Brenda Barboni Interview

Brenda Barboni is an aspiring singer/songwriter in Los Angeles. She fronted "Syren," a heavy metal group whose track "Danger." can be heard on the L.P. "California's Best Metal" (New Renaissance Records). Brenda happens to be a native Syracusan, who hitchhiked to the West Coast when she was just 19. What's it like to seek fame and fortune in Hollywood? Brenda fills us in.

Q. When you left Syracuse did you have an idea of how you would succeed in the music business?
A. When 1 left Syracuse; all I wanted was to find a band to sing with. I couldn't find a band in Syracuse that wanted a female singer. I played top 40 clubs for 10 years to make a living and to get experience on stage. I never thought I was good enough to do originals. We all have our idols, and they were so great my voice couldn't match, in the past 2 years,  I finally got the confidence to try originals It got too hard to play , ,,the heavy songs in the clubs. I guess the idea of 'making it' is different for each person. I've given up marriage and having a family for this business. I love to sing so much it's in my soul, and if I can't sing, it's like a death sentence. If I can't play the big arenas, I'll return to the Top 40 clubs. As long as I can still reach out to people and turn them on and maybe even change their lives in a small way, then I've made it in the business. That's the whole reason behind the idea of music, to reach out and make people think in a different light, to reach their minds, and touch their souls.

Q. Did L.A. live up to your expectations?
A. When I left Syracuse; I had a choice of New York City or Los Angeles. I didn't know much about L.A. But, I had been to New York many times and knew I would live a shorter life. So, I went to L.A. I really didn't know what to expect, a lot of sunshine, beaches But, I didn't expect it to be so spread out.

Q. What got you into singing?
A. I guess you could say it was my father's fault. He used to encourage me to sing along to the sound of music and Frank Sinatra records. When company would come over, he would make me sing for them. Not only me. but my sisters and my brother Rob, who also plays guitar in a Syracuse band.

Q. Do you remember the names of the musicians in your first Syracuse band?
A. I'm ashamed to say that I don't even remember. If any of you know that answer, please tell me. Michael was on bass and Les on piano; that's all I remember.

Q. How difficult is it, to get record industry people to see your band?
A. If your band is good, people will talk. It's called creating a buzz, and the record people as well as well-known bands will come to check you out. Some of the industry make the I rounds of clubs just to see what's happening. But, getting signed really means nothing. If you don't sign a great deal I and get the promotion you need to sell records, you could be left out on the shelf. This has happened to a few Syracuse bands.

Q. What is the progress report on your new group "Man-ta"?
A. Manta is almost together now with the exception of a drummer. We are building a studio to rehearse in. It costs $300-$400 a month to rent a place and most people will call the police if you use a private home. The songs are a little more commercial, but they are great songs. I'm very excited about this new project. As soon as we get a drummer, we will be back in the studio and also we will be showcasing for, management, financial backers, and hopefully record people.

Q. What advice would you give someone who would like to pursue a singing career in L.A.?
A. Three things that come to mind are money, a car, and a good trade. Have enough money for three or four months until you get a job, and some kind of transportation even if it's a bicycle. Everything is so spread out it's hard to get around. Phone calls are expensive as well as food and lodging. Learn some other kind of trade besides music, that pays more than minimum wage. Most original bands have to pay to play out here and they put up their own money for advertising and pictures, and they have to sell tickets to their shows. Some of the lucky bands have financial backing. It's hard to make it here, especially for female musicians, but don't give up. It can happen.

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