As a struggling artist myself, I’m drawn to those stories of hardships. We all go through difficult times and to hear someone tell the story of their very personal journey makes us not feel so alone. In keeping in line with the mission of Music Emerging to provide emotional support and inspiration, I invite you to read the story of Los Angeles artist Poeina, and to check out her Kickstarter. You can support her dreams by making a donation or sharing her story!
“I remember hearing the story again and again about when I was a young girl my dad came running into my room looking for the bad guy because I was screaming my head off. In a panic, my dad sees me standing on my bed over excited. I proclaimed then that I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up and that I was going to be a singer. I knew as a child that it was my purpose and destiny to be a singer and performer. I didn’t take that responsibility lightly and struggled in my early years with what kind of influence I needed to be in the world.
I started training at age 3; then I was put on my first major label tour at age 17; with a band playing electric guitar and singing backup vocals. When I turned 18, I was sexually assaulted by two of the band mates, one of them being high on methamphetamines. On top of the stress of PTSD and falling into drugs and eating disorders, I felt like I was being pushed towards stardom in mainstream music. I was terrified that I was going to end up famous with nothing worthy to write about and I would end up over dosing on drugs. It was like I saw my future flash before me. I met a girl playing guitar on the sidewalk and I ran away to play in a band with her… I ran away from everything.
I traveled for years non-stop living amongst different cultures in the U.S. and listening to peoples stories and engaging in community everywhere I went. I had odd jobs between gigs and tours that I booked for myself and the bands I created. I volunteered, lived off the grid and even worked on farms in trade for food. When I was in the cities I did a lot of urban foraging and dumpster diving to supplement playing at coffee shops and bars for tips and meager wages. I battled from mental illness, lived in and out of cars and moved from place to place. I eventually lost all hope and realized I needed to stop running and face my nightmares.
I spent a couple years focused on healing while I worked as a teacher at a small private music school in Portland, OR. During this time I purged all my pain and suffering into a multimedia show of my original music that ended up with a 30+ cast and crew. The show was about losing all hope and survival through it all. Shortly after the production ended, I packed up my van and drove down to Los Angeles. I decided I had all the stories I needed and that it was time to submit to my destiny.
Los Angeles has been hard but I’ve been through plenty and knew I only needed to survive and eventually I would make my way. I have been homeless a few times in this city too, but thankfully there have been many angels who have taken me in and helped me grow through the struggles of pursuing my dream. The first year I was here I played seemingly endless shows to no one but the bartender and venue owners. I started playing open mics 4-5 times a week so that I could build my mailing list and meet new people. This led to many show opportunities, radio interviews, and a few tours on independent labels. I interned at a record label so I could decide if I would sign to a label or remain an independent artist.
I got a job making costumes and performance wear to help me stay afloat. This lead me to freelance costume work and eventually I became a celebrity costume designer. I was at a party and someone asked “what do you do?” To my reply, I said that I make costumes and I’m a designer. I am so grateful for the person who interrupted the conversation to say “don’t listen to her-she does do that but that’s not all she does. She is a musician, a singer and a songwriter.” Realizing I was losing my identity in this other world I started cleaning houses to refocus on my music again. Now I make costumes when I want to and mostly for myself and my band mates.
Today I remain an independent artist but now I have a whole team supporting me and working to elevate my talents. Through hard work and dedication my fan base is growing. I’ve made all the connections I need to release my upcoming album and go on a world tour with my all star band and management team. Finances still remain an issue for me as an artist even though I’m on the precipice of a huge breakthrough. I decided to use Kickstarter and the support of my friends, family and fans to help get me to the next level. I need to finish 3 tracks, my music video and have a little money for rebranding and marketing. From there my team will be able to submit my press kit to a handful of investors who have shown interest in my story. They will also be able to hand off my kit to the booking agents and promoters who are waiting to book me worldwide. When I can cross this kickstarter line my whole life will shift into studio sessions, rehearsals, and preparing my show for the road! The Revolution of Roses is live on Kickstarter and you can donate as little as $1 to help my dreams come true. Thank you for reading my story and you can find more information about the ROR tour and my incredible team on my kickstarter page”. ~POEINA
Donate to Poeina’s Kickstarter campaign
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