The Hong Kong de Chanel Collection is that perfect gift for the about-town gal – especially the one who dreams of those sultry nights out in Hong Kong. What I love about the colors in this collection are the metallic hues that are inspired by the city lights of HK. You can’t go wrong with Chanel, right?
Buy the collection here.
Putting blush on our cheeks helps bring out our femininity, innocence and sweetness – those are the qualities newly-formed band, Blush, is trying to express with their group’s name. On Thursday, the all-girl Asian pop band that is based in Hong Kong made their debut appearance on national television on So You Think You Can Dance’s (SYTYCD) results show. They are known for opening for Justin Bieber in Hong Kong during his world tour as well as making an appearance in Hong Kong’s Rugby Sevens. Performing their single “Undivided” with Snoop Dogg, the girls showed off their skills in dancing and singing to the studio audience and to the cameras for those watching at home. Their music is described to be “edgy and fun with a unique spin.” The title of their first single represents the unity they have as a group even though they are all from different cultural backgrounds.
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If a true artist cannot fully express himself, can he still be called an artist? I’m not trying to be a quasi-philosopher here, but in terms of the recent detention of Ai Weiwei, the answer is yes!
Melissa Li & The Barely Theirs (MLBT) aren’t just breaking ground as a pop and rock band fronted by an Asian American woman. Singer-songwriter Melissa Li (also guitarist) is breaking barriers as an openly gay musician, leading the band with her girlfriend Ashley Baier (drums), Chris Takita (lead guitar) and Darren Lipper (bass).
Originally from Hong Kong, Li got her start with the music and poetry duo Good Asian Drivers. Since then, the band has played nationwide, from San Francisco to Boston, and is currently recording their album, The Beginning, while on tour. MLBT is also hosting their very first showcase “Women on the Loose: Winter Rock Festival” on Tuesday, December 21, 2010, at the Union Hall in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Take a listen:
Audrey Magazine sat down with the spunky quartet recently for an an electrifying interview.
Audrey Magazine: Sara Bareilles and Maroon 5 are a few of your band’s influences, but as a child, what kind of music were you into?
Melissa Li: Actually, Sara Bareilles and Maroon 5, being relatively new artists, are not our band’s influences. They’re just what we kind of sound like in terms of songwriting and performing style. Growing up in an immigrant household, I actually started listening to Cantonese pop music when I was a kid. So at an early age, I was exposed to traditional pop structures, even though a lot of it was a bit predictable and cheesy. Later on, I was exposed to a lot of the music my mother enjoyed, like The Carpenters, Simon & Garfunkel, and Peter, Paul, & Mary, so I also developed a love for folk music — essentially, music for the American people. But ultimately, my thinking on songwriting, particularly lyric-writing, evolved when I started listening to Ani DiFranco. I would say she’s my biggest influence.
Ashley Baier: Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Led Zeppelin, and musicals.
Chris Takita: Green Day, Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer.
Darren Lipper: Nirvana.
AM: Being born in Hong Kong, how has that played a role in your identity? How do you define yourself?
ML: I am a Chinese American who has a strong connection with my cultural history. I grew up primarily influenced by American identity and values, and I’m very proud to be American, but I grew up facing a lot of racism and isolation because of my background, so I’m very passionate about positive representation in society for other Asian Americans, specifically dispelling negative stereotypes and creating our own place in this country.
AM: In your bio it says, “juggling both the personal and professional is not without its challenges.” Can you give us a few of those challenges?
ML: Our drummer Ashley Baier is my girlfriend and we live together and play music together in our home. She’s been playing music since she was 7 or 8, so she and I both have decades of experience with music. We both care a lot about what we do, we’re passionate about the band, and we have strong opinions. That’s where sometimes it can be challenging, for example, disagreeing about musical ideas, what sounds better, who should play what parts, or where the song should go in the bridge.
AB: We are both opinionated about the music, and we’ll argue passionately about it, and get angry at each other.
ML: But then we take it out of the band room and into the bedroom.
AM: If you were to sell your band in one word, what word would that be? Also, what sets MLBT apart from other bands?
DL: What sets us apart is that the bass player is the hairiest bass player that ever existed.
ML: And you have an Asian American female lead singer singing rock music. That doesn’t happen very often.
AB: Also, we’re not bound to any one style. We play some country, some rock, some blues, some jazz, some jam-band music. But ultimately, we have a lot of fun and the tunes are catchy and addictive.
