‘Hello’ Taiwan!

Hello_albumcover

Hello! Dawen here. When I wrote this I was blogging from thousands of feet up in the air, somewhere across the Pacific.  I can’t even begin to describe how it feels to be returning home to the States after being away for nearly two years. On Tuesday March 25th I’ll be joining Canadian singer-songwriter Wanting in Seattle, as part of the West Coast leg of her Say The Words Tour. We kicked it off in Los Angeles and continued to San Francisco and then Portland by tour bus.

Wantingtour
So how on earth did I get here?  It seems so unreal to me sometimes when I think about it. The short end of it: About three years ago, famed Taiwanese music producer Adia saw my cover of Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are” (produced by my brother George Wang) on YouTube and passed it along to Universal Music Taiwan.  Universal Music then contacted me through YouTube to ask about my musical background. You can imagine how skeptical I was when I first received a message like that —  a short one sent through YouTube from someone claiming to be Universal. I thought it was a joke, initially. I soon realized that the inquiry was legitimate, and after extensive video chats and a trip to Taipei, I signed with Universal Music Taiwan in 2012.

Upon arriving in Taipei, the first thing I did was enroll in Chinese language class. Although I considered myself bilingual, I quickly realized that my conversational vocabulary was seriously lacking. And if my goal was to someday write lyrics as well as music in Chinese, I would have to improve my speaking and writing comprehension. I went to school for six months, all the while working to expand my fluency.  The following year was a series of personal and cultural developments that culminated in my debut Mandarin album Hello (Nihao) on Christmas Eve of last year.

Universal Taiwan

Hello is distinctly different from my indie album American Me. Nine of the album’s ten songs were written after moving to Taiwan and are in Mandarin. Writing in Mandarin also meant that I had to completely reconsider how I think about melody and how it relates to culture. At first I would write in English and translate it to Chinese, but often the result wasn’t very good — so I abandoned that method very early on (which goes to show that just because something sounds good in English, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will sound good in another language).

The title track ‘Hello’ was the first time I ever tried writing completely in Chinese, and you can hear how rudimentary and direct the lyrics are.  😉  Musically, Hello features more acoustic Pop, in contrast to the R&B /Soul of American MeHello is not a complete 180 though, in terms of style. ‘Acid Rain’ features a groove that is very much in the vein of American Me, and my song ‘Shoes’ (the only English language track on the album) that I wrote for Kollaboration Acoustic 4 back in 2010  — was finally recorded and points to my earlier jazz-influenced piano style.

Dawen王大文-1

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I do want to acknowledge how important the Asian American community has been to me and how grateful I am to each and every one of you who have supported me from all the beginning. A particular shout out goes to the blogosphere: Bicoastal Bitchin’, AngryAsianMan, 8Asians, A-Tunes, not to mention my fam at TaiwaneseAmerican.org, Kollaboration and Tuesday Night Project!! I love you guys and can’t wait to see you all.

Hello is out on iTunes and Spotify, so give it a listen when you get the chance. The other person I want to acknowledge is my older brother George. In addition to knowing me for as long as I’ve been alive, Geh has been my best friend and number one supporter, as well witness to all the past highs and lows. It’s safe to say that if he didn’t light that fire under my ass I would not be on this flight coming home. I couldn’t wait to land at LAX, meet my brother, smother Sweet Pea the dog, and take my shoes off when I got in the door.

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Say You Heard My Echo: Kelly Tsai + YaliniDream + Adeeba Rana

BCB pal and spoken word diva Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, with fellow badasses YaliniDream and Adeeba Rana, will be performing the full theater production of Say You Heard My Echo Sept 12-16 in NYC:

What connects a Catholic burlesque dancer who survived the Twin Towers, a Buddhist Iraq war veteran and hip hop emcee who returns home, and a Muslim librarian whose family suffers detention and interrogation?

Say You Heard My Echo explores the lives of three fictional Asian American women in New York City a decade after 9/11. With choral poems, prayers, activist folk songs, and raps, the play weaves together the characters’ struggles with survivorship and faith and their intimate relationships with Mary Magdalene, Guan Yin, and Aisha.

Wed, Sept. 12 at 7 pm

Thurs, Sept. 13 at 7 pm

Fri, Sept. 14 at 7 pm

Sat, Sept. 15 at 2 pm & 7 pm

Sun, Sept. 16 at 2 pm

$18 General / $15 Students. Tickets here; More info here.

A KZYT performance is the truth, y’all. Go see it!

V3 Con: Vision, Visibility, Voice

 

Banana I & II is back (and thank Buddha they changed the name)…as the V3 Digital Media Conference! It’s going down August 25th in Los Angeles, and will feature awesome folks like Angry Asian Man Phil Yu, actor & Thick Dumpling Skin co-founder Lynn Chen, APAs for Progress’ Curtis Chin, Disgrasian’s Jen Wang, and more speakers than you can shake a stick at. Official press release below:

The Asian American Bloggers Conference is Back in LA!
The “V3: Vision, Visibility, and Voice” Digital Media event will gather Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in the digital space, and strengthen the reach of the AAPI online community

Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) digital journalists, bloggers, and social media communicators nationwide will attend the “V3: Vision, Visibility, Voice” Digital Media Conference (V3con) on Aug. 24-25, 2012 at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. To kick off the event, an awards reception will be held Friday, Aug. 24, 2012 at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, Calif. The conference aims to showcase AAPIs in the digital space and build a stronger online community.

V3con, presented by the Asian American Journalists Association’s Los Angeles chapter (AAJA-LA), is the sequel to the Banana Asian American bloggers conferences in 2009 and 2011. The event has been expanded to include all forms of digital media, highlighting multi-platform AAPI communications in a one-day conference setting with interactive panels and workshops. V3con also will offer conference attendees unique “bloggable” experiences such as cooking and makeup demonstrations, tours of museums and historical areas near the venues, a bloggers showcase and much more.

