Tuesday, October 21, 2014

behind the scenes from the road and beyond

I'm back from my mini tour with the wonderful Amos Lee and co., and a week with my family in PA.  Here's what went down!  (and a few side stories)

I met Amos Lee and a few members from his band waaaay way long ago, before I moved to L.A., before I made any albums or EPs.  I was 18 and somehow wandered into a recording studio outside of Philly where Amos was recording his EP for Blue Note Records.  I was hired by the Producer to intern for the project, running to get snacks and energy drinks for everyone.  I was in Heaven!  Years later, Amos and his band handed off my debut EP to Blue Note, who I eventually signed with to begin my professional career as a singer-songwriter!  

Amos has always been a big brother figure to me... I have a lot to thank him for.  And I couldn't think of a better way to spend 2 weeks, than touring with him and his wonderful crew again! 

Here I am doing a fun radio interview with DJ Scott Register from Birmingham Mountain Radio.  His station is awesome!
I met him waaaaaaay back in the day, when I was in Joshua Radin's band -- whaa??

Up until now, I'd been on Amos' very nice tour bus.  But towards the end of the run, I was doing a few shows of my own, and needed my own transportation.  So here I am in a compact rental car that had a slightly funny smell, with best buddy Wendy Wang.
We quickly realized how tough it was for us gals to drive miles and miles, lugging gear, loading and unloading, setting up, playing a show, selling merch, packing everything up again, wrapping up paperwork (Yes! Paperwork!!), and then loading up into the car, driving to a hotel, unloading again, finding street parking, and trying to fall asleep in time to get a few good hours of zz's before we had to hit the road again.  Not to mention I managed to spill something on me almost every day for some reason!

Trying to fix the pickup in my guitar before my show in Birmingham, with no luck.  :(  I was my own guitar tech too!

Wendy and I drove about 15 miles out of our way looking for a Thai restaurant in the middle of nowhere, that ended up being closed!  We were both starving, and I was starting to come down with a cold.  We pulled into a tiny, local Mexican restaurant instead.  We just wanted a quick snack, because we were cutting it close on time for the next show which was about another 3 hours away.  Out came a huge, steaming platter of fajitas, and right around then, the ceiling fan next to me started raining sparks onto the floor!  It was our own mini fiesta!

One of my favorite people on the planet -- Freddie Berman, left-handed drummer extraordinaire.

Last night on the Amos tour singing "Black River" together.  One of my faves.

Spent my last days on tour in Atlanta, GA with an old school friend who became a chiropractor.  I had to cancel my show in Nashville because I ended up getting a real cold, and was so extremely exhausted from traveling as a duo and not getting enough sleep.  >.<  (so sorry Nashvillians!!)

The show in Decatur, GA ended up being sooooo much fun!  The best way to end my tour!  But by the end of the night I had a splitting headache from fighting my cold, and just being tired after the show and doing a very long -- and wonderful -- meet & greet afterwards.  My school friend offered to adjust my neck to help with my headache.  I would do anything to feel better!  About 1 hour after he adjusted me, my headache was gone... and so was my cold!!!!  I had no idea chiropractics could help in this way!  I'm sold!!

Then, to Pennsylvania I flew!

On Sunday, my family and I went to my old high school to play some tennis.  The place was empty, so we had the whole court to ourselves!  But then... a black truck arrived and parked next to our car.  Their engine was idling for a while, and we were starting to wonder what they were doing.  Their windows were tinted, so we couldn't see who was inside.  It was quite mysterious.  Finally they turned their engine off, and lo and behold, an Amish-Mennonite family emerged!  They were coming to play tennis too!  About 4 more black vehicles pulled up, and soon we were sharing the courts with about 30 Amish-Mennonites!  Young girls running around barefoot and climbing fences in their long flower dresses and braided hair, teenage boys playing tennis in flannel shirts and jeans, and the elder men all in black with their white beards, and women in bonnets.  And then there was us.  It was a pretty amazing sight to see, as I've never really been in close proximity with Amish-Mennonites in public, even though they live in the area where I grew up!  About an hour later, they all packed up and left, and we looked at each other and were like, "What just happened??"

The Fall weather back home was cool, but not too cold, so we had a few campfires in the yard with hot apple cider and korean sweet potatoes from the garden.

By the end of my trip, the leaves were really starting to turn.  The drive to the Philly airport was breathtaking!  And luckily, I returned to a much cooler L.A., where I'll start dusting off my soup cookbooks and start writing new songs again.

Happy Autumn!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Things I've realized...

I'm leaving today for a short tour supporting my friend Amos Lee in the South.  No, not the South of Japan.  No, not South America.  The good ol' U.S. South!  It's very rare that I get to tour through these parts, so I'm pretty excited!  I think it's been about 5 years!  As I began to pack up my bags again for the road, I started reminiscing about how I packed for my 2 month trip in Japan.... and there were a lot of things I've realized since then.



For one, I brought way too many "activities" to do for fear of boredom:  Every free moment I had, I wanted to go outside, to see friends, to exercise, and yes, to shop!  My sewing project, my mini midi  keyboard, my recording headphones, my sketchbook and colored pencils all took a back burner on this trip.

Secondly, out of the 30 or so DVDs I brought with me, I only watched "Pom Poko", "The Office - UK version", and "Still Walking".  Then guess what I did?

