Cynthia Brando is nothing if not determined.
“Resourceful” comes to mind too when considering the various moves that the independent-minded singer-songwriter has made to stay afloat since moving to LA in late 2013. By that time the small town Northern California native, who started performing in coffeehouses and clubs at age 17, had already conquered a 10-year bout of stage fright (an experience she later blogged about on her website, cynthiabrando.com). Once she decided to brave LA’s sprawling music scene and discovered songwriter-friendly gigs were in short supply, she set about creating opportunity when none could be found.
In relatively short order Brando launched an arty house concert series, hosting other striving artists. She became a familiar presence in the local acoustic community, performing her melodic folk songs at the Coffee Gallery Backstage, Matt Denny’s, the Eclectic Fest, and Wine & Song. She also started busking — a prospect that initially intimidated her — outside restaurants, shops and galleries in South Bay beach communities, LA and Joshua Tree. She juggled multiple day jobs and even went back to school so she could more dependably support her music. She currently hosts her Music Emerging series the third Friday of each month at the Copper Still inside Jaragua in East Hollywood. She released a handful of singles and, in 2016, an EP whose title seems to reflect her philosophy of how to live: “In the Here and Now.”
Onstage, Brando cuts a personable figure with her taste for vintage dresses, homemade earrings and self-deprecating humor; her alto is equal parts silk and Stevie Nicks. Those qualities imbue “The Treehouse Trio Sessions,” the recently completed the full-length album she has long wanted to make, recorded with producer/guitarist Ed Tree at his San Gabriel studio. Come Saturday, she will celebrate by performing it in its 11-song entirety (and, hopefully, a few older tunes such as “Across the Water”) with Tree and bassist Hank Van Sickle at Old Oak Cellars. Then it will be time to pack up for a six-state promotional tour across the West — another item checked off an evolving to-do list. n
Cynthia Brando celebrates the release of “The Treehouse Trio Sessions” 2-6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 26, at Old Oak Cellars, 2620 E. Foothill Blvd., Ste. D, Pasadena; $17 (includes copy of album). A percentage of wine purchased at the winery will benefit MusiCares. Event is potluck so please bring something to share. Tickets: eventbrite.ca/e/cynthia-brando-cd-release-party-tickets-45844283486. For more details, go to cynthiabrando.com/the-treehouse-trio-sessions.