“AAJA-LA is excited to bring to V3con some of the top names in Asian American journalism and highly influential communicators in digital media. The media landscape has shifted dramatically in emphasis, impact and resources with the rise of digital media. With this trend, AAPIs have emerged quickly and prominently on the digital media scene. V3 aims to highlight the vision, visibility and voice of AAPIs online,” said Joz Wang, creator and executive director of V3con and president of AAJA-LA.

Studies from the Pew Research Center found that 87 percent of AAPIs used the Internet every day, more than any other major demographic group. AAPIs also visit Twitter and WordPress more than other demographic groups. This data is reflected in the popularity of bloggers and vloggers online – of the 20 most-subscribed-to channels on YouTube three belong to AAPIs: Ryan Higa, with 5.2 million followers; Kevin Wu (KevJumba), with 2.3 million followers; and Michelle Phan, who has 1.9 million followers.

“We’re not just going to wait around to get represented in mainstream media. We’re looking for other avenues to get our voice out there. V3con is a place to share this vision, visibility and voice, and to strategize further on how to push the pedal to the medal at full throttle,” said Lac Su, author of “I Love Yous Are for White People” and one of the original founders of the Banana bloggers conference in 2009.

This year’s conference features YouTube sensations David Choi and Clara Chung; news anchors Frank Buckley, Susan Hirasuna and David Ono; Lela Lee of Angry Little Asian Girls; Phil Yu of Angry Asian Man; Jeff Yang, columnist for The Wall Street Journal;and film producer Teddy Zee. The panels will include topics such as AAPIs in mainstream media and on YouTube, food blogging, trendsetting in beauty and fashion, utilizing digital media in nonprofit and healthcare realms, anime and manga in the digital space, journalism vs. blogging, and covering sports in the social media era. It will also include an introductory workshop to various social media and blogging tools such as WordPress, Tumblr, Posterous and more.

V3con is presented by AAJA-LA, IW Group, Inc., and the organizers of the Banana bloggers conferences of 2009 and 2011. The conference is sponsored by Verizon Wireless, Comcast/NBC Universal, AARP, CBS, McDonald’s, Union Bank, and Wells Fargo, with in-kind donations from the Japanese American National Museum, Pacific Asia Museum, Panda Restaurant Group, Coca-Cola, Primo and Glaceau Smartwater.

More details, including program, speakers and registration, can be found online at www.v3con.com.

JK POP! Ticket Giveaway!

To all our Seattle-area readers: Bicoastal Bitchin wants to send you (+1!) to JK POP! on Thursday, August 2nd at Barboza. JK POP! is Seattle’s only J-pop & K-pop dance party and it is good times! Just looky here:

Did you see that butt grab at 0:16!? This could be you!

To enter, simply follow @jkpopnight on Twitter and tweet:

“@BicoastalBitchn wants to send me to @jkpopnight for free!”

JK POP! will notify a winner on Wednesday, August 1st, so get your tweet in before then. You must be 21+ (sorry, kids!).

Full event details here.

Korean Zombie UFC Fight & BCB Live Tweet!

photo via The Korean Zombie Warwagon facebook page

Tonight, fan favorite Chan Sung Jung — aka ‘The Korean Zombie’ — will be facing off against Dustin Poirier for the chance to challenge current featherweight champion José Aldo.

BCB will be live tweeting the event (#KoreanZombie) with observations on the skill, prowess, and pleasing homoeroticism of the fight. Since Cbruhs is only equipped to comment on the latter, she will be assisted by MMA aficionado Louie Gong with remarks that actually relate to the sport. Holla back at us @Bicoastalbitchn!

And although the plethora of versions (and legal battles) of the popular ‘Korean Zombie’ t-shirt could make your head spin, the Korean Zombie himself recommends you get one here.

First fights start at 8 pm EDT/5 pm PST on Fuel TV 3.

Thanks Ben and Louie!

BCB Twatter here

Friday Fuckery: For the Love of Newsies

A preview of the much-anticipated Broadway production of Newsies recently aired on Good Morning America...and there’s an Asian dude, who gets considerable stage time! (Apparently there was a mixed Asian actor in the original movie — Kevin Alexander Stea — who played “Swifty the Rake”. I wish people still had names like that).

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Newsies has a special place in American musical history, and in the hearts of many ladies of…a certain age. While many girls migrated to New York in the ’00s chasing Sex And The City fever dreams, me and my best buds were hitching our wagons to a brighter star: Newsies. We knew the words to every song and had no hesitation busting out a multi-part “King of New York” on the 6 train or screaming out “The Delancey Bwuddas!” when approaching the Lower East Side.

We shopped voraciously for newsboy caps and dessed as a gang of Newsies for Halloween — on multiple occasions — including that one year in Boston I spotted the one other guy at the bar also dressed as a Newsie and was convinced we were soul mates until his girlfriend the sexy nurse crippled me with her death stare. My Newsie friends were there to soothe my broken heart by whispering: Well, dat’s da foist thing ya gotta learn – headlines don’t sell papes. Newsies sell papes.

Which is why, even if I feel nothing could ever measure up to the original, I still plan to shell out a ridiculous amount of money to see grown ass men in short pants twirl around on papes. Especially that Asian newsie with the juicy butt.

For SooJooBa and Char Char (who recognized Kevin Alexander Stea as a Madonna dance captain and cast member of Naked Guys Singing. Yowza!)

Hey bummas, we’se got work to do!
Since when did you become me mudda?

Check out Jezebel‘s excellent take on Newsies here.