We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda Tran and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amanda, what do you attribute your success to?
Success is a weird word to me. As a creative, I am always trying to one-up myself and I’m always my biggest critic; I’m sure many fellow creatives can relate. The endless cycle of creating and releasing can be exhausting and scary when you’re constantly trying to be better than the last time. At the end of the day, I remind myself that art will always be subjective and as long as it feels authentic to me, that’s all that matters.
That all being said, the most important factor behind my “success” is my openness to learning and collaboration. I am able to produce and release music and other creative projects independently because of the culmination of my work and experiences in and out of the industry. Not being afraid to fully immerse myself into something new and foreign has only presented new opportunities, networks and allowed me to make informed decisions on how I want to continually evolve my career. Learning from and working with others that are gurus in their field has made me a better and more productive creator because I can focus on what truly brings me joy, and leave the rest up to my expert creative friends and cohorts!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Humans are multifaceted beings. It has always been difficult to “profile” myself as one thing, and coming to terms with identifying as an artist and a creative has been so freeing.
As an artist (A-Tran & In the Mourning), I write and sing songs that are inspired and influenced by the most vulnerable emotions and experiences that I live through in life. This form of expression has proved to be therapeutic in processing my darkest moments into a piece of art that I can be proud of. My songs also serve as a time capsule of my life at the time; something that I can look back and reflect on. It is a bonus that I have the privilege to share this work with others who may be going through similar things. Music is the most beautiful form of human communication and I think it is beyond cool that I am able to make, consume and live it.
My biggest obstacle in pursuing music is honestly myself. Working behind the scenes all my life has shown me what it takes to “make it.” But what does “make it” even mean again? (please refer back to my whole “what is success” rant, haha) The music industry was not built for an Asian American woman, let alone one that creates music that would be categorized as “alternative” in any sense. Being the realist that I am, I used to be the first one that would rule myself out of the “music game” because no one who looked like me was doing what I was doing. That never stopped me from making music, it just stopped me from pursuing a career out of it and dreaming bigger. As I continue to grow into myself as a person and artist, I become more and more comfortable with being my own #1 fan. When you believe in yourself and what you are doing 110%, I truly believe that only good things will follow. Why rule yourself out if all the external societal factors already are? Just do you, boo!
The only thing that brings me more joy than creating, is creating with others. Being able to produce creative projects and help others bring their projects to life is a top tier feeling! I believe in taking a holistic approach to everything in life. If you can strategically take into consideration the environmental, cultural and logistical aspects of whatever challenge you have at hand, a quality product is the only logical outcome. Evolving “A-Tran Projects” as my creative business has been one of the most fulfilling professional endeavors for me to date!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
As cliche as it sounds, one of my favorite spots in Los Angeles is Griffith Park. It holds a lot of special personal meaning to me, and that view of the city is unbeatable (especially at night!).
The food itinerary will most definitely be packed. We’ll have to hit up K-Town for Korean BBQ, all the taco stands, Monty’s (the most amazing vegan burger spot, get the “50/50 Dog Pile,” you will not regret it!), the family owned donut shop down the street, a couple pounds of crawfish (crayfish? lol) from Boiling Crab, an iced double dirty chai latte with oat milk from Aroma cafe, and a Double Double Animal Style from In-N-Out to top it all off (obviously). Pro tip: any of these meals will taste ten times better at our Zuma beach picnic. There’s also a 100% chance that I will order sushi at some point.
Crate digging at all the vinyl shops and thrifting will also be a must!
And if you happen to be a theme park person, best believe we are leaving the house at 7am to hit up Disneyland and/or Six Flags!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to shout out the greater a cappella community (yeah, like the a cappella you saw in “Pitch Perfect” haha)! My favorite thing about singing a cappella in college and professionally is the people that I got to work with and meet, and all the professional opportunities that followed suit. These are some of the most talented and kind people in and out of the music industry. Because of a cappella, I released albums, learned how to produce vocals, produced/directed and styled music videos, booked a tour, went on tour, met some of the best music producers in the game, and most importantly, cultivated lifelong friendships.
Instagram: amandatranrocks / inthemourningla / atranprojects
Twitter: amandatranrocks / inthemourningla
Facebook: atranmusic / inthemourningla
Youtube: In the Mourning: https://www.youtube.com/
Photos by Michel Fuller, Meara Cummings, Sanae Kato, Tory Stolper