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" My parents played the radio, but music was never an obsession or something that I thought I could call a career. "
" My whole drive is to make sure that music is a common space where we search for beauty and share it. It needs to be louder than any conversation. That's where we have to go as a human race. "
" I've noticed that the more I open up, the more I learn. "
" As a child, I went to peace and ERA marches on the back of my mom and grandmother. Through them I learned that I wanted to find a way to make the world a more kind, compassionate place. "
" I was born in Evanston, Illinois. I spent my elementary and part of my junior high school years in a D.C. suburb. And then I spent my high school years in Minnesota. And then I spent my college years in Colorado. And then I spent some time living in China. And then I spent three years in Vermont before moving down to Nashville. "
" I sang in a reggae band. And then there was a soul band where I sang back-up vocals and some lead. And I was also in a women's a capella group. And I was in the gospel choir at school. Actually, I've always been in choirs. Or some kind of group. Just because I love singing so much. But I truthfully never thought of it as a career. "
" I have a general sense of mission, and I intuitively know when something is influencing that mission. I think this is what I'm supposed to be doing. Doors keep opening. In the end, it's the best use of my skills. I've finally consented to the idea that I'm an artist. "
" I played piano and was always in the choir. I tried to play flute because all the pretty girls played flute. "
" I reside in a new colony for the Chinese-singing banjo player, with a population of one. At least I have something I have to do with my life. "
" I would say I've always lived creativity, but now I - I do it with an intention that's got a completely different power. "
" In China, I realized that if you visit often enough and learn the language, you will be assimilated, but you'll still be kept at arm's length; you'll always be looked on as a foreigner. "
" Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech always sends me down some path, some trajectory of some creative idea. "
" When I first started playing the banjo and miraculously fell into a record deal in Nashville, TN, there was a period when I didn't go to China. It hurt. Like a pain in my gut... that pain you feel when you know it's time to connect with your parents or your God or your child or your past or your future... and you don't do it. "
" For most Americans, my Chinese music feels like a novelty, and it's not what it is for me. "
" I'm, I guess you could say, the Chinese-speaking, banjo-picking girl. "
" I've moved around so much my whole life, and I've gotten so used to being the Other in situations - the foreigner, the outsider. The first time I've ever felt like there was no separation between me and the other elements was in music. "
" I really believe in the power of music. "
" One thing I carried my whole life, especially from my grandparents in Chicago, was a huge idealism for the world. "
" I do get around. Geographically, that is. "
" 'Halo' I wrote with my grandpa in his nursing home. When I went to visit him, he'd often comment on my halo. But of course, I couldn't see. And he always - he had pictures of Jesus with these beautiful halos. And so I asked him if he'd write a song with me about Jesus' halo. "
" Whenever I visited China in the past, the relationships always felt superficial; there was no time where I felt those moments of conflict and delight that make you feel close to another person. But since I started touring there in 2004, I would always collaborate with local musicians, and that opened up a new level of intimacy. "
" In some ways, in the U.S. we don't know how to be. I think in a lot of ways America is about liberation and about change and progressive human relations. And because of that, I feel like that we're confused about who we're supposed to be and what it is that's supposed to satisfy us and make us feel fulfilled. "
" I feel like the one insight that's extremely comforting to me about the world is that we all share the same pool of emotion that we draw from. "
" I feel like my kind of music is a big pot of different spices. It's a soup with all kinds of ingredients in it. "
" You can enjoy many different types of music. I think that's something more Americans should think about. "