As someone who has been dating a musician for 8.5 years, and who has had a passionate relationship with music her whole life, it (almost) goes without saying that I have a deep affinity for those who play it.
What I love about musicians is that (like filmmakers and other creatives), they stick together and support one another. Because our culture isn’t as supportive as it could be, creatives tend to find one another and inspire and pump each other up. It’s really amazing.
I’m so grateful to my guy for introducing me to so many incredible musicians over the years. One of these musicians is Priscilla Liang – known to her friends and fans, as Priska.
Priska and I have gotten to know each other over the last few years, and I’ve seen her play to crowds on more than a handful of occasions. Priska is a true singer/songwriter, who exudes emotion and vulnerability with every chord she plays and note she sings. I have mad respect for this woman on every level – and I can’t wait for you to get to know her a bit better today. Check out our fun Q&A below!
Priska!!! How fun that we get to do this today. We’ve been friends for a bit, and you’re up to some incredibly inspiring things that I can’t wait to share with our readers. It’s a true honor to chat with you here, so thank you! Let’s dig in – tell us a bit about yourself – what you do, create and love.
Omg, thank you! This is gonna be fun. For starters – I’m a Taiwanese American girl from Los Angeles, CA who stands a hair over 5′ tall. And I LOVE food. So much. I basically consider eating a hobby (we’ve had some epic meals together)! Some of my favorite dishes include seolleongtang (a soul-soothing Korean oxtail soup), street tacos (lengua and cabeza are my top meat picks), and nio rou mian (a taste of home, better known as Taiwanese beef noodle soup).
I’m also a singer/songwriter who writes songs about heartache, loss, and finding your own voice.
Epic meals indeed – I’ve loved being foodie friends with you! So, when did you decide that you wanted to be a singer/songwriter?
I’ve wanted to be a singer/songwriter since I was 16 years old. Over the past few years, it’s been my dream to complete a solo project but in each attempt, I would discover either that I wasn’t musically ready or I wasn’t financially equipped to do it. This all changed this year.
At the beginning of 2016, I was laid off from a full-time position and though it was disorienting, I finally had the time to center myself and search for clarity. I realized I’d been afraid to own my dreams. I had been convincing myself I didn’t want to pursue music, hoping it would make it easier to swallow the bitter fact that I wasn’t following my dreams. Once I saw this clearly, a flame was lit and the idea for this upcoming EP came into full focus.
That’s so amazing. And I think a lot of creatives can relate to that. Most often, the only permission we need – is our own. So so proud of you. But I also know that music is more for you than just writing and playing. What else do you feel is important about the work you’re doing in the world?
As a young child, I was so antisocial, my daycare teacher was concerned I might have some sort of mental handicap. I would lay idly in my crib and refuse to interact with any of the other children. That is until it was time for music hour. At the first strum of the guitar, I’d amble over the railing, making a beeline straight for the front of the classroom. For the duration of the hour, I’d be dancing, singing, and laughing; feeling the music set me free.
Music was the way I discovered how to connect with people. That’s exactly why I do what I do because I know how powerful music can be and how priceless a connection wrought by music is, both for the performer and the listener.
It’s true, music is so healing for everyone. And honestly, we need more of it in the world. I’m curious about the biggest obstacle you’ve faced and how you’ve overcome it (since let’s be real it’s not always unicorns and rainbows). What helped you get over that hurdle?
My biggest obstacle is that I easily become frozen in fear. If I can’t figure something out, I have a tendency to let myself get overwhelmed and then hide. What I’m still learning to do to overcome this, is ask for the help I need and determine when I need to delegate. It’s a scary process.
In the past, I always assumed people would think I was unintelligent or out of the loop if I asked the “wrong” questions, but I was never learning because I was never asking. I would just sit there in my own fear and self-loathing and nothing would change. I’ve gotten slightly better at this but it’s definitely an ongoing process.
Girl, yes. I’m with you there – I think women have a harder time with this. And culturally, asking for help in many Asian American households equates to weakness. Which is something I’m sure we both grew up with. On a happier note, who do you look up to? Who inspires you?
I’ve always looked up to singer/songwriter Tristan Prettyman. She’s the person who inspired me to write my first song. Her honest lyrics and sincere delivery continue to move me to this day.
What does it mean to you, to live a life and music career – with SOUL?
