Saturday, January 8, 2011

musical magic

amidst the soul searching and adventurous path i took in 2008, i had stumbled upon something which i had not found in a long time.


a girl named priscilla ahn from a town a bit west from philadelphia, decided that instead of going to college, she would instead go to los angeles with nothing but a guitar to pursue her dream.  ok, she probably went with something more than a guitar.  equally compelling was her half korean heritage, and though she probably had a lot of fans from koreans just because she was korean, i thought she was good enough to stand on her own.

after reading several magazine stories and listening to her music, i took it upon myself to drag my then roommate fred to a small radio studio in manhattan where she was doing a small interview and gig.

upon going to the event, i expected a lot of people to be there, but miraculously, it was just me, fred, and probably a few of priscilla's friends and the interview people.  after she performed her songs, which me and fred were around 10-15 feet away for, i had finally understood the concept of Greek mythological Sirens.  i was starstruck, and to top it off, it was an intimate setting where it was almost like we were the only audience.  it was in a word, awesome.  i convinced fred that we needed to take a picture with her before she became super famous and what not.

it would've been great, except i'm freaking awkward, so fml:

her voice alone is surprising, especially when you hear her speak.  she kind of actually sounds like how you would imagine a cali girl to sound, kind of on the ditsy side, etc.  but when she sings, it has this airy quality that i usually find annoying, but she makes it work because there's definite power that she has behind it.  she also is multitalented, playing a variety of instruments, and knows how to work a loop pedal to perfection.  and damn, if a girl lists some of her main influences as radiohead, sufjan stevens, pink floyd, and jeff buckley, you know she's got some taste as well.  i can definitely hear the influences in her music.  as folk music, her lyrics easily paint vivid images of her life and her experiences.

here's illa, doing work:

what got me is that she's around my age, or a little younger.  yet she had the balls to really do what she wanted, to pursue it even amidst the long odds against her, believing in herself fully to be able to take that leap of faith.  i guess that's a factor in what got the wheels turning in my head, a concept that i held onto, that maybe i could do something that great and inspiring with my life as well.

and she's an amazing live performer as well.  listening to her on stage is almost hypnotic, she knows how to really play to her strengths.  it's very good music to really lose yourself in.

my favorite tracks are still "dream", "rain", "wallflower" and "girl in a tree".  you can listen to some of those tracks here.  as she mentions in her blog, she's finishing up a new album soon, and i know i'll be checking it out asap.