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Berklee alum Angie Swan finds success in Hollywood

Colette Greenstein | 7/2/2014, 11:15 a.m.

“I’ve been living my dream since the day I picked up a guitar” says Angie Swan, one of two female lead guitarists in Cirque du Soleil’s 30th Anniversary show, Amaluna, now running in Boston.

The Milwaukee native grew up in a household filled with music. Her father was a guitarist and her mother was an avid music lover. Growing up, the young Swan always knew she wanted to perform, and attended performing arts schools in her hometown. In 1992, at the age of 10, she received her first guitar for Christmas, and a year later she took her first structured guitar lesson. Swan took to the guitar like a duck to water.

In 2001, the burgeoning guitarist headed to Berklee College of Music to follow her passion. During her time in Boston, she explored the city and even dabbled in politics, working for City Councilor Charles Yancey, but she never got sidetracked from her true calling — music. After “finishing” Berklee in 2005, (Swan says, “you don’t graduate from Berklee; it’s ‘finishing’ Berklee”), she headed to Los Angeles to kick off her professional music career. There she found out firsthand one of the benefits of attending the highly regarded college. It gave her a much-needed support system. “The Berklee network and connection helped a lot. It consisted of a web of people from all areas of the music and entertainment industry,” she says.

Swan found work performing on the FOX TV show “Glee” along with performing in-studio on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” She also performed with such well-known singers and musicians as Courtney Love, Lauryn Hill, Macy Gray and Will.I.Am. Swan even performed with fellow Berklee alumni Esperanza Spalding in Europe “before she was Esperanza Spalding.”

In 2012, a new opportunity presented itself. Cirque du Soleil was in the process of forming its first ever all-female band for Amaluna. Word got back to them on several fronts that they should call Swan in for an audition, and after sending in videos of herself playing various styles, she was flown to Montreal to join the creation process of Amaluna, and became part of “The Goddesses of Sound.”

Now, two years later, Swan is back in Boston where it all came together. She’s been able to visit some of her old musical and food haunts like Wally’s in the South End and Mr. and Mrs. Bartley’s in Harvard Square. She’s even hoping to head out to East Boston to eat at Santarpio’s Pizza.

When asked what advice she would give to young girls and teens who want to pursue their dreams like she did, Swan passionately advises them to “be courageous, believe in yourself and never give up. You can achieve anything!”

As the final weekend (Sunday, July 6 is the last performance date), approaches for Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna, this is your last chance to see Angie Swan and The Goddesses of Sound playing under the iconic blue and yellow big top at the Boston Marine Industrial Park on the Waterfront. Tickets to the final shows of Amaluna can be purchased at www.cirquedusoleil.com/amaluna.