For me, it means to approach each performance, whether in the studio or on stage, with as much of my story, my heart, and my truth as I can. I aim to be as honest and pure in the moment as I can be, even if it means falling gloriously facedown.
I love that (and as a sidenote: face-planting and failing is a sign of a true professional, so I say, fail and fall as often as possible)! On a slightly different note, we’re big birthday fans ‘round here, so I’d love to know your dream way to spend a birthday?
My dream birthday would be to have the ultimate dinner party. I’d love to have a chef I’ve known for years make some delightfully honest food for a circle of 8-10 friends. Copious amounts of wine and conversation would flow freely throughout the starlit night. Stories would become reality, reality would become myth and we’d all stumble dreamily back to an eight-bedroom guest house for an unparalleled slumber.
That sounds delicious. I hope I’m invited *wink*. Speaking of delicious things, what are the 5 things you can’t live without (like ever)?
- My eyebrow pencil – like seriously, it’s my life line. I’m a fan of the Anastasia ‘Brow Wiz’ Mechanical Pencil.
- Cold brew coffee – my favorite cup is from Found Coffee in Eagle Rock.
- My keyboard – I gig with a Yamaha MX-61, I love the feel of it, it has great tones, and it’s light to carry!
- Whiskey/Scotch/Bourbon, neat please
- Eggs – fried, poached, or boiled.
I love them all and I love them on anything. Eyebrow pencils ftw! Yeah girl, they’re the best. As a fellow travel lover, I’d love for you to share the top places you’d send me if I was visiting your ‘hood (Mar Vista, CA)?
I currently live in Mar Vista, which is a small pocket-sized neighborhood sandwiched between Venice and Culver City. There’s an ever-growing food and drink scene and I couldn’t be more proud of it.
If we were going to take an afternoon stroll, I’d first take you to Venice Grind, the local coffee joint. It’s unpretentious and has straightforward good coffee. I typically order either a macchiato or a cold brew and settle down on their patio with a good book.
After we get a caffeine buzz on, we can walk ’round the corner to Status Kuo, an asian fusion restaurant recently opened by Taiwanese-American chef, David Kuo. You’ll enjoy the clean and modern interior as much as you’ll enjoy their take on Taiwanese lu rou fan, which they’ve dubbed ‘Sunday Gravy’.
Finally, as the sun is setting on our day together, we’ll walk two blocks down to my favorite bar of all time, The Corner Door. Bartender and cocktail aficionado, Beau DuBois, will make you an old-fashioned so breathtakingly perfect, you’ll never want to drink one anywhere else.
As you know, I recently started a Kickstarter to raise $5K for my album. Within the first 5 hours, we were fully funded, and I was completely floored. We’re now two weeks into funding and we’ve already doubled our initial goal – with 5 days left until it closes. It feels unreal, but it makes me really appreciate all the people that have supported me through all my ups, downs, and everything in between.
That is SO exciting – congratulations!!! Through the process of doing music and even launching your Kickstarter campaign, and no doubt through the incredibly interesting life you’ve lived – I know you have undoubtedly learned a lot. If you knew then, what you know now, what message would you have for your younger selves?
“It’s ok to be you.” I spent so much time trying to figure out who I was “supposed” to be. It wasn’t until I realized that I could be exactly me and that being who I was, authentically, would be what drew the best people to me and make me the most happy and fulfilled.
And finally — what is one thing you know to be true?
The only thing I know for sure is that nothing is for sure but also, the love we have, the stories we carry, and the dreams we nurture are the guideposts we have on a path filled with uncertainty.
I told you, this girl is amazing, right? Fierce, feisty, filled with heart and one of the most genuinely kind artists I’ve ever met. Thank you for sharing yourself with us here today Priska – I can’t wait to see the amazing places you go from here!
But more importantly, I’d love it if you could help support her dream of putting together her very first EP! While she’s raised DOUBLE her initial goal on Kickstarter – the more she raises, the more amazing things she can do.
Donate $5, $10, $25 – whatever you can – and help support a creative artist to do the work she loves. It would mean so much to me (and Priska).
Check out the video she made that explains all about the project:
Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll catch you next time with another fun conversation with an inspiring creative woman who is totally winning at creating a life (and business) with Soul!
Photos courtesy of Priscilla Liang