As a musician now, a scientist and designer first, and a problem solver at heart, Brenna Damatta was never able to put all of these skills and interests into one category. Into her adulthood, she naturally transitioned towards finding the best ways to gain financial freedom through doing the things she enjoyed and the things she was good at.
For the last couple years Breanna traveled across the US with her partner, discovered herself more deeply as a person, and eventually discovered a way to use all of her passion. Pairing her love for music and bringing people together, her partner and I naturally stumbled upon Uni. She sees a future where the creators are held at equal standing with the scientists and technologists. A world where we don’t feel the need to divide the creative from the constructive.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Brenna Damatta: I am originally born and raised in Wilmington, NC. For most of my younger years my family was “lower class”, always shopping second hand, food pantry, government assistance, this was a part of my reality. Thanks to my step dad, eventually we got more money and were considered “middle class”. With this transition and me about to go into high school, my parents decided to put me into private school. Keep in mind, I had two brothers, and a little sister, but I was the one who needed to go to private school (Yes..I was a bit rebellious).
I grew up in a christian home but didn’t go to church much, so private school was a punch in the face for me. Looking back, I can see how detrimental that system is for a lot of people, luckily I was able to pull a lot of great things from that experience. Aside from the heavily religious dogma, It was a really great education.
Leaving High School, I got my Associates in Science and through these years of college I went through a lot of spiritual and emotional turmoil while realizing some personal traumas. I grew up in a small town, I felt trapped by my current relationship and the place that I lived. There were a lot of depressed moments for me. The life I was living wasn’t the life I wanted. I promised myself after I got my Associates I would leave, so I did. When I left, I left it all! My old relationship, my job, my family. I rekindled with, my now husband, Cannon who was a wonderful friend in HighSchool and we were both on the way out of Wilmington when we met up. It was almost too good to be true! Of course, we decided to leave together and thus began our year long road trip across the US starting at the brink of COVID March 2020.
As you may imagine, Cannon and I realized a lot of problems within the music industry during this time. Six months into our trip we got an office in downtown LA arts district. Within three months we came out the other end with a mission, passion, and plan of action; Uni Streaming, a music streaming platform for independent musicians paying out 10x more per stream than Spotify and giving musicians real means to create a sustainable career around their creative work. The private beta is planned to launch April 2022.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Brenna Damatta: Talk about curve balls! I think now more than ever we have to find ways to be self-sustainable. So many years since the industrial revolution, we’ve relied heavily on big cooperations. I think now is the age of individualism. There are many ways I see businesses becoming more self-sustainable.
One way is blockchain. As we are considering using blockchain within our company structure, we’ve seen so many ways that people are implementing it through NFT’s (Non-Fungible Tokens), and DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations). These systems can help us become more independent of big governments, thus claiming more individual freedom.
I’ve learned that there is never going to be a perfect system, only systems that work for the time being. Be willing to change while holding onto your morals is the biggest lesson. There are so man different opinions, perspectives, ideas, and thoughts, being able to acknowledge them without making them your own is true power. The things that are for you, will come back to you at least 3 times.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Brenna Damatta: Focus on community! Wow I just said the other day how much I hate using the word “community” because it feels like everyone is using it now. What community means to me is the ecosystem of people who support your company and who your company supports. This is not a one way street. If you’re more focused on the numbers rather than the quality of life your supporters have, then you’re doing something wrong.
People are becoming more aware of untamed and unjust capitalism, because we are America, we have the right to push against this system, just as they have the right to push back. At the end of the day, the majority has say, and I believe the majority is shifting towards a more equitable and sustainable future for individuals. Soon enough there won’t be enough people willing to work the 9-5 because it’s not worth the inhumane conditions, and you can make your own living entirely online now! So if you want people to stay, you have to treat them like individuals.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Brenna Damatta: The music industry was one of the top effected industries. With live performances being the bread and butter of every musician (signed or unsigned), COVID exposed many unhealed wounds. Particularly with independent musicians, they rarely have benefits, insurance, or even a way to make a living online because streaming services like Spotify only payout .003/stream or less, it was detrimental! Even signed musicians like Kanye & Taylor Swift come out about unfair label deals exposing the years of corruption in this industry. It’s fair to say that it wasn’t a secret anymore.
