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No Place Like LA: Cynthia found her voice and community in Los Angeles




KPCC listener and musician Cynthia Brando busks on the shoreline of Los Angeles.
KPCC listener and musician Cynthia Brando busks on the shoreline of Los Angeles.
Cynthia Brando

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No Place Like L.A. is our series that asks L.A. transplants and immigrants: "When was the moment you felt that Los Angeles was truly home?"

This is the story of Cynthia Brando from Atwater Village.

I moved here four years ago from Northern California.

I thought about moving here to Los Angeles to pursue music. I was kind of scared because I wasn't familiar with Los Angeles.

When I told friends up north that I was moving to Los Angeles, a lot of them were nice and supportive about it, but I could see the look on their faces. They were like contorted and pained.

A lot of the things that they would say were that, "They're snobby. Everyone there is egotistical."

I never heard any positives about Los Angeles. Like, at all.

But I wanted to keep an open mind about it because I wanted to do music and I knew this was the perfect place for that.

I came down in my Jeep, I sold a lot of my belongings, and I had a cat and I came down here.

My experience in these last four years has just been incredible.

A lot of people were super supportive that I was a musician. They welcomed me with open arms.

But after a couple years here, I was still calling Northern California home. 

I had a friend in North California that I was talking to and she said, "How can I stand living down here? It's so crowded and ugly, and how I can stand the people down here, they're so fake?"

It really upset me because I wasn't having that experience.

I hung up the phone with her, and then I put this Facebook post out thanking everyone for their support.

I got this overwhelming response saying that I'm such an asset to the community and they love my music – just all this support.

It was that very day that the words from that experience inspired me to write a song about my love for L.A. called, "Oh, L.A."

It was that moment that I said, "Okay. This is my new home and I just need to own that and start referring to Los Angeles as my home now.

TELL US YOUR OWN STORY, TOO. IF YOU'RE A TRANSPLANT OR IMMIGRANT, WHAT WAS THE MOMENT WHERE YOU THOUGHT TO YOURSELF, "L.A. FEELS LIKE HOME, NOW?"