By Mimi Chen, AsAmNews Staff Writer
Korean American Priscilla Ahn broke into the music world over a decade ago, under the Blue Note record label, captivating people with her sweet delicate voice which bordered the gap between folk, pop and country. But five years ago, when her first child was born, she shut down the musical part of herself.
Except for recording a children’s album when she was pregnant, Ahn focused on her role as a mother. She even seriously considered changing careers. But when she was pregnant with her second son, apparently, something “triggered inside her, “Ahn said, “I was, like, oh, I think I just want a piece of my old identity back!”
Although she said that taking the long break from music plagued her with doubts as to her relevance, it was actually social media which helped her attain a realization she was still very much an inspiration to her fans.
Ahn said reading the fan messages she was receiving thru a newly acquired interest in her Instagram account made her realize, “Oh my gosh, my music really helps people. And I’ve always wanted to do something that helps people because when I was thinking about a career change, I was like, maybe I’ll be a therapist or something that could work with children. And now I’m realizing that my music kind of plays that role.“
Her reinvigorated interest in music has since inspired her to write and record new songs. She is set to release an EP at the end of this month, although two singles from the EP have already been released. The first one is called You Make the World a Better Place. written by Benji Hughes. “It just filled me with such a warm, fuzzy, positive feeling,” said Ahn, “You know, the chorus says ‘you make the world a better place,’ and it’s sung in this beautiful melody that just like reminded me of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.”
Her second song is called Waiting written with Semisonic band member Dan Wilson. Written before the Pandemic, it was prophetic according to Ahn, who said, “people who listen can relate as it talks about ‘waiting ‘ to reconnect with your loved ones.”
Meanwhile, life is hectic when you are trying to be creative with two children underfoot, says Ahn. She talked about how she altered her songwriting process, to accommodate a fussy baby waking up in the middle of the night. Instead of rocking her baby to sleep, she decided she would just let him be and let him crawl next to her. “He was so happy to just be hanging out,” she said, “I just picked up this little guitar I had, started writing a song and then I needed to finish the song at one point. So I took him on a walk carrying him and thought about the song and the rest of the melody, on my walk. And for me, it was a real discovery of how to write in a different way.”
Ahn is hopeful to pick up a touring schedule when the pandemic permits, especially in Asia as touring in the US is much more “grueling.”
You can hear Ahn every Wednesday 10AM via her Instagram account, livestreaming music for children. And perhaps for the older children inside of us as well!
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