We had the good fortune of connecting with Amber Navran and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amber, do you have any habits that you feel contribute to your effectiveness?
– setting deadlines – asking for help
– working through fear
– doing things you don’t think you’re capable of
– goal setting
– self forgiveness
– taking intentional time to rest and refuel
– supporting your peers
– finding a community of people in the same position and talking through your experiences together
– journal often
– finding ways to quiet the inner critic and trust your own judgement
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My first love was saxophone. I fell in love with jazz in high school and decided to study music in college. There I discovered neo soul for the first time and felt “this is the music I’ve been looking for.” That has led me into a path of singing, songwriting, and producing, and is how my band came to form. Max Bryk, Andris Mattson, and I formed Moonchild in 2012. We bonded over our mutual love of jazz, neo soul, and production. Over the last nine years we’ve released 4 albums (the 5th will be out this year), been able to tour the world, and open for or meet many of the people we look up to.
When the band started I was working at a bakery and teaching music lessons through five different companies after my bakery shifts, Once I got done teaching I’d come home and work on our music. For our band it’s been a slow build. Each album release has brought new opening opportunities, helped us reach new fans, allowed us to work fewer day jobs, and given us the opportunity to form relationships with the people we look up to. The biggest lesson we’ve taken away from our journey has been that time and persistence pays off. If we looked at our success after the first album and thought “is this a career?” the answer would’ve been no – but 9 years later the answer is yes.
The second biggest takeaway has been – you don’t need as much money, skill, or time as you think you do. We recorded our first album on used and borrowed gear, two hours at a time after work, learning how to use the recording software as we went. Even though we’ve been doing it for 9 years now, we still learn something new every album cycle. It could be new shortcuts in logic, a new instrument, a new plugin, a new vocal technique, a new artist or song to be inspired by – constant learning comes with the territory so why wait until you feel ready or perfectly qualified to release music?
Personally the biggest things that have helped me are practicing gratitude, having a community to turn to for advice, finding ways to quiet your fear/doubts/inner critic, and setting deadlines. It’s so easy to work and rework and rework a song, so setting deadlines has been a way for us to let go and put music out consistently. Releasing albums has been the biggest propeller for us, so finding ways to let go has been crucial.
Finding a good team has been crucial for us as well. Our manager Daniel Kellner has done so much for us it’s hard to put into words. I don’t know where the band would be without his hard work, encouragement, advice, and friendship. He connected us with our booking agents Megan White and Kevin Jergenson, our amazing publicist Nina Lee, and our label awesome Tru Thoughts. All of these people have helped us grow and level up in ways we couldn’t have done alone, and they’ve been incredibly kind and supportive along the way!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Day 1. Lucky Boy breakfast burritos, Huntington Gardens, Twinkle Brown Sugar Boba, Shin Sen Gumi ramen for dinner Day 2. Fashion district downtown, Grand Central market for lunch, LA library, Eat Drink Americano for jazz and dinner, Bae ice cream for dessert, Angel City Brewery for drinks
Day 3. Santa Monica promanade for shopping, Urth Caffe for lunch, Manhattan beach chill time and drinks, Kogi for dinner
Day 4. Griffith park hike, shopping on Melrose, dinner theater at Rockwell Table and Stage
Day 5. simply wholesome for lunch, korean BBQ for dinner, show at the Troubadour
Day 6. Coffee at bloom and plume, walk around echo park lake, lunch a Sage, walk around silverlake, drinks and live music at thirsty crow, dancing at funky sole
Day 7. Kumquat coffee, walk around highland park, spend the rest of the day at Getty Center, Taco Zone for dinner Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to dedicate my shout out to Kashif Norville. From the first time we met at Art of Cool Fest in Duhram he has been a huge source of support, encouragement, and mentorship for me. He’s encouraged me to produce and given me so many incredible opportunities. As a woman in the music industry, when you walk into most situations you can expect to be underestimated and have to prove your capabilities. Working with Kash was the first time I felt over estimated. It helped me believe in myself and showed me what I was capable of.
Instagram: @thisismoonchild @amber.jeanne