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Conversations with Amanda Nyx

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Nyx.

Hi Amanda, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story. 
ListenCLE started as a way to get local music into more local ears via a series of Spotify playlists, compiled by moods and vibes instead of genres, that were intended to be played in Cleveland’s shops and restaurants. Our initial marketing campaign to push these playlists into businesses was scheduled for March of 2020 – predictably, once the COVID shut-downs went into effect, ListenCLE was a bit adrift!

Fortunately, the pandemic provided opportunities to adapt and meet new needs with creative solutions. When Destination Cleveland reached out to us with questions about busking and street performance, ListenCLE found a new avenue by which to support and amplify local music!

For the past two years now, ListenCLE has been working with prominent downtown partners such as Destination Cleveland, Assembly for the Arts, the Rock Hall, Tower City Center, Cleveland Public Library, and Playhouse Square to bring live performances to the streets and public stages of our city center. We’ve engaged dozens of local acts for prominent national events like the NFL Draft in 2021 and the NBA All-Star Weekend in 2021 and have launched ongoing weekly programming to keep Cleveland’s talent in front of the our downtown audiences.

As ListenCLE continues to grow, we’ve been fortunate to receive grant funding from supporters like Ingenuity Cleveland, the Cuyahoga Arts Council, and Arts Ohio Council that enable us to value our wonderful performers and continue to expand our reach. We’ve built an online performer directory to facilitate events and programming looking to hire local performers, and are starting to build a booking service that serves both local entities AND visitors from out of state who bring their events and conferences to Cleveland.

We are looking forward to continued growth, not just for the ListenCLE program but for the immense pool of high-level performance talent Cleveland has to offer!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The road has definitely not been smooth! Our first challenge – the pandemic shut-downs – forced us to take a huge turn in mission and programming almost immediately after launching ListenCLE. We now have a very different course forward, and the road continues to take twists and turns along the way.

Our largest hurdle is funding. ListenCLE started out-of-pocket and continues to struggle with building a reliable funding source. Grants and partner support have been keeping us going for now, but currently, ListenCLE is essentially run by full-time volunteer work. We understand the challenges of making a performance career profitable (both myself and my partner at ListenCLE are performers ourselves), and ListenCLE has always put our performers first when we have funding. It’s been a labor of love, but to truly make a difference, we are constantly battling the funding hurdle.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
It’s difficult to talk about myself as an artist succinctly! If I had to pick one thing I’m known for as a creative, it would be my ability to learn and adapt to new approaches, styles, and opportunities.

In the span of about four years, I’ve gone from “I want to learn to paint” to having a three-page-long artist CV. I started with painting and small-scale visual art, then quickly discovered Ingenuity Cleveland, where my ability to learn took me off the traditional canvas and into the realm of large-scale installation art. Building big pieces for festivals introduced me to circus and flow performance arts, and before long, I was spinning fire alongside some of my own art! Most recently, I’ve spent 2022 learning how to sing and launched the acting side of my creative career with appearances in local films, plays, and musicals. I also teach art and performance now all across the region, and it’s incredibly fulfilling to pass on the skills I’ve learned and to see people who never thought they could be an artist start to embrace their innate creativity!

Crafting a life that allows for artistic and performance pursuits on a daily basis has been no small feat, and living the life of an artist and actress has many, many stressors, but the joy of finding ways to continue creating and learning continues to drive me forward. I may not be the most experienced or the most talented person in any of my pursuits, but I know I’m one of the few people who can do anything and everything! I’ve embraced my Renaissance Woman nature and love every second of the incredible opportunities that continue to present themselves in my life.

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
Do “the thing,” and do it now. Don’t wait.

I spent too many years, when I was healthier and more capable, worrying about the “what ifs” of taking a risk on something I loved. I take those risks much more readily and easily now, and I have yet to regret a single one. The only real regret is that it took so long for me to pursue things I always wanted to do.

It’s never too late, but it’s also way better to just go for it than to convince yourself the risk isn’t worth it or that it’ll be less risky later. If you keep putting off the things you love, you might never get around to them.

Do the thing NOW. You’ll be glad you did.

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Image Credits

No Numbers
Caroline Barr
Michael McFarland

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