Thursday, April 17, 2014

When Marnie Was There

illustration by Carol Lay

It is with enormous pleasure that I can finally share the big news that I have written the ending theme song to Studio Ghibli's next feature film, entitled When Marnie Was There.  In case some of you don't know, I practically worship the movies that Studio Ghibli release!  They have moved me so much, and have been an undeniably positive influence in my life.  To sing on one of their movies was a far off, distant dream I had, but never really believed could come true.

And then, seemingly out of nowhere, the producer of this film contacted me asking if I would be interested in writing the ending theme song.  I literally gasped in a way you would....say, if you saw a pegasus flying in the sky.  And then I let out a scream of delight and ran around the house like a little girl.

For the first few weeks of work, I was pretty sure they'd fire me at some point.  But, lucky for me, they never did -- and I'm finishing up the last mixes for the "Song Book" as I type this.  The "Song Book" will be a full-length album of songs that won't actually be in the movie, but are inspired by the film and its characters and story.

And the story!!!  "When Marnie Was There" is a British children's novel, written by Joan G. Robinson.  I immediately fell in love with the characters, especially Anna, the protagonist.  Robinson's writing is so real, and so honest.  I read the book 3 times now, and cried at the same parts, each time.

The Director of the film is the highly regarded, Hiromasa Yonebayashi (The Secret World of Arrietty), who I am over-the-lunar-eclipsed-moon to meet next week.  

During this whole process, I didn't even think to take note that this theme song would be Studio Ghibli's first theme song sung in English!  Even after careful consideration of having me sing this song in Japanese, it was finally decided to keep the song in its original form.  Here is an article just posted in The Hollywood Reporter, highlighting this specifically.  

In the end.... I am just so so thankful for this dream-come-true opportunity.  Truly.... something out of a dream.  

I also just happened to find this today....  

p. a.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Remember How I Broke Your Heart

I'm so excited to finally reveal the music video I made for one of my favorite songs on the new album.  This was filmed back when I still had crazy phoenix colors in my hair.  I made this with the super amazing Director Alfred "AJ" Broadbent.

We had booked a room at a really cool, old motel in the middle of nowhere.  We were mainly going to use it as a 'home base' and 'bathroom', and see if we could get some cool exterior shots while we were at it.  I was setting up my things inside, when I heard AJ talking to someone outside.  All of a sudden AJ appeared and said, "We have to leave".  Apparently, the owner ran out of the office when he spotted our camera gear and said there was absolutely no filming here.  AJ told him he completely understood and said we would respect that.  I just needed a place to change.  The guy then retreated back inside his office, only to come running out again 2 minutes later yelling that he was going to call the cops and we needed to leave.  (!!!)  Then, his 20-something year old son came out of the office yelling something, and he turned around and yelled at his son to get back inside (!!!!!!).  Needless to say, we swiftly left the premises.  YIKES!

5 minutes down the road, we found an empty, windy pass.  I drove my friend Charlie Wadhams' beautiful old car up the road.  I seem to remember him telling me that "she" doesn't like hills.  Sure enough, the car slowly came to a stop, and never started back up again.  Luckily, it died in the most beautiful part of the road.  So we just shot pretty much the whole video right there.  We sort of didn't have a choice.

At the end of the shoot, AAA came and swooped us up.  As soon as the car was back on the "flats" she started back up again, and we headed home.

And there is the story -- and gossip -- behind the making of this very emotionally charged video.  ;)

I hope you like it!

p. a.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Lomography Giveaway!

I recently got one of these 'Diana F+' beauties, and can't stop bringing it with me wherever I go.  They're so light and travel-friendly, and the way the photos turn out is always surprising and fun.  
And now YOU can enter to win one for FREE!  Plus 3 rolls of Lomography film.

In the next few days, I'll be sharing some photos I've taken with it on my Instagram.  Check them out here!

♡ Long live analog photography! ♡

p. a.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


For my birthday a few weeks ago, a friend from Japan sent me a beautiful furoshiki made by LINK Collective.  

photo by the LINK Collective

Furoshiki is a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth that you can tie into a purse, or as a re-usable wrapping cloth for gifts, or flowers, or just for toting around almost anything really.  Check out this neat video for ideas on how to use one.... I've wrapped bottles of wine in these when going to a dinner party, and always received compliments on the 'cleverness' of it.  Then after the party, I use the furoshiki as a scarf for my journey back home.  

photo by The LINK Collective

You can also tie it onto a strap, to make it into a longer-hanging purse.  Love this look! 

photo by Et pourquoi pas Coline ?

My friend Hiki, of Jollygoo, actually shared all this knowledge with me, that I'm now sharing with you!  She has a small shoppe in Japan that carries a beautiful assortment of these wrapping cloths as well as straps.  You can scroll through and see them all here.  

Happy wrapping!  

p. a. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Blog Makeover!

My blog (and website) has a new look!  What do you think?

All thanks to the one and only Hiki, from Jollygoo.  She is an amazing graphic designer and photographer.   As well as just a beautiful person inside and out.  If you haven't checked out her online store -- or better yet -- her physical shoppe in Tokyo, it's definitely worth looking into!  It's my #1 stop whenever I'm there.

The designs she used were all made by the equally talented and amazing Savita, who did my album artwork, design and layout, for This Is Where We Are.  The Digital Booklet she made for the album (which you can download for free here) is one of my favorite things ever.  She's like my sister from another Mister.  Does that even make sense?  Do people say that?  Or did I just make that up, right here right NOW?!

Anyway, there you have it.  Awesome new designs all around by 2 lovely women in my life.  I couldn't feel luckier.  :)

p. a.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

This Is Where We Are - IS FINALLY HERE

I am so very proud to present to you This Is Where We Are.

It's been 3 years since my last album (yikes! -- how the time flies!).  And this album is a bit of a significant departure since then.  But it really wasn't intentional.  I've decided to conduct a short interview with myself, answering some frequently asked questions, and also a few of my own.  

Oh!  And also... if you like what you hear, or if you think someone you know might like this...please share this BUY link with them!  The power of "word of mouth" is extraordinary and every little bit helps!  

Are you turning away from your acoustic side to try something else?

This new sound was definitely not intentional.  I literally bought a keyboard and a new laptop with Logic Pro on it, plugged it all in, and opened a whole new door of sounds I'd always wanted to create with, but never before had the resources to even try.  My songwriting still comes from a very acoustic place.  And there are still acoustic songs on the album that are just as important to me.

Do you plan on making more albums like this in the future?

As with this one, and every other album I've made in the past, I have no idea!  The goal for me is to have fun, stay inspired lyrically and sonically, and just see what happens.

Who were some of your musical influences while making this album?

Twin Sister / Beach House / Gardens & Villa / Sufjan Stevens / Lykke Li / Little Dragon

What were some of your non-musical inspirations while making this album? 

The desert, where I wrote a lot of these songs;  the movies I Am Love, and Scent Of A Green Papaya;  Haruki Murakami's book 1Q84;   and of course my husband.  :)

What is this album about?

A lot of these songs are inspired by love.  Good love, heartbroken love, friendship love.  And the album title is basically saying that these songs reveal where I am now in my life.

Any upcoming tour plans? 

Yes!  The first one on the horizon is a short U.S. tour at the beginning of May.  We're confirming dates and venues now... so please check on my website for updates!

p. a.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Behind The Scenes Making Of The Album Parrot-y

Just in case you haven't seen this very rare, behind-the-scenes documentary footage yet...

Camerawork by Daniel Milder & Ravi Subramanian
Edited by Daniel Milder
Music by Priscilla Ahn

p. a.