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Inspiring Stories from The Valley

The heart of our mission at VoyageLA is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In recent weeks we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of West LA’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble-rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool.  Check out The Valley’s rising stars below.

Hans Cardenas

Being born and raised in Los Angeles, I grew up listening to a variety of music. As a kid, I remember my mom playing cumbias from El Salvador on the radio while she cooked. The rhythms were easy to move to and the songs always spread good vibes around the house. Read more>>

Adwin Brown

I’m originally from Tampa, Florida and to be completely honest, I spent the majority of my childhood as a very timid kid. It wasn’t until around 4th or 5th grade when I really started to break out of my shell, and I must admit I’m not exactly sure what that catalyst was. Read more>>

Kevin Wallace

I arrived in Los Angeles in 1978 with guitar in hand. I was still in my teens and like so many who come to Hollywood with dreams, I was ready to be a rock star. While playing local clubs and recording songs, I found my music didn’t fit in an industry that had moved on to the likes of a more increasingly commercial electronic-Pop-MTV. Read more>>

Maneen Tattoo

I sat straddling that familiar white chair inside of Silverlake Tattoo, gripping the bars of its backrest, my body tightly flexed, one degree away from breaking a sweat, my face in a grimace, as the liner needle dragged across the flesh of my back. Braaaappp. Red’s tattoo machine always sounded so aggressive. Read more>>

David Navarro

As far back as I could remember, I always wanted to be a writer, not a screenwriter but a novelist; well actually a poet; I even wrote a book and recorded it for audio, but obviously that didn’t pan out. Growing up in the San Fernando Valley filmmaking was everywhere. Read more>>

David Gutel

I have always been a storyteller since I was a young idiot. I never realized I would someday be able to make a living from it. I am from Orange County CA, where I attended Huntington Beach High School. That is where it all really started. I was part of an after school arts program called The Academy of the Performing Arts (APA). Read more>>

Greg Perrow

I came to Los Angeles 9 years ago with a passion for acting. My roommate and I started out in the southeast as actors and still had representation there when we moved to LA. Since we had to continuously put ourselves on tape (actors do this for out of town auditions), we decided to invest in a decent camera to film ourselves. Read more>>

Nikolai Guzov

I came to United States in January of 1996 and started to work for a small tech company because I didn’t know anyone in the acting community or the Movie Industry. Soon after I came to Los Angeles, I met Gorge Shdanoff and we became friends, He was an actor and an acting teacher in Hollywood. Read more>>

Danielle Jai Watson

My story of how I went from a DC born, LA-based professional dancer, touring the world – to opening a performing arts school in Compton with my husband – to writing three books about pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum care – having two home births 15 months apart (not planned btw). Read more>>

Heather Euting

I started in the hair industry with women hair with my Cosmetology license. Working in a salon, I always gravitated towards men’s cuts. Any male walk in that would come in and nobody else would want, I would I jump at it. The technicality, precision. Read more>>

Brandon Curiel

I was born in Yonkers in New York City. I moved to Miami and went to middle school out there. I went to high school in Orlando and played for the baseball team. After high school, I got into cutting hair in the barbershop which led me into moving to California where I started cutting artists and etc. Read more>>

Jenn Levin

I was a skeptic. I didn’t think hypnosis would work but was desperate for change. I was working in a demanding, fast pace job producing a weekly talk show and would find myself typing up scripts while cracking my jaw non-stop. It was embarrassing, unhealthy and so frustrating. Read more>>

Carey Appel

My love for the tiny world started when I was five. I would design dollhouses all day and lose track of time. As an avid miniature collector, I’d pick up miniature accessories wherever I traveled. As a young adult, my dream was to craft a miniature old French farmhouse. Read more>>

Lys Perez

My story begins as a little kid from all those LA County cities off the 5 Freeway Valley View Exit who would sing-a-long, dance, and repeat every single word of a movie at random. My family reeeeaaaaalllllly loved that. In fact, I just saw them at a holiday party where they told me how annoying I used to be. Read more>>

Deveon Zackery

I was raised in a very small city in Rosston, Arkansas. I really gravitated towards sports at an early age, my first love was basketball. After several years of knowledge and pop culture intake I started to realize how much I loved music and how much of an impact it was having on my young adolescent life. Read more>>

Arthur Jensen

Ever since I was young I would always draw, color, and create all kinds of art, but I hadn’t pushed myself. I really started expanding my skills and honing in on my artistic style during my junior year of high school. After drawing and experimenting with colored pencils for a while, I really wanted to see what else I could do. Read more>>

Arrietta van der Voort

I’ve always been interested in visual art — my mom is an art historian, so I was encouraged to be creative growing up. Even though I was more interested in acting at the time, I took a darkroom class my senior year of high school. It wasn’t anything I was that serious about, but I thought it would be fun. Read more>>

Lucy Lawrence

I learned how to play the bass out of spite. A boy in elementary school was bragging about how he was the only bass player in school and I had to show him up. I never really did anything with it aside from learn a few bass lines from Johnny Cash songs to play with my brother at my parent’s house. Read more>>

