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Kuwalla: “Why we’d like to inspire a movement for influencers to step back to let the people use their voice”

If we ever get lucky enough to get to the point where we could have any sort of influence on a movement, we would want to inspire a movement of influencers stepping back to let the people use their voice. Most people with a loud enough microphone are completely separated from the people they’re talking […]

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If we ever get lucky enough to get to the point where we could have any sort of influence on a movement, we would want to inspire a movement of influencers stepping back to let the people use their voice. Most people with a loud enough microphone are completely separated from the people they’re talking to. If they all took a step back to listen instead of talk, they could let those who need to speak for themselves, and then we can amplify THOSE voices. Also, #BlackLivesMatter.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Kuwalla. Starting in 2018, the LA-based band began playing shows up and down the west coast to test out their new-found beloved sound in front of LIVE audiences. Show history includes House of Blues, The Roxy, Resident LA and many more. Comprised of four versatile musicians, (Kyle Sain — Lead Vocals & Guitar // Brian Huynh — Lead Guitar & Vocals // Marty Griffin — Drums // Danny Leserman — Bass & Keyboard), the band grabs their musical influences from what they listened to growing up. From Indie Alternative to Hard Rock to Blues, they hope to take the music of their environment, modernize it, and share it with the world for years to come.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Childhood was pretty cool but we moved around a lot. There was always music in the house because my dad worked at Fender and used to play guitar in a band called Creation of Sunlight. I ended up taking violin lessons as a kid, but when a classmate came in one day with a guitar, that was all I wanted to play. My music teacher was pissed that I didn’t want to play violin anymore, but I’d say I made the right choice.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve always played music, and have been a band or two since I was in high school. Sometime after then, I realized I could turn this into a career. I wasn’t stopping until I could pay rent with music.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

During one of our west coast tours, we were slotted to play a club in Sacramento, but it fell through at the last minute. Our booker found a biker bar on the outskirts of town and we decided to accept that show. When we got there, it was one of those places with a loyal crowd and a little stage in the corner, and then we learned they had a PA system with no microphones or stands. We ended up MacGyvering a microphone stand out of a tripod, duct tape, and our own microphones. It was so much effort for a backup show and we had a blast.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

We’ve had our share of mistakes, but those are part of growing as a musician. At one of the first shows we played with a lot of fans, our lead guitarist was running a bit late because he worked late. We were all sure he would be able to leave on time and without any issues, but he got held up and then stuck in the parking lot. During that time people were coming up to the rest of us at the venue saying how excited they were to see us play, but internally we were all freaking out because we weren’t sure if Brian was going to make it. He ended up arriving right as we were getting on to the stage and the show ended up going great. We learned that we really need to start taking this music thing a little more seriously, though.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

We’re in the middle of recording and releasing a ton of songs. We’ve been working on these songs for over a year, and we’re putting them out as we record them. We’re kind of on a creative tear right now and we’re just going nuts with the songwriting.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Having a diversity of voices is necessary because anything less doesn’t represent reality. At its core, we play rock music, and rock music is black music. Trying to assume anything else is straight up factually and morally wrong. Damn near the whole entertainment industry is based off of art forms from communities of color, and it should be represented that way.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Make sure your producers are trustworthy. We’ve had more than one bad experience working with a studio/producer that wasted our time and ripped us off leaving us with nothing for over a year’s worth of work.
  2. Don’t go with an option just because it’s cheap. When we were forming as a band, we went through marketers and distribution channels just because they were cheap. We ended up getting screwed more than once.
  3. Know the value of your music. Don’t be afraid to say no to opportunities even if you get the tiniest feeling that it’s not a good fit.
  4. Don’t be afraid to meet fellow musicians in your local music scene. Networking as a band is such an important thing to do especially in your local scene. Building up relationships with local bands leads to more show and collaboration opportunities.
  5. Beer before liquor, never been sicker; liquor before beer, you’re in the clear. Weed won’t do any of that to you though. This is a golden rule especially when you are hustling as a band on the road.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Pace yourself. You’re in this for the long haul. There will be up periods and down periods, but it’s worth it to lead a life where you can truly express yourself.

You are people of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If we ever get lucky enough to get to the point where we could have any sort of influence on a movement, we would want to inspire a movement of influencers stepping back to let the people use their voice. Most people with a loud enough microphone are completely separated from the people they’re talking to. If they all took a step back to listen instead of talk, they could let those who need to speak for themselves, and then we can amplify THOSE voices. Also, #BlackLivesMatter.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

First, we can for sure thank our family, friends and peers who have supported us. If we had to pick a person who we are grateful for, though, it would most likely be each other. None of us could have reached any goal post without us pushing each other forward.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Cryin’ won’t help ya, prayin’ won’t do ya no good.” — Robert Plant, When the Levee Breaks

At a certain point, you need to stop complaining and take control of things for yourself. We all need to learn to be the one who takes responsibility for our own shit.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

We would want to have pancakes with Prince. Maybe we could play basketball beforehand.

Second would be Jeffrey Epstein. The world needs to know what really happened.

How can our readers follow you online?

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kwlaband

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KWLABand

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kwlaband

Tiktok: https://www.tiktok.com/@kuwallaband

Web: https://kuwalla.band/

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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