Article Winston Hsu
Photo: Emily Cheng and Niko
Award-winning Taiwanese artist Joanna Wang is a singer-songwriter, composer, and music producer. The multi-talented musician grew up in Southern California and is one of the few female singer-songwriters that can perform in both Mandarin and English. Joanna released her debut album “Start from Here” in 2008 as a double-disc set, one in English and the other in Mandarin. The album reached #1 in Taiwan, and won numerous awards throughout Southeast Asia including 2009 Golden Melody Awards Best New Artist nomination. In New York, to perform at the CMJ Marathon 2013 at Webster Hall on October 18th, she represents Taiwan as one of three honorable representatives.
AsianInNY was able to arrange an exclusive interview with her before her performance and we were all very excited.
AsianInNY: Tell us more about your new music, the third album, “Galaxy Crisis: The Strangest Midnight Broadcast.”
Joanna Wang: Well, it’s more like a compact album. What I wanted to do was create a very colorful and spunky kind of universe, similar to a cartoon. I’ve always been influenced by video games and other mediums, so the songs are very cartoony. In my previous original album, “The Adventures of Bernie the Schoolboy,” it was more fantasy based it, like a fairytale. This time it’s the same concept except the tone of the music has the feeling from a video game and cartoon. It’s not as classy like a fairytale.
AsianInNY: Your new music video “Coin” was really interesting. It had the feel of Sesame Street with the puppets. How many people were behind this video shoot?
Joanna Wang: About 6 people, maybe. For the puppets, it my idea to have it sung by puppets because I wanted to do something that was really creative but within our limited budget.
AsianInNY: You mentioned that you like video games and comic books. Did you know New York Comic Con was last weekend? Did you attend the event?
Joanna Wang: I think it’s really hard to get into Comic Con. The tickets sell out quick every year. I really hope to experience it next time.
AsianInNY: Is this your first time in New York? Is there any place that you want to see or visit?
Joanna Wang: No, I have been to New York before because I visit my relatives who live here. I don’t know much about the area and the landmarks here; I really come to see and be with my family. It depends on my relatives.
AsianInNY: How many band members are with you for this CMJ performance?
Joanna Wang: I have four. Three of them are American, the other one is Japanese. It’s the perfect team.
AsianInNY: Do you have any expectations for your upcoming showcase on October 18th?
Joanna Wang: I’m very proud of my band. They’re amazing. I’m proud of my songs. As for expectations, it’s whatever happens on the journey. Whether we like it or not, its life and we’ll just continue growing as a group. These days, it’s hard to find a band that you can feel connected to and I’m fortunate to have one where we just work well together.
AsianInNY: Besides the showcase on that day, any other performance during CMJ you would like to visit? Or do you have any plans to visit any other music venues?
Joanna Wang: There is a party. My band reserved a club which a jazz musician. My favorite jazz musician is Jo gore. Even though, I don’t listen too much of jazz. I think jazz as a music genre is expanding.
AsianInNY: Do you have any ideas for your next album?
Joanna Wang: Yes, we’ve been working on one for a few weeks now; we’ve been mixing and mashing, and trying to find that sound. It’s tentatively titled “Midnight Cinema” and it’s the cover of the album.
AsianInNY: Do you want to say any words to the New York audience?
Joanna Wang: I really hope that I can share my love for music with the audience of New York. I’m proud to represent Taiwan and I hope you like what you hear. We had a delightful time talking with Joanna Wang and we cannot wait to see her back in New York and best of luck to Joanna of making the music she always wants to.
Below are the photos we took during her performance at CMJ Taiwan Showcase, her facial expressions went along with the mood of the songs. Talented Joanna also played the banjo and small pennywhistle.