My name's Amanda Van West, and instead of pursuing a doctorate (which would make for the most badass villain name, Dr. Van West), I've been working in the crazy, exciting, disruptive world of startups and entertainment for over 9 years.
As the first US hire for Sounds app, I'm currently managing a global community of 10m+ devout music fans, spearheading all of our creative marketing initiatives, and developing artist relationships.
Outside of my day job, I manage an indie pop band from NY called The City and Horses, and run a private networking group called Artist Managers Connect (which has organically to over 4k members).
Prior to this I spent nearly 5 years at a music tech startup in San Francisco called Applauze. I came in as an unpaid intern, the company's first hire, and finished as the most senior woman in the company, singlehandedly running our music discovery app Band of the Day as Head of Music. I'd like to think that my geeky inner 17 year-old Strokes fangirl would be proud.
It was an incredible learning experience, peppered with a heavy hand of surreal moments like judging a Battle of the Bands competition in the Bahamas, speaking on a music tech panel in Spain, and having to turn away an angry and very inebriated one-eyed, 3'8" rapper at one of our epic SXSW house parties...
THE LONDON & HIGHER EDUCATION YEARS
Before joining Applauze, I was living in London from 2009-2010 while pursuing an MA degree in International Broadcast Journalism at Westminster University. I first fell in love with that city after spending a semester abroad at Regent's College in 2007. I remember hearing bands like Babyshambles and Pulp playing at stores like Harrod's, whereas in California (where I was born and raised), these were considered to be obscure Brit Pop bands.
In between these two stints in London, I was working as Marketing Coordinator at Ustream, and I had also spent a couple of months in Mexico and Nicaragua to film a documentary on a sustainable architecture project. This project was part of my Media Studies (with a Film Studies minor) BA program at the University of San Francisco, and I graduated in December 2008.
MY DRIVING FORCES
One of the biggest driving forces for pursuing my passions with gusto, in both my personal and professional lives, has been overcoming a battle with thyroid disease. I developed it in high school, but wasn't diagnosed until halfway through college. Until I got it treated, my physical and mental health were greatly affected. My weight shot up to over 200 pounds, I was constantly getting colds, and I didn't have the energy to go out and socialize with my peers. It was during this time that I turned to music, films, novels, blogging, and participating in online communities as forms of escapism and feeling human connection.
Since getting treated, I've worked hard to make my life as awesome as possible. To be a Yes Woman. To explore the world and connect with its incredible inhabitants. I think I've done a pretty good job of it so far, and I plan on continuing down this path. If any of this resonates with you, feel free to get in touch through any of the social buttons at the bottom of this page. Thanks for stopping by!
-Amanda Van West