We had the good fortune of connecting with Cristina Vane and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cristina, how do you think about risk?
I think taking risks is an inherent part of pursuing your dream career. The fact that I am a musician, which is an especially nebulous career in some ways, delayed my fully committing to it. I guess it’s a personal decision when you weigh those risks, but, for example, I wanted to drop out of college to start my music career earlier. That was a risk I didn’t feel comfortable taking at the time. I got better at taking them, though. When I did my first 5 month tour around the country, I was alone, and relying on the kindness of fans mostly from the internet. I took many risks that summer, and they all enhanced my experience. Every time I went out to the Venice boardwalk to busk, I was taking a smaller risk, but a risk nonetheless. In fact, every gig was somewhat of a risk, especially when I hadn’t fully developed my sound, my band, or my vision. As those things have gotten honed in, I feel like it’s a matter of minimizing the risks during a live show so that you can take other ones (wardrobe risks, dancing around on stage, whatever dialogue happens between songs). When I first started trying to figure out what drew people to certain performers, it seems that in many cases, audiences are drawn to performers who take big risks that express their identity or their music, unapologetically. That’s a very valuable risk. And then, there are the risks I still don’t want to take- playing shows during a pandemic and possibly getting my band/the audience/myself sick just isn’t something I am willing to do. Risks are so personal, but I am pretty sure everyone will have to weigh out some risks to get ahead in their sector.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have always been a music lover and maker- I sang to myself as a baby, took up the piano in primary school, sang in choirs most of my life, and started writing original music in high school. It was not easy to make the leap to commit to music as a career- I went to university and thought that careers were more stable, usually. But I couldn’t help but realize that music was one of the only things that didn’t get old, that consistently uplifted me, and that I was good at it. I’ve learned that one of the hardest things (probably in any career field) is not comparing yourself to others. In music it is especially true, since there is no concrete roadmap to success in this field. People have wildly varying approaches to being artists, which makes it seem impossible to know how to crack the code. It sounds so cheesy, but being yourself is the easiest thing one can do, in my opinion, to stand out. I’d like the world to know that I have always loved music, but I haven’t always been so sure I was on the right path. I thought I could be a million other things that were less risky than music, but I decided to go with the thing that made me feel a sense of fullness. That’s different for everyone, but it feels good to be pursuing what I want to be doing all the time anyway.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
For LA, I would definitely take them to Venice, where I spent four years. A nice skate down the boardwalk and a walk down to the marina would be a must do. I love diners, and even though my favorite westside diners (Cafe 50s and Swingers) closed, there is Mels and Swingers in Hollywood. I would take them to echo park and drive up those crazy steep hills to get a view of the city. I would take them to the botanical gardens (there are several), even though a walk through east Venice is succulent heaven. I love thrifting and the Goodwills in Santa Monica are great. Going up to the PCH would be another must do, camping in Rose Valley (Ojai) and then stopping for a breakfast burrito in Malibu at Country Kitchen is the dream. I love La Cabaña on Rose and Lincoln for a great Mexican restaurant experience, but obviously, the food trucks right next door are equally important to try.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
One of the biggest people to influence my career has been Pete Steinberg, my guitar mentor, and many other folks I worked with at McCabe’s guitar shop when I lived in Los Angeles. It was a really formative time for me, as I was just discovering delta and country blues, and having someone like Pete believe so strongly in my abilities and my passion that he taught me for free for years, gave me a sense of confidence in myself that I have never lost. He also genuinely taught me great guitar picking. My family is the other group of people that I am lucky enough to have supported me- my father, especially, who gifted me my first recording session, has been one of my biggest cheerleaders. Weirdly, the last group that I think has been really important in my growth is Instagram! Not the company itself, obviously, but the people on there who have followed me for years and consistently been kind, supportive, and helpful wherever they can. It really has given me an extra sense of empowerment and when I’ve been low, having the support of a bunch of strangers who have nothing to gain from me has been oddly comforting.
Aleksandra Zagozda, Alex Skelton, Colin Klein, Josh Loney