Morena Duwe is a multi-medium story teller as a writer, editor, producer, video host, and journalist (often music journalist). She’s exactly what you’d expect a music journalist to look like. She’s confident, sexy, rock ‘n roll stylish and with an element of mystery that lets you know two things: 1) she’s experienced a pain that makes it safe to tell you the vulnerable parts of your story and 2) yes, she’s having more fun than most of us.
Morena was born and raised in Salinas, California by her Filipino mother, a concert pianist, and German father, who among many things, had been the conductor of the Munich Symphony Orchestra. Music was at the center of her childhood. Her parents met through music and turned their Salinas home into a music school. Students of all ages and instruments of all types could be heard practicing from morning through night.
Being raised in Steinbeck’s California farm country wasn’t always easy for Morena being the brown, mystery-ethnic girl of immigrant parents. Teasing increased when her father began to give talks at the local schools sharing his story of being a Hitler Youth as a kid in Germany. That her father never followed Nazi ideology, as demonstrated by his own blended family and friendships, was lost on her peers, who just saw a new opportunity for teasing and bullying.
A self-professed nerd, Morena didn’t take their teasing to heart. For one thing, she was too busy! She did well in school and grew up with a full schedule between all of her activities and passions. In addition to learning to play a multitude of instruments, Morena always loved sports, ballet, and writing. At 18 she struggled with the decision to go to either of the ballet academies to which she was accepted or to college. Seeking counsel from her father, he asked, “ did she wanted to expand the limits of her body through ballet or the limits of her mind through college?” She choose college and started at the University of California, Irvine initially as a journalist major and quickly changed to a film major.
At 20 her life changed forever when her father suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. College had already been a lonely place for Morena and now she was totally lost. With support of her older sister and mother, she returned to Irvine, finished school and finally met her people - a tribe of multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, figuring-out-their-own-paths 20-somethings brought together by a shared passion for music and community. It was this group that introduced Morena to music festivals - first Coachella and then the living changing Lightning in a Bottle, with it’s mix of responsibility for shared spaces, combination of arts and expression, and bringing together people looking for more than just great music, but a multi-textural experience.
It wasn’t long after graduating that Morena started writing as a journalist. Once she found the festival scene she focused her energy on being a music journalist. With her partner, Miles, a photographer, they quickly became the go-to duo for reporting on music festivals around the world. She’s written for print and digital publications including L.A. Weekly, O.C Weekly, San Francisco Weekly, UpRoxx, Huffington Post, Medium, Vice, Mix Mag, and DJ Mag.
As journalism, reporting, and print publications have been under fire in recent years, Morena has been riding the changing tide of what it means to be a writer and reporter today. That in combination with the challenges that come when your passion is also how you pay the bills, has meant that Morena has to fight even harder to do what she loves. Telling her own story and diversifying her income streams has come more into focus. Currently, in addition to being a journalist, she’s working on a book telling the amazing and interesting story of her father’s life. The manuscript is due to be completed in 2020. Additionally she’s working with Miles to create a new space to share news and tell the stories of alternative music festivals and the people who are drawn to them.
To follow, support and connect with Morena you can:
Visit her website www.morenaduwe.com
Follower her on Instagram @schatzi_mo
Follow her on LinkedIn /morena-duwe
Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Listen to Morena’s episode on the Powerful Ladies Podcast
Photo of Morena by Miles Najera