Like most of the world last week, I was saddened to hear of the sudden passing of a music icon, Prince. I have been a fan of his music from an early age and always felt a special affinity for him since we both love purple. I had the great honor of having one of Prince’s former drummers, Michael Bland, play on my Revolutionary album. Bland was an incredible drummer who nailed some songs in just two takes. You would expect nothing less from someone who survived Prince’s rigorous band rehearsals. The way he described working with Prince sounded like it was music boot camp. Prince had very high expectations for everyone he worked with.
I am so grateful now that I had the chance to see Prince in concert live at the Staples Center when he was on his Musicology Tour. I was supposed to go see Madonna two nights before but she was ill and rescheduled her show on the same night as Prince’s concert. I was also a big Madonna fan so it was a difficult decision but my heart said “Prince” and I sold my Madonna tickets to a friend. It was definitely the right decision since Prince’s concert was amazing and one of the best shows I’ve seen. It’s a sober realization that was the last time I was ever be able to see him perform live.
Prince’s music didn’t fit neatly into a music genre box. He could play funk, rock, jazz, R&B and pop. He wasn’t limited to one style yet he had a very distinct sound that was his own. His Minneapolis sound certainly bled into other artists he worked with like Morris Day and the Time, Sheila E and Sheena Easton. Scores of artists have been influenced by him, myself included, but there will never be another Prince.
We’ve lost a lot of music legends in the past year like David Bowie, Natalie Cole and Don Henley. Life here on earth is temporary but music will live on for generations. I found this unreleased recording from a live acoustic show I did several years ago. I had done a medley of songs and ended with “Kiss” by Prince. Here’s the snippet of my acoustic rendition as a tribute to his musical influence on me.
We all have those days when the pressures of life force us to question if we are doing enough. Whether it be in school, at work, or even just in the scope of your own mind, if you ever feel as though you are not doing enough with your life, check out this guest blog post I wrote for Everyday Power. Hopefully, the five tips I outline in this post will help you understand all you have to offer to the world. I mention my song “Paralyzed,” off my Love & Discovery album, and I hope the lyrics encourage you to live your life to its fullest potential.
Check out another Everyday Powerarticle I wrote for a few lifestyle-changes that can help you with your money-saving goals!
After watching the racial controversy of the 2016 Oscars unravel over the past few weeks, I had the chance to write a guest blog post for Reappropriate, one of the web’s oldest AAPI feminist and race activist blogs. Check out what I have to say on the representation of Asian Americans in Hollywood in this article.
This past weekend, I attended the 2016 Asians on Film Festival for my short film Finding Cleveland, and I am honored to announce that we won Best Documentary! With over 300 submissions, the annual short film festival handed out a total of 17 awards, focusing attention on new and emerging Asian American talent in the filmmaking industry. Multiple screenings took place throughout the event, which took began on Wednesday, March 9 and ended with the awards ceremony on Sunday, March 13. I was excited to see actor Will Yun Lee, who has appeared in San Andreas, Wolverine, and Hawaii 5-0, received an honorary award for Supporting Role Model. Click here for the full list of festival winners. Be sure to also check out the AOFF award ceremony recap video.
Only Won and I spend an afternoon recently as guests on Ken Fong’s Asia America podcast. We had a great time discussing our experiences and challenges as Asian American musicians and filmmakers in the entertainment industry. Click here for the full length podcast.
I headed to Oxford, MS last week for their film festival and it was an honor to win the award for Best Mississippi Documentary Short for my film Finding Cleveland. The five day festival celebrates the art of independent filmmaking, exhibiting over 130 films from across the globe. The week consists of screenings in both showcase and competition settings, panel discussions on issues in contemporary filmmaking, and interactions between the filmmakers and the audience at a number of social events. It was an exciting trip and I can’t believe I now can add award-winning filmmaker to my bio. If you want to see my film please visit our film’s website for our listings of upcoming screenings.
I always enjoy supporting other UCLA Bruins and I was super excited when Amy Lieu asked me to be a guest on her new show, “Amy Presents.” From my Love and Discovery album to Asian American parents to singing tips, we covered it all in a fun three part YouTube segment. Visit Amy’s channel here for all three parts of my interview but in the meantime check out the first part of our interview below.