We had the good fortune of connecting with Moana Avvenenti and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Moana, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I find it incredibly challenging to manage a healthy work/life balance in the music industry, because both areas overlap so often. Many of my friends are also musicians, so we talk about work when we hang out. Networking is such a big part of this career that when I meet other professionals through work, we often end up becoming friends. There’s no clear line that defines when I’m networking or just talking to friends. Working with my boyfriend makes this distinction even blurrier on a daily basis. Secondly, inspiration needs to be nurtured by doing non-work activities, which sometimes leads to me planning distractions, specifically so that it helps inspire my work, which is partially killing the purpose. I still enjoy playing and listening to music, or seeing live shows, but in the back of my head, there’s always a part of me analyzing what I’m hearing, and taking me back to my mental to-do list, so “recreational” music has lost a bit of its potency as my source of relaxation. And in 2021, people seem to expect musicians to be available 24/7, with no clear boundaries of work-hours or business days. It’s a mess, but it allows for some flexibility sometimes, as a trade off.
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.
I am a singer/songwriter/teacher. I make my own music as an artist, but I also topline for other’s projects. I try to stay versatile so I can make all sorts of music. Growing up in the Caribbean, exposed me to many styles, helped with that. I love hearing my music on TV and in ads. I recently heard my song “She Is Fire” on Lucifer on Netflix and it gave me goosebumps. The music industry is constantly evolving, which is what makes it both challenging and interesting. It’s hard to get bored in this business. But it’s also nearly impossible to keep up. Between staying up to date with what sounds current, which platforms are hot, algorithm updates, visual formats, and new revenue streams, musicians have to spend hours doing research and wearing so many hats these days. It doesn’t leave a lot of time to creating great music, which is extremely unfortunate. I think the best ways do this right is to either have a team in charge of “the business stuff,” or to join artists groups to have regular discussions about recent music industry topics. A strong community is crucial.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would first drive up the PCH to show them Malibu, take a hike somewhere in the Santa Monica mountains, have lunch at Malibu Farm, and watch the sunset, dolphins, and whales from Point Dume. We’d check out refill, no-waste stores on the East side, and rent pedal boats at Echo Park lake, with the view of Downtown. We’d eat avo toasts and poke bowls, probably on Abbot Kinney in Venice. Then rent bikes or roller blades and ride from the Venice boardwalk to the Santa Monica Pier. We’d probably take a Ferris wheel ride there. At night, we would go see comedy shows in Hollywood, and check out music venues all over the city, like Hotel Cafe and The Mint. We’d eat a quiche at Republic of Pie in Noho. We’d walk through art galleries in the Downtown Arts District, then get drinks at the Perch, for a view of the city from the top. Lastly, we’d visit some museums, like The Broad or LACMA. Oh and probably a full moon night-hike in Franklin canyon.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I dedicate my shout out to Ananda Dhar-James, who makes my life infinitely easier at every level. He’s such a talented, patient, encouraging, and effective producer. He teaches me skills along the way, so I feel like I become better when we work together. Working with him really raised my standards. I’m extra lucky because he’s a great boyfriend, too.
photos by Ananda Dhar-James