Thanks to my musician friend, Monk Turner. This might be the inspiration for a Monk/Jenny collaboration to come!
Ken Nordine is a new favorite. How did I not know about him? Watch this beautiful font animation of Ken Nordine’s words to jazz.
The CreativeLife Podcast Ep.8: Steve Nguyen’s IT Guy By Day, Producer and Community Building Superhero By Night [Download] [Stream]
Episode 8 – Steve Nguyen
What’s behind the stunner shades and shiny earring? I turn the mic on Steve Nguyen, and attempt to uncover the man, the myth, the mystery that is Steve Nguyen of Stickblade Productions and channelAPA.com. Who knew he became legend at UC Riverside playing Superman and other characters with his theatrical, masked “flash-pranks” during lecture classes?
He puts all hyphenated artists to shame with his multi-project multi-tasking. I peel back the layers like an onion of truth until we’re both in tears of conversational joy. (yeah. i said that.) We cover some serious ground in intimate conversation with one microphone on my lounge couch in Highland Park. One 7up and an hour and a half later we finally get some details.
And, hold on! Did you know he once appeared as an Asian student character on “The Man Show” with Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel? Not his proudest moment, but highly educational.
Some things you’re gonna learn: how important building community is for Steve, Steve’s vision for providing the ultimate platform for talented Asian Americans in media and entertainment, what he did behind the scenes in one of the “Fast and Furious” movie productions, and the inspiration behind his latest passion project, the animated short film about a survivor of the atom bomb in Japan called “Hibakusha.”
We give a shout-out to professional photographer Tommy Su of Snapit Studios (http://snapitstudio.com/) because we got some GOOOOD cafe food in Monterey Park together with Steve after the interview. Mm. Mm!
With socially awkward comes different and innovative. – Steve Nguyen
Episode 8 of The CreativeLife podcast features the talented work of independent artists Anna Su (“Oh My Stars” and “Howling Tree” from “Howling Tree” 2010) and Andrew Figueroa Chiang and the Blazing Rays of the Sun (“Baby Please”). Be sure to catch Andrew and support him when he competes at the November 5th, Kollaboration concert in Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre!
FROM ANNA SU’S WEBSITE:
Los Angeles-based musician, Anna Su, explores music as community property, drawing influences from the sounds of her travels and experiences. Through haunting melodies and heartfelt lyrics, mixed with the floor-stomping pulse of her eclectic band, Anna Su’s songs bring players and listeners together to celebrate the simple joys of making music.
Debut album, “Howling Tree” now available on iTunes and Bandcamp
Produced by Nate Vaughan, Mixed by Al Fleming
Mastered by Brad Blackwood at Euphonic Masters, Recorded at Bronson House, Runaway Sound & Hollywood Sound Systems, Drums engineered by Meredith Jung, Artwork by Molly Burgess. All songs by Anna Su except “Over Ourselves” by Anna Su and John Isaac Watters & “City Ain’t That Much Fun by Anna Su and Rachel Vaughan.
Featuring: Al Fleming, Will Gramling, Kris Karlsson, George Krikes, Mike Lindsay, Niccolo Menichini, Alex Rhodes, Gavin Salmon, Brian Song, Dave Torstenson, Nate Vaughan, Rachel Vaughan & Dave Wilson
FROM ANDREW’S WEBSITE:
Andrew Figueroa Chiang is every bit an entertainer. A sweet-voiced songwriter with a genuine love of performing, Andrew has the unique ability to transform any space into a joyful one. His disarming charm, off-the-cuff comedy, and heartfelt delivery make his shows both moving and fun.
This year, Andrew released his first EP! The self-titled, acoustic record is full of earnest performances, energetic arrangements, and big harmonies.
Andrew is currently playing solo and with his rock and roll band – the Blazing Rays of the Sun. He thinks it would be very nice to meet you.
- Steve as “The Chinese Kid” on “The Man Show”
- The Hibakusha Kickstarter fundraising page
- channelapa.com – Steve’s website featuring Asian American entertainment
- Steve Nguyen FlipHD with memoirist Lac Su
- Steve as Superman in UC Riverside class prank
And when you’re done listening to it…leave a comment at the end of this post, or on iTunes. Send me your feedback and comments! What did you like about the interview? What did you learn that you hadn’t thought about before? What was something that you wanted to learn more about the creative process? What question were you DYING for me to ask but I never did!?