I bought Season 6 of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and a few episodes of "Flight of the Conchords" to watch on my iPad.  Yes... instead of watching the DVDs I dragged all the way with me to Japan, taking up so much space in my suitcase, I bought TV show episodes and watched those instead.  The pattern I noticed is that when far from home,  and at the end of a long day, I crave comedy.  NOT movies such as "Sophie's Choice" or "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" (2 movies I actually brought with me).

Thirdly, I brought way too many books.  The only things I read on this trip were "The Dharma Bums", and lifestyle magazines I picked up from Tsutaya or Tower Records.  Again... instead of reading what I brought with me, I bought more things to take home.

Fourthly.... I brought way too many Lara Bars with me!  As if I thought I'd be stranded for hours with no food and low blood sugar or something!  I brought them with me everywhere, but never wanted to eat them ever.  I was constantly sampling new snacks and treats left and right.  And who needs an energy bar when you can eat onigiri from any convenient store on practically every block?!  So I had about 20 of those to take back home with me.  :/

I also brought way too many vitamins.  Or maybe I just didn't take enough vitamins.  I did not buy more vitamins.

Oh, and I brought too many postcards with me in hopes of writing back home.  In fact, by "too many", I mean 1 too many, because in reality, I mailed 0 postcards while I was in Japan.  And why would I bring my own postcards when I can get fun ones from there??  I approached it all completely wrong....  (I did buy some super cool postcards designed by Yurio Seki!)

For this tour, I'll leave the "projects", survival snacks, and one-too-many books at home, and save some space for more goodies to bring back home.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Desert Nights - "Legends Of The Canyon"

I'm doing a mini performance this Wednesday at Desert Nights at The Standard Hotel in Hollywood.  The performance will be from 7:15p - 7:45, followed by a screening of the documentary film "Legends of the Canyon", with special guest (and hero/friend) Henry Diltz.

The show is free and all ages, so it should be a good time!  


Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Room with a View

Both of my trips to Tokyo this Summer had me staying at the same hotel, and in the exact the same room!  I'd find myself taking a picture of the view from different angles, and different parts of the hotel almost every day.  I was in awe at how the sky and the light reflected on the city changed every day and throughout the day.

I'm already looking forward to coming back in December!  I'll do a separate post on that!

p. a.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"じゃね" for now...

My last full day in Japan was in Tokyo, when a bit of the typhoon hit.  It was misty and cloudy all day.  Luckily, right before I left for the wrap party, the clouds cleared into this magical, moody, emotional skyscape.

The party was beyond words.  So many wonderful people who I met through this experience, and whom I'll never forget were there.  People who have literally changed my life and made some of my biggest, most impossible dreams come true!  Everyone treated me with such genuine love and kindness.  It really is such an honor to have been able to work with this team, this Studio, this film!

The night of the party was Sara Takatsuki's 17th birthday!  Here she is looking adorable with her cake from a few days before.  She is like a little sister to me, who I look up to and respect.  I learned so much from her on this tour.

Here I am giving my long speech at the party, standing in front of the "Good Bye" illustration by Toshio Suzuki!

Everyone I worked with on the tour signed little 'tanabata' with farewell messages on this "still" photo from "When Marnie Was There".  I was so moved by this.

Kaonashi, drawn by its creator, singing "Fine On The Outside"!  After this party, we had a small Karaoke hang, that went until 4am.  I'll never forget this night!  

As the airplane took off, my heart was breaking a little, and I couldn't stop the tears from coming.
I'd only had this feeling before when leaving my family in Korea.  But it truly felt like I was leaving another family, there in Japan.  I don't know when I'll get the chance to see all these beautiful people again.  But I cherish them in my life, and will never ever forget them.

A few hours later, I was greeted with a glimpse of the super Moon across the horizon.

And on a happier note, I'll be back in Japan in less than a month!  haha!  To perform on NHK's "Asaichi" morning TV program, to promote the new theme song I wrote for Season 2 of "Soko wo nantoka", and record a new song with Toshiaki Matsumoto for "Minna no Uta".  I hope this means I'll get to keep coming back again and again!


p. a. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Yohei Taneda Exhibition

I've had the honor of performing at Yohei Taneda-san's "思い出のマーニー"  ["When Marnie Was There"] Exhibition tonight, alongside Takatsugu Muramatsu-san, accompanying on piano!  I look up to these 2 people very much.  They are both one-of-a-kind, incredible talents!

If you've seen the movie already -- or even if you haven't -- you should really see this exhibition while you still can!!  The intricate detail and thought that Taneda-san and his team put into this exhibition is so captivating from start to finish.  Photography is not allowed inside, but I was given very special permission to post photos from the inside to share with all of you!!!  These photos only show a few of the highlights to see when you go in person, and of course it doesn't quite capture all the detail and the actual 'feeling' of being there.  There really is a feeling there... the smell of the wood, the wind in the silo!  Please check this exhibition out in person while you still can!

SPOILER ALERT!!!  If you are planning on visiting the museum... maybe don't look at these photos!  Because it really was so eye-opening to be surprised by every new room, you may want to wait to see it in person first!

July 27 - September 15

Original drawings on display by Taneda-san as well as the Director, Hiromasa Yonebayashi-san.

It really feels like you're there in the Marsh House.

Beautiful hand-drawn wallpaper design

Amazing 3-D replicas of scenes with holograms and day to night changes!

Anna's Memories Room

Here is an original edition of "When Marnie Was There", found in a library in Santa Monica -- of all places!

With Takatsugu Muramatsu-san ~ Film Composer Extraordinaire

With Yohei Taneda-san ~ Art Director and Production Design Genius

From Marnie's Room, with Love,

p. a.