As an independent musician but also an entrepreneur at heart, I had to do something! COVID was a huge motivation for starting Uni. It made sense, and it seemed like perfect timing. Just like many other musicians, I had to become the business.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Brenna Damatta: I can’t say I wished for advice, because I never take someone else’s advice, only their experiences. In 2022, I intend on bringing self-love and self-value to many people. The greatest freedom we have is realizing that our freedom is always there for the taking.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Brenna Damatta: This trend will continue, only now the in-person events/meetups will be more centered on culture and people. We’ve realized that we are really good at managing our time and actually prefer to, there is no going back from that collective evolution. Work will be done remotely and individually with open community collaboration being the centrifugal component of any business
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Brenna Damatta: Including my laptop and phone: about 6
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Brenna Damatta: Transparency and trust is a big tool for me. I think if you have a strong enough mission, people will naturally gravitate towards it.
With respect for each person and the ability to listen, there is less persuasion and more choice. I love individuality when it comes to discussion, when it makes me uncomfortable is when I know I’m onto something new. I do enjoy being the one who brings new thoughts into peoples perception, I think If you can provide new ideas and stimulating concepts, this encourages people to respond and engage. I think engagement is my greatest hurdle right now.
With everything being digital, it’s hard to tell who is engaged or not. This is where trust comes in, if I know I’m doing my best as a representative for myself and what I stand for then I can only trust that my team sees the same, until otherwise brought to my attention. It’s less of a business strategy for me and more a personal growth exercise. The people around you will always only reflect yourself as a leader, boss, organizer, manager, contributor etc.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Brenna Damatta: As mentioned, engagement is a hurdle with attempting to go entirely digital. Also, there are so many tools right now, it’s hard to decide on which ones are right for your team and business. Especially being in the Web3 space, I feel like there is a new and better tool everyday!
Being able to focus in a world full of distractions will forever be our greatest struggle. I also think that we are in a time of global transition which means that there will be a lot of uncertainty before a standard. How can I thrive as a business in the chaos? How can I ensure I come out the other end? These are the questions I often ask myself.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Brenna Damatta: I’m 100% interested in expanding my knowledge of the Web3 space. We are gravitating towards DAO’s right now. As we look towards a more fair economical system for musicians. DAO’s and NFT’s, once used correctly, could change the music industry for the better.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Brenna Damatta: I answered another question and touched on this so I love that this topic came up. I absolutely think leaders think that! The reason I say this is because I am literally in the process of re-training my brain to not think that way and I’m only 23. We are trained to cater to consumerism and mass production. Our brains have carved out neural pathways of consumerism from years of, what seemed to be, living in a thriving economical country. As my grand mother (Dora Damatta) would say, we have been so rapidly on our way to destruction for the past 20 years.
I think the changes are coming whether we like them or not. What I think needs to happen is for people to accept more awareness around the quality of life they are living and how that quality of life is affecting others. If we continue to treat everyone as a number on our screen we will blissfully float off into destruction. A country divided is not a country at all.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Brenna Damatta: The super power to have a genuine relationship with everyone!
I think often about how easy it is to have the close knit community relationship when we are small, but as businesses grow, so does the gap between people. Although this may be true for myself as an individual, if I can create an ecosystem that thrives on the relationships between each person, that will be success to me.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Brenna Damatta: 2022 has a lot of great things coming for Uni (@uni.io Instagram). We plan to start building out the Web3 version of our app with a dev team, along with growing our community.
One way we plan to strengthen our congregation will be through a series of events called “#FEATURETALK Sessions”. These events will be in person, held in a local Austin,TX studio. Each month we will bring together two local independent acts for a personal and intimate listening session including some other great perks. They can invite up to 30 people to come and experience their latests music release. This will be a way for us to give back to our musicians while also getting more attention. We are also looking for sponsors to help fund this events so musicians don’t have to pay. We’ve already reached out to a couple web3 companies.
Success this year will be to build the foundation of musicians who believe and support a better future. If you want more details on what we have in store for 2022 and “Uni Fest” 23′, be sure to subscribe to the Uni email list (www.unistreaming.info) and follow us on instagram @uni.io.
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Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Brenna Damatta for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Brenna Damatta or her company, you can do it through her – Instagram
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.