Connie Lim is a powerhouse of sorts. She has been writing music since she was eight years old. To top it off Connie was also chosen as a top 60 contestant out of the 70,000 auditionees on NBC’s first season of The Voice, and has graced the Staples Center as a national anthem singer for The Clippers. She now empowers herself by booking tours all over the nation, sharing her solo performance from city to city to city. We sit down and talk about her tour, her upcoming music and the debut of her new song ‘More Than Real’. Read below for the full Q&A…
Hi Connie, congrats on your Kick Starter reaching its goal for your new full-length album!
Connie: Thank you so much! It was definitely an experience that challenged me. Kickstarter is an adventure that nobody can really predict, and it strangely quantifies an artist’s fandom, so it’s definitely an interesting challenge to take on. Team Limitless has been good to me; I’m so lucky.
In addition, you embark again on another tour. Could you tell us a bit about it and will we see a lot of shows outside of California? What can fans expect?
Connie: Yes, I just came back from the Midwest, and then go to San Francisco next week. I feel most alive when I’m on the move. I actually love living out of my suitcase. It feels free. The Midwest tour was in Minneapolis, Marshfield, and Chicago. The reason why I went out to the Midwest was because of the demand from twitter followers, and the invitation to perform a concert for the music loving community of Wisconsin, The Vox Concert Series. They have had artists like Tony Lucca come through to perform, and they love inviting indie singer/songwriters onto the scene. The people there treat me with open arms! When I played Minneapolis’ Dakota Jazz Lounge, 89.3 The Current even played my music to promote the show. People love live music out there, and love actively supporting it. I was even able to drop by a studio in a Minneapolis local legend Kevin Bowe, the incredible producer that discovered Jonny Lang. It was amazing.
As for future tour dates, I will be going back to the Midwest, and hope to visit the east coast again to promote my new album. Due to some backstage adjustments the album will be delayed till late Spring, so I’m really hoping for a killer summer tour. I also signed with new management, and we are planning to focus in on west coast as well, doing consistent shows, pulsing from LA, then outwards. It’s been a new years resolution for me to stay consistent, so I committed to a once a month residency ever 3rdSaturday at one of LA’s favorite venues, Witzend. In addition, there are some opportunities opening up in Asia, so I may very likely be heading out there in the very near future! More details to come as the road unravels.
Similar to how The Voice conduct auditions, as I was listening to you music….well honestly? When I first discovered your music, I was surprised to find you were Asian-American. Do you get that a lot?
[Laughs hard] Yes I do. I remember M Musicians Magazine reviewed my EP The Hunted, the editor called my music and voice Anglophilic. I totally didn’t expect that, but was not surprised either, since my musical heroes all seem to hail from the UK.
As an Asian-American, do you feel it is harder to reach an audience on a global level within the constraints of the music business?
Connie: To be honest, the only thing that creates constraints on my career in this industry is myself. I believe if I become a freer and more creatively open person, I will attract listeners and write better songs. If there is political bs that comes in the future, I know my music and honesty will break it.
What preparations go into performing or arranging a cover song versus original material?
Connie: Performing is a spiritual activity to me. From the days leading up to the performance, to the day of, to the days after. I feel most alive when I’m performing, because being on stage requires me to be in the most honest place. If I am feeling off, I have to work it out, and get into a place where I am ready to give to the audience.
Cover songs are definitely a fun project. Covers were not a natural thing for me, though. Music was always a very pure form of creating my own music right away. To be honest, it’s hard to sit through an entire Youtube video of somebody else’s song because by 40 seconds into it I’m itching to create another song from the inspiration that I draw from the track. I only do covers that inspire me at a core level. When I first started I was doing a lot of creative arrangement. I continue to do mashups and fun things like that. They help me grow as a writer. I am now embarking on learning the covers that my donors have requested, and it’ll be fun to release those! It’s interesting to do this while I’m working so much on crafting and stretching my originals. Writing originals is yet another spiritual experience. I try to be as open and egoless as possible, and allow for the creative joo joo to flow through me. I believe that there is a limitless amount of creative energy surrounding us; it’s the artist’s challenge to be the portal.
You are an advocate of old-school songwriting but signed to a non-traditional label. DigSin, allows subscribing fans to obtain music for free. How has this merger with DigSin impacted your music thus far?
Connie: Great question! The label has opened my eyes to the potential of social media. The people behind those twitter and facebook accounts are REAL and ready to interact on a sincere level. I have taken time to really open up and create genuine relationships. What is beautiful is that on the days that I am facing challenges, I always get a tweet or Facebook message that will cheer me up. I do this for fans. Period. Digsin has helped me also see the value in the single and the music video. I used to release material, but the releases were not as powerful with the way that we package singles through DigSin. The music videos are CRUCIAL. It’s my responsibility as an artist to create the visual feeling, to help the listener feel more of what the song is trying to communicate.
As for songwriting, needing to come up with singles for more impactful videos, I am focusing more on simple and hooky writing. It really pleases me when I can immediately and successfully communicate with the listener on a first listen. It pleases me even more when the song can communicate at a deeper level on the second listen.
Using the internet to successfully fund your newest album, how do you see the evolution of music being created and funded moving forward? Do you believe social media will soon be the gateway for more accessible projects to your fans?
Connie: Yes yes yes. The internet, combined with creativity and humility can create anything.
On the flipside you also participated in The Voice. Do you feel reality talent competitions are a progressive way to launch a music career in todays industry? Did you find it to be an overall positive experience?
Connie: I think reality TV competitions are good for helping an artist see the importance of story-telling. Ultimately those shows are used to create good TV ratings; the TV shows are not concerned with long-term artist careers. It’s always been this way: Artists want long-term, meaningful careers. Many business people, especially those who cater to a high-demand television industry, just want to make that money on the spot.
If artists go into these shows expecting to have the show launch their career, it could be possible. It just depends on what they define as launch. Any national exposure will increase numbers on facebook and twitter. Beyond that, though, success is up to artist, his/her management, and strategy. TV is just a place to put a magnifying glass for a brief second. People are so saturated with singing competitions that at this point, the show would be more as a learning experience than a chance to stardom.
List some of your favorite Asian films for us!
Now that your project will launch in 2013, could you let us in on a few secrets? Any guest appearances or collaborations you could tell us about on the new album?
Connie: If I did, I’d have to killll you [laughs]! The album is being created by me and another producer based in Toronto, along with some other producers that I have met throughout my journey in Los Angeles. We are doing everything via skype, dropbox, and email. I haven’t even met the guy in persona but we are making some incredible tracks. I am so excited!
Lastly, as a person who studied something different in college and came back around to persuing your dream, what advice do you have for other songwriters/musicians who might be having trouble finding their way?
Just. Keep. Going. Be confident, but be humble. Be yourself, but consider others. And say something familiar in an unfamiliar way. Remember to take vacations and laugh at yourself often. For those who are stuck in traffic often: the Jim Gaffigan station on Pandora keeps me sane and happy.
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