Lijie is an upcoming singer-songwriter who is currently living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Despite Lijie’s increasingly hectic schedule we managed to get in touch and were really happy when she completed an interview with Song Revelation. Read the entire interview below where Lijie discusses her musical background, which current artists she is inspired by and what she does to relax when not working.
Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?
In a perfect world, Fiona Apple meets John Mayer. A blend of soul, blues and pop.
Q: What is your musical background?
I did not grow up in an artistic family; neither of my parents play an instrument (which is so funny that they put me in piano lessons later on, maybe it’s an Asian thing). When we first moved to the U.S., I would watch The Sound of Music. I loved the story and the songs, and must have watched it at least a hundred times over the course of a summer, which also helped me learn English. It was the best babysitter. Around age eight, I started piano lessons. Dad would make me practice piano and I hated it. But then I started writing songs on piano, and also really bad poetry. It wasn’t until college that I began fumbling around with a guitar, because a roommate brought a guitar into our room and never played it. I wrote a song on that guitar using two or three strings but didn’t think much of it. Writing songs was just something I did as a hobby, and now it’s an obsession. I went to music school for a few semesters, and a guitar teacher there got me into electric guitar. It’s an intimidating instrument, because once you pick up an electric guitar, there is this expectation that you have to rock out or play fast. I hope this answer makes sense. Did I answer the question?
Q: How have the last 12 months been for you?
The last 12 months have been really good. I feel a little braver, and more comfortable being uncomfortable. A year ago in May, I was living in Seattle with my family and playing gigs and spending most of my downtime with family. It was a comfortable life. Then one of my best friends from music school got an internship in New York for the summer, and she invited me to visit her in NYC. During that visit, I knew I had to stay in New York but I was scared. The night before I was supposed to fly back to Seattle, I slept on a couch and cried, because I knew I wouldn’t see my family for a while. And now it’s almost a year later, and I’m living in Brooklyn and I love it. The last 12 months have been an adventure, to say the least.
Q: Who inspires you musically?
The list is long…I’ll just name a few. I love how Fiona Apple writes, lyrically and melodically. Her songs have so much depth, and yet I never feel like she writes over people’s heads. Ok, maybe sometimes she does, but her songs are still marvelous. She has angst to her, which I love. The Beatles – timeless songs and lots of harmonies. The songs sound simple, and some are, but many songs are actually very intricate – they just did a great job making it SOUND simple. Amazing. John Mayer and Jimi Hendrix, they both rock so hard on guitar it makes me want to laugh and vomit at the same time because I can’t believe what they do is possible! And lately I’ve been listening to more classical music, like the Debussy Pandora station and Mozart. It makes me feel smart (key word here is feel).
Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?
In no particular order: Fiona Apple, Coldplay, John Mayer, Barcelona (from Seattle), Kelly Clarkson, Rachael Yamagata, and AJ Rafael
Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?
How much time do we have? Everyone listed above and so many others! I can’t list all of the artists I would love to collaborate/gig with because what if I leave someone out? I’ve always had a wish to score a film
Q: What songs are you listening to at the moment?
1) Rush of Blood to the Head – live in Sydney
2) Moses – live in Sydney
3) The One I Love – live in Sydney
4) Beautiful Escape – AJ Rafael
5) Video Games – Lana Del Rey
6) Slipping Away – Barcelona
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
I’m assuming this refers to a recorded track. You would think I have a methodical process, but I don’t. Not an insightful answer I’m afraid, but I usually write the song first and then build the instruments around the song. The approach for each song varies. For some songs, all you need is one instrument (like piano or guitar) and vocals. For other songs, the production is an integral part of the overall sound, so you have to do quite a bit of experimenting and layering.
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
What’s more important, legs or arms?
Q: What are you currently working on?
I’m always writing. For any writer, even when you’re not writing, the ideas are incubating. And I’ve been rehearsing with a band, which I haven’t done in awhile. In a way it’s like dating. If you’re used to being single, you have to get used to being in a relationship. I think I drive the guys crazy sometimes, but they’re teaching me to trust the creative process when we’re rehearsing.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
The first thing that comes to mind was the moment my Kickstarter project was funded. I think for any artist that’s done Kickstarter, the moment you realize your project has been funded is an amazing feeling. And it’s not about the money. Just knowing that there are people who believe in you and who are willing to help you make more art, more music, that is wild. I remember yelling up and down my parent’s house, you would’ve thought that I discovered a new planet or something.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in over the next 12 months?
For this question, I will plead the fifth. Some things are sacred, and if I revealed some of my hopes and dreams, people would look at me like I am crazy (which I am. Who isn’t?).
Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?
My band and I will be performing every second Friday at the Greenpoint Gallery in Brooklyn (390 McGuiness). Come join us! It’s this cool artistic venue in Brooklyn with local art on the walls and an upstairs bar. There’s even a family of dogs, they’re beautiful and white (maybe a husky/wolf mix, I can’t remember exactly), and the Gallery just embodies exactly what I’ve always imagined a Brooklyn art gallery to be like.
Q: What do you do to relax?
The most indulgent thing…I love watching movies. And sometimes I play a pop-the-bubble game on my cellphone, it helps me zone out. Now that the weather is finally getting better, I’m looking forward to riding my bike more often and actually seeing the city from above ground. It’s funny when you walk by a landmark that you only know from below ground as a subway stop, and you think to yourself “Ooooh, so that’s what the museum looks like!”
Q: Where would your favourite holiday (vacation) be and why?
My parents have never been to Europe, and Dad really enjoys wine. So I would have to say Italy. I would love to go to Italy with family and eat el dente pasta, drink Italian wine, and just enjoy the city. Doesn’t that sound amazing?!
Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for new or aspiring musicians what would it be?
This is definitely the toughest question, because so many answers and inspirational quotes pop into mind (I have a thing for inspirational quotes). I’ve been given some great advice, and I’ve always loved this one: Do it for the love of it. If you can’t imagine life without making music, then make music until your very last breath. And make the best music you can squeeze out of yourself. When you write, pour yourself, your truth, into the song. People cannot help but be drawn to truth. Write about everything, write bad songs, write great songs. Listen to your favorite artists until they’re so overplayed you can’t listen anymore. If you do it for the love of it, then there’s no other motive but to make great music. And that’s what will ring true to others.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
This is not related to music, but if you haven’t seen Shawshank Redemption, well, you simply must. It is a beautiful film and one of the best ways to spend two hours.
Editor’s Note: Lijie has a unique vocal that is both soulful and memorable. We’re looking forward to new material with anticipation at Song Revelation.
If you’d like to learn more about or get in touch with Lijie just follow the links below:
YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/lijie
Any Other Links:
I think that’s enough links for now * If you would like FREE SONGS,
send an email to music@iamLijie.com with TITLE: “Would love free tracks! *