GS: Tell us a little about your new album?
LL: My latest album, Revolutionary centers around the themes of change, identity and God's unconditional love. I worked with an amazing producer, Derek Nakamoto, who has worked closely with Keiko Matsui and Hiroshima. Derek brought in so many top session musicians, I was deeply humbled by the experience and talent.
GS: How is it different from your other albums?
LL: For one, I think the production quality and musicianship has been the best so far. Thematically, I really explored my identity through the songs more than I had in the past.
GS: What projects are you currently working on?
LL: I'm currently composing music for a new musical entitled, "Lady of Joy" written by author CY Lee, who wrote "Flower Drum Song." It's such an honor to be working alongside a literary legend and Chinese-Am pioneer. I plan on writing more new music in the coming months for a new album as well.
GS: Are you currently touring or do you have plans to tour soon?
LL: I'm heading to Hawaii in Sept. for a couple of concerts. I need to hit Canada and Australia at some point in the next several months to promote my album there. I'm trying to work on an East Coast trip as well. Since I'm working on the musical and new songs, I have to balance being here in my studio and being on the road.
GS: Where does your song-writing inspiration come from?
LL: I get my inspiration from so many sources. Obviously, personal experiences and emotions. I write a lot about other people and what I've observed in their lives such as in my song "Waiting for Desiree". The song is about a woman I met who had made some bad choices in life and was trying to turn it around and looking for faith. Things that are important to me such as relationships in general and my strong faith in God are reflected in my music.
Photo Courtesy Larissa Lam
GS: Paint a picture of your early childhood for us.
LL: I was an only child growing up in the Walnut/Diamond Bar, CA area. Because I had no siblings I had a very overactive imagination. I would spend hours in my room imagining my stuffed animals and Barbies as superheroes, each with their own alter-egos. I would read Garfield comic books, which I still do today. I was a sponge for pop culture and entertainment. I could tell time by flipping on the TV and seeing what show was on. I would sing along to every Madonna, Duran Duran and Go Gos song on the radio while dancing in front of the mirror.
GS: Do you have any siblings?
GS: What kind of student were you?
LL: Through most of my life I was a straight-A student.
GS: Describe your UCLA days
LL: It was great being independent and living with roommates. I had already committed to be in the music industry so I didn't have the pressures to make perfect grades. I don't remember classes and studying too much. I did fine in my classes though. I remember more of the social aspect. I developed deep friendships and certainly grew in my faith and self-awareness. I also learned a lot of painful lessons that would later fuel my songwriting.
GS: How did you get involved working for Polygram and Columbia?
LL: I saw an ad for Polygram while at UCLA. I had a friend working in Columbia who introduced me to the A&R Dept. and I worked for Randy Jackson, who was then VP of A&R.