SXSW artist LIA LIA spills about her fashion inspo | INTERVIEW
Hey LIA LIA! Thanks so much for hanging with us today. We love your music! Could you first tell us a little about your musical influences and how they helped form your unique sound? Also, how old are you, and where are you from?
I grew up while listening and performing Chinese opera and choral preludes. I'm half Chinese, half German and grew up between Chengdu and a small town in Germany.
I'm old enough to get into the club lmao.
Fashion wise, who or what are you inspired by?
I always try to do something dark or edgy, but I somehow always end up with something cute...
I really don't know where I go wrong.
I love fashion, but I'm too poor to afford everything which is trendy, so I end up thrifting and putting things together myself. U know It's easy to stand out in a small town, but compared to some of my girlfriends now, I don't think my style is very original. So yea I'm kinda influenced by everything: by the internet, my girlfriends, strangers in the metro, movies and those mysterious Chinese fox woman from the ancient fairy tales.
My latest Obsession: The FW19 Collection of Julia Seemann
How old were you when you first started writing, are you signed, and if so to who? What was it like to get any form of help such as management/ labels/ pr ?
I started writing poems with 7, songs with 14 and producing with 19.
Writing to me is like seeing a movie in my head and trying to describe the situation to a stranger. The musical productions is like the sound track to the movie, directly injecting the whole mood and emotion into the body of the listener.
I wanted to finish my EP first (it's almost finished!) before signing, I already got a lot of support, but I wanted to develop my character and music first, before selling something which was still like a prototype and didn't show my whole vision. I want that people love the whole me, the whole LIA LIA universe and support me because of that.
I can't wait to finish the music and start planning the visual concept. It's going to be amazing, I'm so ready!
Was this your first time at SXSW? First time in Texas? What did you think of it?
It was a truly unique experience, I only stayed for two days so I didn't really had a chance to get to see much.
In the hotel we had waffles in the shape of Texas and on the second day the people who invited me to play wanted to go shooting, so I thought cool they want to play painTball or laser tech and I never had done that before... Well after a 3 hours car ride, I found myself on a ranch in the depth of Texas with barbecue, beer and a table full with guns. I guess I got the most Texan experience ever. I couldn't believe it.
What showcases did you play this year and who else was on the bill?
I've got spontaneously invited to play at Caotai Music Festival, which is a Chinese label based in Beijing, I've got the notification 2 weeks before SXSW, so I didn't really have time to organize any other showcases, since my flights where already booked too and my stay was only 2 days. It was a great first SXSW experience.
What does it mean to you to be a female in the music industry?
I love being female, I enjoy my life as a musician. I've worked with a lot of people who all believed in my vision and supported me. But always listen to your guts. Be sure u do what u want, because u want it and then u can be whatever u believe in. In the beginning a lot of people try to claim that they have found you or want to shape you. Don't listen to them, you can be grateful for support but in the end you made it yourself. I had some "friends" who got jealous. They thought that I had slept with the photographer, the producer, the manager, the camera man... I didn't, but they couldn't get into their head, that I was just talented, lucky or both. Get rid of people, who try to make u smaller. Those people are not professionals u wanna work or even be friends with. But there are people who abuse their power in the industry too, when I freshly came into the industry a promoter who worked for my management, pulled me into a bathroom of a bar, where I met him, since I wanted to get to know the people who work for me, he grabbed my hand and pulled be in the bathroom even tho I didn't wanted to, did some coke and wanted to make out with me, I had to run away... I was a little overwhelmed by the situation, I don't take drugs, it was the first time we met and I knew he had a girlfriend who was a musician too. The next day I told my manager and his girlfriend, but the worst thing was, that they told me, that I had to continue working and be nice to him, since he was great promoter. I got manipulated by him and still had to work with him for 2~3 months, listening to him criticizing my songs after first saying they were great, complimenting me then telling me I was worthless, while getting no results from his promotion for my last release at all, when I paid him from my own pocket. He blamed the blogs and said "they only feature black urban music right now..." U see where it goes... it's disgusting. He was just a bad person who abused his white male privilege, but not everyone is like this. Just really listen to your guts and let no one bully you or your music. You don't have to be nice to anyone, who doesn't treat you professionally. It's really easy to get lured by connection, power, money or promises when your young and naiv. But trust yourself. If something feels wrong, don't work with that person. There are so many wonderful people to work with, no matter gender or nationality and I believe that it's possible to find them.