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Article :: Interview with Maggie Lee

by staff writer ray hom     

Q: First, for those that slept — In one sentence, tell us who Maggie Lee is.

A: TRICK QUESTION!! Hmmm… one sentence… that is hard! Maggie Lee is a hard working person who is trying to pursue her dream. (Of course, you can’t really get to know a person by one sentence.)

Q: According to your bio, your father was in the music scene and he was your main influence to become a singer. How important is parental influence for you? Generally, young, Asian Americans have a hard time convincing their parents when they wish to pursue a career in the arts and entertainment industry. Traditionally, they are pushed to become doctors, business majors, etc. Are your parents supportive in your career choice?

A: Yeah, I know that happens to many of my Asian friends. They are always shock to hear that my parents are not having problems with me pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. My father was always in the music biz (in HK) already, and HIS father had a HUGE HUGE problem with him doing that. So I guess he understands how it feels to do something you’re passionately in love with. Parental influence and support are very important to me. I think if my parents were the kind of people who only wants their kids to be doctors/lawyers… then it would’ve been very hard for me to get into music. So I thank my parents for their love in music!

Q: American entertainers of Asian descent are still in a struggle for mainstream recognition. Do you believe that opportunities are expanding? And do you have any inspirational words to young Asian Americans who want to be part of the entertainment industry?

A: I think the opportunities for Asian Americans are definitely expanding right now. Don’t you notice there are a lot more Asian models and faces on magazine ads and commercials? I know there are many young Asian Americans who are extremely talented and dying to be a part of the entertainment industry. If more and more people would open up and show their amazing abilities, I KNOW there would be so many more Asian artists out very soon. Do what you want to do. If your dream is to be apart of the entertainment scene, then go for it! Before you regret it when you get too old. Haha!

Q: You wanted to be a singer in HK but decided to stay here and attend school based on a scholarship you received. Therefore, you choose to singin English. Did that make a difference on how you approach your music?

A: Nah, not really. Staying here, I’m still expressing my feelings through music, but only through another language. Singing in English has always been something that I’ve been doing ever since I learned the language. So I can’t really say that I CHOSE to sing in English because I chose to stay here. HOWEVER, I’m very glad that I decided to go to college, because I’m getting a degree and also doing something I love at the same time. It’s a smart move to go to COLLEGE!

Q: Besides your father, there must have been others in the industries that have inspired you. Who are your favorite singers and how have they inspired you to become whom you are? Do you have any other heroes you would like to mention? Besides being a singer, have you other aspirations?

A: Oh yeah, there are many people who have inspired me. Rodney Jerkins, Madonna, Jewel, Faye Wong, Utata Hikkaru, Nelly Furtado, Destiny’s Child… ahhh… the list goes on!! Many of them struggled through many difficulties to get to where they are right now. I am inspired by people’s consistency and their strengths. Ming Na Wen is very respectable as well. She is now doing many charity events, as I have heard. I think that is a very heroic thing to do. GO MING NA!

I have so many other aspirations. I am very serious about being a song writer. I know I want to become a professional song writer in the long run and I just became a member of ASCAP!! I am also majoring in marketing at UCF. I want to one day market other artist and help them achieve their dreams. Besides that, I do a little photography! Let me take your pictures, ray!

Q: Let’s delve into the everyday life of Maggie Lee. How has it been growing up Asian in America, especially in Florida? Comparably living in your early childhood to your teen years, do you miss HK?

A: Ohhh… man. Okay, when I first came here (I was ten), it was extremely hard… because I didn’t know what the heck was going on. I thought I would get to play with new friends and get along with them just fine. BOY, WAS I WRONG. Almost everyone in class made fun of me for being FOBBY. And there weren’t many Asian kids at school… so I was kind of all alone. I missed HK the MOST back then. But I wasn’t TOO quiet… I still made my best effort to learn the language… (I asked 10 million questions to the teachers.) It just got on my nerves sooooo much that I didn’t understand what everyone was talking about. So it took a few years for me to adjust. Yes, I do miss HK.

Q: What type of message, if any, are you sending through your music? Are they personal experiences? I notice you have titles like “Don’t Lie To Me” and “Done With You”. Is “trust” a common theme among the songs you write?

A: Many of the songs are personal experiences, but just with a little MORE to it. It’s like… once I get into a topic or a theme… I can come up with details and other things to it. Those details are sometimes just made up. (CREATIVE MAGGIE!) I don’t know why the titles are always so negative! It just so happens that these songs are negative and about love. I have many other songs that are about different things… The “trust” theme isn’t really a main theme of all my songs. Just at the moment it was, I guess.

Q: What is your philosophy of music in contrast to life?

A: You play the notes you want, and get the sound that you are craving to hear. You create the music that comes out. Life is the same… you choose your own paths to achieve the goals you want in life. There are no rules on how you can do them both. It really is your choice. But you have to work hard and be determined for a good outcome.

Q: Promote yourself. When is your first single and your first album expected to be released?

A: I am currently recording with a few music engineers here in Orlando. I plan to release an independent album locally here in Orlando. That’s all I can tell you! Just stay tune and check the updates!

Q: Finally, a simple question — In one sentence, describe what Maggie Lee wants to be recognized for in the long run.

A: I live a happy life. In the long run, after all the craziness in life… I just wanna know that I was happy through most of my life. There was no regret. Of course I would want to be recognized for an artist, singer/song writer… or more. But when it comes down to the end of it, it’s all about being happy right?

Check out Maggie Lee’s website

All images and music copyright © 2002 Maggie Lee. All rights reserved.
asianmall.com in partnership with maggielee.com

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