“[Being married] is really challenging me to go even deeper.” — Priscilla Ahn
ISSUE: Summer 2011
STORY: Jimmy Lee
Priscilla Ahn finds her happy place — and new songwriting fodder — in her latest album When You Grow Up.
Laurel Canyon is where the likes of Jim Morrison, Carole King and Joni Mitchell once lived, giving birth to songs that would fuel the 1960s and ’70s counterculture, and creating music that would help define the singer-songwriter. This seminal Los Angeles neighborhood is now the place Priscilla Ahn calls home, and being surrounded by that illustrious musical history is a source of inspiration for this chanteuse with the beguilingly breathy delivery. But there’s something amidst Laurel’s leafy confines that’s mucking up this American idyll for Ahn: her husband.
With the “happy place” she’s discovered with actor Michael Weston comes a different, albeit not unpleasant, set of problems. “Before, I always felt a little lost … not knowing my place,” says Ahn, who grew up in rural Pennsylvania with her Korean mother. “When I established that with my husband a couple of years ago, it actually became harder to write songs.”
Now she has a larger pool of experiences to draw upon when penning her compositions, more than just the “sad emotions” and the times “when I was feeling alone” she often turned to in the past. Ahn, who wed last year, says, “[Being married] is really challenging me to go even deeper.”
She’s struck a reserve of riches with her new album, When You Grow Up, as she explores multiple facets of folk music over its 12 tunes. Throughout her sophomore effort (released again on the iconic Blue Note label), Ahn’s bliss is pervasive. There’s even hope after a crushing break-up on “I Don’t Have Time To Be In Love.” (Alas, for the guys who so easily fall under the charm of Ahn’s disarming on-stage persona, the breakup that song is based on is not hers — it’s that of co-writer Charlie Wadhams.)
Ahn describes herself as a “homebody,” perfectly content to spend a Saturday night in Laurel Canyon, cooking, watching a movie, or following her blogs. “Mostly [the blogs] are about flowers, fashion, cooking and crafts. Those are the four things I’m really into; they inspire me so much,” says Ahn.
Then there’s her husband, who she’ll hang out with at a local Korean spa. And for the man who prepared Korean seaweed soup on the occasion of her birthday, she’s inspired to write lyrics like these: “You were my one and only/The only one I ever learned to love.”
— Jimmy Lee
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If I could sum up my first Kollaboration Acoustic 5 show viewing experience, I would liken it to a mug of vanilla latte with whipped cream.
I have never been to the Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood, so I wasn’t prepared on Friday when I was greeted by a beautiful canopy of palm trees and other greenery that served as the show’s lush background as I got ushered to my seat. The theater was constructed with warm camel stones, inviting the viewer to comfortably enjoy the performance on its smooth even stage. Moody lighting beautifully lit the performers and helped to create the intimate environment, and the house itself felt like we were all seated in a cavernous bowl, a friendly one.
It’s almost here!
For those of you who don’t know what it is, Kollaboration was founded in 2000 by Paul “PK” Kim as an Asian and Pacific Islander (API) organization and movement as an annual event to foster API talent, professionals, and youth and bring them into mainstream media under the mantra and its mission statement Empowerment Through Entertainment.
I was fortunate enough to be on the Boston team, and believe me, this show is worth your time and money.
Here are the contestants in a music video of a cover of Yael Naim‘s New Soul.
This year, there will be a special guest performance by singer Priscilla Ahn and comedian KT Tatara. VIP ticket holders will get preferred seating and have a meet & greet opportunity with Priscilla Ahn.
Date: Friday, June 17, 2011
Time: 8:30PM (Doors Open 6:30PM)
Venue: Ford Amphitheatre
2580 Cahuenga Blvd, East, Hollywood, CA 90068
$20 General Admission, $30 VIP Admission (preferred seating)
Get your tickets now!
Did you know that up to 60% of API women experience intimate partner abuse or sexual abuse in their lifetime and are least likely to report it? That is an extraordinarily high percentage given that the national average is 33%.
Now, Asian American stars Sandra Oh, John Cho, Aaron Yoo, Lisa Ling, Leonardo Nam, Archie Kao, C.S. Lee, Joan Chen, Justin Chon, Far East Movement, Kaba Modern and more than 100 other members of the creative community will appear in a series of videos supporting the Center for the Pacific Asian Family (CPAF), which provides a multi-lingual 24-hour call center, emergency shelter, transitional housing program, counseling services and various community outreach programs to address domestic violence. Hundreds of others contributed their time, experience and resources to produce the videos and help raise awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault.