Brando performs Saturday at the Moscow Farmers Market and next Thursday at Rooster’s in Clarkston. Stage fright is something she’s learned to get over by now, but entertaining isn’t the only way Brando is creating a place for herself in the music industry. Over a cup of tea, 360 caught up with her to find out more:
360: Musicians usually hate being put into a genre, but humor us — how would you describe your musical style?
Brando: I describe my music as Americana because it is a mix of rock, blues, folk and country. But the typical Americana market is mostly artists that don’t sound like me. So I say “singer-songwriter” and I throw in Americana too.
360: What are some of the things besides performing that you’re doing to promote yourself and your work?
Brando: I like to perform, but ultimately I need to make money, so I’ve been pursuing film and TV licensing. You can get royalties through that, but I’m also interested in having another band or artist cover one of my songs. I usually start with artists that are up and coming, so that’s who I talk to. The music industry is very cloistered — you can’t just walk up to a studio, you have to know people. But once they record your song, you get royalties for life.
360: So it sounds like you’d be just as happy making music off the stage as on it. Is that right?
Brando: I really enjoy writing. I think that’s why I got into music, because I like writing so much. Being a performer is probably the least important thing to me. I want performing to be an enjoyable thing, and I want the work thing to be writing. I’d love to write for other people, I’d love to write a song for someone famous. For me, I get a lot of pleasure singing in my living room, I don’t have to be on stage.
360: But right now you’re doing more than just making music and hoping someone picks it up; you’re working on some other creative endeavors in the music world. Tell us what else you’re up to in addition to your day job and music writing.
Brando: Well, I started a music magazine (see inset photo). I’m interviewing people in L.A. and that has been getting me some connections. I write a blog about my experiences in the music industry, so I include that. It’s called “Music Emerging,” it’s print and online at musicemerging.com. It’s quarterly, so the first issue just came out.
360: What’s involved with producing the magazine? Do you do it all yourself?
Brando: Eventually I need help, but the first issue I did all the articles — and there are several articles in there. I took all the pictures too. Eventually I want to get advertising. And I designed it — I had to learn how to format a magazine, which was difficult. There’s a huge social media aspect to it too. I got the domain name, I got the YouTube channel, I got the Instagram. There’s Facebook and Twitter, too. I post on all those things.
360: You picked up a guitar and started singing when you were in high school, but you didn’t decide to pursue music as a career until years later. What finally made you do it?
Brando: Sometimes you hear stories of people who always wanted to do something and didn’t do anything about it. I didn’t want to be one of those people. Maybe I’m not making money at it yet, but I am doing music, so I feel a satisfaction in that.
If you go:
What: Cynthia Brando
When and Where: 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Moscow Farmers Market in Moscow, 6:30 to 9 p.m. next Thursday at Rooster’s WaterFront Restaurant in Clarkston