AM: Do you have a favorite quote or poem that you live by?
ML: I do. I actually have it on my Facebook under my profile pic. “Words are vitamins and life is short.” It’s an Ani DiFranco quote, and as a songwriter I do think being able to express yourself accurately, poignantly, and positively is important. No matter who is judging.
AM: If you could go on tour with any musician or performer, who would you choose?
AB: Rolling stones.
ML: Probably Sara Bareilles. We would be good on the same bill.
AM: On the topic of figures, who are your icons?
ML: Again, Ani DiFranco is a huge icon for me, not only because she was outspoken about being queer, but also because she was able to take her music and art, have confidence in her work, and build her own empire by herself. She is one of the very few musicians who, especially at the time, was able to have a successful independent career outside of the mainstream music industry. She’s a visionary artist with unparalleled determination, which is what I aspire to become.
AM: How would you describe a day in the life of MLBT members?
AB: Full of laughter.
DL: A day of music, apps, dirty jokes, and chicken.
ML: Darren and Chris show up to our house around 7 every week for rehearsal and we work on new songs and maybe even start a jam together. The boys like heavy metal, so once in a while we’ll break out in a metal jam just for fun.
AB: I’m not sure the neighbors like that though.
ML: Probably not. The other day we did a choreographed dance. AB: And afterwards we drink beer and hang out. All of us really love each other.
AM: Where do you plan to take MLBT?
ML: Everywhere! We want to travel and tour and play music and make albums and inspire people around the world. Ultimately we want to make this our only job someday, because we love what we do and we want other Asian Americans to be proud to have positive representation like us in the arts.
CT: And Mount Fuji. Then the Vatican.
To find out more about Melissa Li & The Barely Theirs, including where they’ll be playing next, go to their official website.
When the clock finally read 6 pm, I leapt out of my swivel chair and skipped through the door. I jumped into the elevator and ran to the beige Sienna van where my family was waiting to take me to the airport. Farewell to the old 9-6 and hello to adventure, excitement and travel!
As part of the 2010 Miss LA Chinatown court, we generally hold our princess duties around the Los Angeles Chinatown (duh) area. However, this special summer, four of us had the opportunity to travel to various cities in China and act as ambassadors for the Los Angeles Chinese Chamber of Commerce, where we soaked in the culture of the east to take home and share with our local community in the west.
Over our two week-trip, we visited five areas around China — Beijing, DengFeng, Shanghai, Shantou and Hong Kong. We were treated to a multifaceted look at the face of China, going to countryside villages and large metropolises, admiring 1,000-year-old Longmen Grottoes in Luo Yang, and then glimpsing into the future of Shanghai at the World Expo. We tilled soil and practiced Shaolin martial arts. We dolled up and dined with government officials. We visited colleges and nightclubs. We ate. A lot. We suffered repercussions from eating a lot.
The entire time, a pending Audrey blog post was in the back of my mind. “What experiences should I share with Audrey readers about my trip to China that will be meaningful for them to read?”
I had expected this post to be one of those fish out of the water tales where I hilariously shared tales of asking to use the restroom and then being led to a side of the street or where I eat strange foods and then throw up afterward, but in actuality, my experience in Asia became one of coming home. It became one of where I found myself comforted to know the language of my ancestors and to learn their customs. It became one where I liked seeing faces like mine all over the billboards and magazine ads. It became one where I was proud to see how far my homeland had come and excited to see where there future will head.
The thing that is so refreshing about traveling is that you are living in the present. When I’m at home, I’m either constantly planning for the future, whether it be counting down to closing time at work or waiting for the weekends, or thinking to the past, whether it be reminiscing about the good ol’ days with high school friends or flicking through Facebook photos of my past travels (what? You know you do that too.) But when I’m at a particular city for only three days, I have no time to twiddle twaddle lamenting about my exes or worrying about what to do with the rest of my life. I’m too busy staring at sunsets, enjoying a conversation with a cute stranger, and living life at the moment.
Travel reminds us to do this: to live in the present. Think about your daily life. How often do you spend it worrying about what’s going to happen next or pining for the past? How often do you spend it just sitting there soaking in your surroundings and feeling life’s pulse?
I constantly wish for traveling to be a full-time gig, but I don’t think I would appreciate it as much if it were. So, I’ll take the few sacred weeks every year or so and hold it dear to my heart. Until the next adventure.