Note to Self: Perform Every Gig Like THIS! Matt & Kim’s High Energy Synth-Rock Performance on Jimmy Fallon [Inspiration]
Did you see Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last night? Matt and Kim!!! Whuuut?! I don’t know who they are, but they TORE THAT ISH UP with their high energy performance! I’m immediately a fan. At one point, this synth-rock duo BOTH stood up on their seats and instruments completely connecting with the live audience.
LESSON LEARNED?: Perform EVERY gig like this! Like this is exactly where you need to be. Like this is exactly why you love what you do. Like this is the first time you discovered how awesome music or performing can be.
Check it out for yourself below. They have a new album out, “Sidewalks” (SPIN REVIEW) and will be on tour.
Man. I used to be all serious. Believe it or not MORE serious than I am now! (Is that possible? My dad was in his twenties when he fled Communist China. I learned my times tables when I was in kindergarten. I was once CEO of my own candy-stuffed bear company. I was *born* serious.)
I was so serious that I took my pop/hip-hop music teenage upbringing and flipped that stuff to get all serious about writing rap songs. I needed to channel my newly-minted socio-political angst! Okay?!
Besides Oakland and New York City, I believe the South Bay of Los Angeles circa 1990 was where you could find the Blackest Asian American kids in America. Okay. Correction. We didn’t think we were Black. We just liked rap. And Cross Colours. And doing the running man. And quoting lyrics from A Tribe Called Quest and Public Enemy, usually, without knowing the context for what they were saying. Oh wells.
I was a product of the mainstreaming of hip hop – when suburban and non-black kids “discovered” that you could talk-rhyme over a beat (My mom likens it to Buddhist monk meditations). And let’s be honest, the marketing was extremely good. A bunch of Asian American athlete/honors students could manage to hang with some coolness with our highly non-white, multi-cultural student body at North High school. I once re-wrote a number of rap songs and ballads to describe the book All’s Quiet on the Western Front, and Trigonometry functions (“One, two, three point one foh’. Jen doggy-dog, Dr. A is at the doh”). Don’t be jealous.
Nowadays, you can’t even mention Asian Americans and hip hop without talking about America’s Best Dance Crew (ABDC) and how that became a platform for some SERIOUS Asian American bboy/bgirl domination. Ah. They warm my heart (Quest Crew, Jabawockeez, etc).
Apparently the OC Weekly decided to rate some of the top Asian American rappers. What do you think? Blue Scholars is missing? The Visionaries? Um…dare I say…Black Eyed Peas?! (teehee)
Yeah. This is an excerpt from my one EPIC rap song I wrote back when I used to think I was a rapper. (Don’t laugh…I actually put this little gem of a chorus together while playing a Nas song on repeat.)
It’s the Game that I train for, but if you ignore, the consequence will be repentance a life sentence of chains and sins,
for not keeping the score for those who’ve come before
who cried for freedom and then some,
the battle’s won but not the war,
that I train for and if you ignore, the consequence will be repentance a life sentence of chains.
It may be impossible to adequately describe the surge of shame infusing my body as it locks into full cringe position right now.
Comparing is always a harsh and mostly unproductive road to take when it comes to creativity. But here are some other people who actually rap.
Without hip hop I couldn’t be a “light MC” (not MC Lyte)! Comedy raps anyone?! I’m starting a whole series just about food. My current style:
Tapioca milk tea is what I like
I just wanna rap about it when I’m on the mic
It’s real smooth, kinda creamy with ‘piocas to savor
And a hint of tea for the motherland flavor.
Yes. I’ve traded in Nas, for Weird Al. Weird Al Rules!!!!
[Breaking News][Streaming][Event] Ryan Andreas Not Going to Hollywood? Screw That! Let’s Take This Online!
America may have talent but the judges do NOT have good taste. (Bird Lady gets through with a mute squawker in the Vegas audition?! REALLY, Howie? Piers? Sharon? Le sigh)
After sailing through the first round of auditions, Ryan Andreas (Episode #4 guest of The CreativeLife podcast) was just eliminated from the reality competition, America’s Got Talent, on the first day of Vegas week! The dedicated Ryanation fans only got a small clip of his performance, and some random quotes from Ryan expressing his nerves.
Well, fear not, Ryanation: I’ll be hosting an exclusive post-elimination interview AND online/LIVE/streaming interactive show with Ryan Andreas. Let’s take this ONLINE and GLOBAL!:
All the event details at the Facebook event page here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=225147430841045
Be sure to log-on and get a USTREAM.COM account and LIVETWEET #ryanation to ask Ryan questions and requests during the show.