Brittney Murray

I’m from San Diego, California. I grew up in a military officer household so the importance of hard work was instilled in me at a young age. I graduated from San Diego State University and relocated to Los Angeles shortly after college in 2010. When I started out in LA, I had gotten a job at a Bollywood film company (Entertainment is my background). Read more>>

Justin Coleman

I was born in Los Angeles, and fortunate to be raised very supportive parents. As a kid, I always had a huge imagination and loved being creative. Still today, I am very intellectually curious and love learning new things and questioning why things are the way they are. However, in my career journey I chose more practical options. Read more>>

Jeffrey Donovan

The Guitar & Whiskey Club was founded in 2016. Initially, we started playing small clubs in the Valley (such as Paladinos), playing perhaps once a month for the next year. In 2017 we finalized the band lineup and started gigging more frequently and also started playing bigger venues. Read more>>

Rachanee Lumayno

When I first came to Los Angeles, I thought I would keep pursuing my singer/songwriter career. I had spent several years (prior to moving) developing a musical career and had been playing 150-200 dates a year around the United States. The music scene in LA was very different than how I had experienced it in the other parts of the country. Read more>>

Christina Heller

I’ve been working as an entrepreneur in production since my early 20’s, beginning with radio, moving to TV journalism and then documentaries. After a decade of wearing many production hats in these traditional industries, I become increasingly interested in the future of content production. Read more>>

Tia Brisco

If you would have asked me what I wanted to do when I was little and even in high school, I would have told you that I wanted to be a singer or actress. My dad has been a musician my whole life, and met my mom at a concert, where she was directing a choir. Read more>>

Jordan Leach

I started writing at the age of six with family members whom already worked in media. Over the years, I dabbled in music, choir and theater productions. Come high school, my transition into film was complete as I cultivated the first film program at my school, which has since flourished. Read more>>

David Rose

My love for photography started when I was 16—I got my first camera as a hand-me-down from an older brother, an entry-level DSLR Canon Rebel XT, and started capturing anything and everything that came across my path. That camera was essentially glued to my hand. Read more>>

Nia Miranda

Raised in Detroit, MI I always had big aspirations. As a little girl, I had dreams of being an entertainment star and a business mogul. I started acting and singing at the age of three and had my first business at the age of seven “Shortcakes by Nia”. I don’t know a life without the influence of God. Read more>>

David Zuckerman

I’ve always had a great love and affinity for the art of filmmaking. Growing up in Fairbanks, Alaska, however, didn’t give me many film opportunities. It took a big leap and a jump to leave home and head down south. Like many of us out here, I went to film school to learn the trade. Read more>>

Byron L. Hopkins

I guess you can say I got “started” when I was a child. I was always an entertainer and an energetic kid. Let my mother tell it I was the class clown from birth to now. The one thing I loved was muting a TV show or cartoon and seeing if I could match the voices. My favorite was anything Robin Williams was on. Read more>>

Brian Balke

Born at the beginning of the Decade of Love and coming of age with Mutually Assured Destruction, Vietnam and the first Oil Shock, I realized that there was a huge gap between “I love you” and how people behaved. My response, at age 16, was to put love in the center of my intellectual universe. Read more>>

Natalie London and Taylor Plecity

I (Natalie) was in the midst of a flourishing music career when I contracted Lyme, Babesia, and Bartonella, a life-threatening illness that left me bedridden for over three years. I lost the ability to walk, talk, read and write, but spent years regaining those skills and the ability to play music again. Read more>>

Melanie Garibay

Nectar of The Dogs Wine was established in 2015 by Melanie Garibay and Donna Graves, two friends with an entrepreneurial spirit, a deep connection to their dogs and a love for wine. The idea was to create elegant, easy drinking wine that everyone could enjoy. Read more>>

Wren Wilder

I come from a household that danced, nurtured, and praised good music. My parents built a music room and filled it with instruments that inspired us. Everything we did was somehow incorporated to song and I never questioned it, so it became part of me. Read more>>

Mychal-Bella Bowman

I started modeling/acting/philanthropy at the tender age of 2 for an educational international print campaign that advocates for literacy, which lead me to my first national commercial for Disney. Now, this was a kid’s ultimate dream… Disney! And from that the rest was history. Read more>>

Vinny Golia

I grew up in the Bronx, my dad worked at the Bronx Zoo and occasionally did extra work at Yankee Stadium in the fall, later in New Jersey he had second jobs with the Post Office and various gas stations (he was a mechanic). My mother worked as an Accountant and Bookkeeper for A & P. Read more>>

Jeanette Schock

I was born and raised in Germany. I moved to Jacksonville, Florida for most of my schooling, and recently moved to Los Angeles to pursue my passion for acting. I have never considered myself a southern girl until I got a taste of the west coast. I’ll start by saying that I come from a great city. Read more>>

Menachem Silverstein

I was born in Brooklyn, NY, and raised in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. As a kid, I always dreamed of being a standup comedian and screenwriter but never imagined pulling it off as a religious Jew. Once I got a little older, I started going to open mics and writing scripts in my free time. Read more>>

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