Q&A with Vienna, May 2004

Chat and sip. Beret optional.

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ballegre
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Postby ballegre » Tue May 18, 2004 5:41 pm

How did the Leterman gig happen? What made them select you and not, for instance, other fine artists like Kyler? How's that kinda stuff work?

Thanks,

Bob

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Postby ballegre » Tue May 18, 2004 6:13 pm

How old were you when you started playing music? Did you like to practice? When did you discover that you can write music?

Thanks,

Bob

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Postby laru » Wed May 19, 2004 5:38 pm

I DO! I DO!! I DO have a question for Vienna afterall, lol!

Vienna, I don't know about copyright laws or anything, and legal stuff aside, how would you feel if a famous figure skater wanted to skate a program to the music off one of your albums. Many well known skaters have skated to songs from Josh Groban, Enrique Iglesias, Bon Jovi, Avril Lavigne, and the Olympic Gold winner Alexei Yagudin had a winning short program to music from Bond with his "Winter" program. So, needless to say, you would be in quite good company if one of those skaters used one of your songs for their skate. You have such incredible music, its like another way to share it with the world.

I think of the publicity/exposure you would get, it would be pretty big I'm sure! lol

How would you feel about that? Would you mind? Or be very flattered?

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Postby plib » Thu May 20, 2004 7:46 am

Hey Vienna,

I went to your concert way back last fall at MIT, and I just want to say that you were amazing. I dragged two of my roommates along and got them hooked in less than two minutes. :)

I know you try to broaden your audience as much as possible, so this may not be the best question to answer here -- but did you choose the name Teng for Teresa Teng (Li Jun)? After all, you did grow up with Taiwanese parents. ;) What was your rationale for Vienna?

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Postby Norm » Thu May 20, 2004 6:14 pm

Vienna wrote:I try to be as accurate as possible, in imagining what it's like, but I know that songs I write after I have kids will come from a profoundly different place.  I'll probably write less; energy is finite and most of it will probably be channeled elsewhere.

Right you are Vienna! It'll be hard to ponder the meaning of our existence for a new song when someone is yelling Mommy or screaming his or her head off. Kids take a lot out of you. I'm probably more psycholgically tired than physically tired. People without small kids really can't comprehend how much work it is, IMHO. But I guess lots of artists manage to do their crafts while having a family. No question that having kids will complicate your life. But it's nice to have little ones that love you. (And it's nice to hear you say I Love You in T.A.C.C.)

Great idea responding to your fans in this format! I don't understand how some fans expect you to answer their e-mails. It's just not possible for an artist with any kind of fan base.

Norm

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Postby happygolucky111 » Fri May 21, 2004 4:42 am

Hi Vienna!

As so many others have stated, thanks for the opportunity to throw some questions at you! It has been very interesting seeing all of the different things people are curious about, and your responses to everyone. Your music is simply the best!! I was very intrigued upon hearing that your creative process entails focusing on a subject and then writing what you see on the periphery. I assumed you meant this figuratively, but in reading over some of your other comments here, I've begun wondering. I'm sure it varies song-by-song, and I'm not sure if it can even be described, but I'm curious about a couple of things:

1. Do you create detailed imagery of the fictional people in your songs, sort of like watching a movie in your head, and is it the peripheral perceptions of these little "films" that you write about or is the "peripheral vision" you speak of more of an emotional periphery? Or is your creative technique something else altogether?

2. How in-depth are the personas in your songs? I know of fiction writers who develop entire backgrounds and histories for the characters they create- education, family relationships, favorite foods and colors, pet peeves etc. Do you focus much on "fleshing out" the characters peopling your songs?

Thanks!!
Robert

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Postby bfogler » Fri May 21, 2004 4:57 pm

Hi Venna,

Let me add my thanks to the many others for this forum, and taking the time to answer questions. Your responses have struck me as being very honest, and very thought provoking - sometimes as much for what they don't answer as what they do....

My question relates back to an earlier version of the scrapbook. You made a comment there about someday, it might be fun to work on a movie soundtrack. I'd like to turn it around - if someone wanted to make a movie based on one of your songs, which would you pick? For some reason, I keep seeing one behind "Enough To Go By", but I'd be interested to hear if you've ever thought about this?

I'm also curious about your desire to grow musically - other styles? other instruments? Your talent on piano seems pretty awesome to me - I was really mesmerized watching you play in Boston recently - but what I know about music theory,etc. wouldn't cover the sharp end of a pin - I just know what music I like - so I'm really curious about this... I find myself thinking "She's so good now, and wants to get BETTER? oh, this can only be good for the future...."

I note you list Boston as one of your favorite places to perform - which hopefully will translate into many return visits - so, any favorite places in Boston? Any "stories from the road" about experiences in Boston - good or bad?

One question has morphed into three, which I think is enough.....

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Postby ballegre » Fri May 21, 2004 6:39 pm

Norm wrote:
Vienna wrote:I try to be as accurate as possible, in imagining what it's like, but I know that songs I write after I have kids will come from a profoundly different place.  I'll probably write less; energy is finite and most of it will probably be channeled elsewhere.

Right you are Vienna! It'll be hard to ponder the meaning of our existence for a new song when someone is yelling Mommy or screaming his or her head off. Kids take a lot out of you. I'm probably more psycholgically tired than physically tired. People without small kids really can't comprehend how much work it is, IMHO. But I guess lots of artists manage to do their crafts while having a family. No question that having kids will complicate your life. But it's nice to have little ones that love you. (And it's nice to hear you say I Love You in T.A.C.C.)
Norm

Take it from someone who has 5 kids. The first is utopia. My wife enjoyed those days. House clean, dinner ready, baby on the hip or in the sling, life is full of play groups, parks, sunshine, chirping birds, the works. I can't imagine a better profession than singing/songwriting with just one child. They all eventually sleep. The flexible hours afforded by this profession, when the little bundle decides to sleep, is not an issue. If you have an easy baby even better. Now, what typically happens is when the first little bundle starts to become more mobile we decide it's time for a second. For some reason they are never easy babies. This too is not bad - the work and stress load increase is about linear. Plus you get your aerobic exercise chasing the mobile one around. Now, add a third and you begin to see the work load increase exponentially. With 1 & 2 mobile, you're out numbered. 3 likes to sleep when 1 & 2 are awake and visa-versa. You never sleep. Life is now consumed by your desire to rest. Instead of parks and sunshine, one of them is always wanting something, including bottles of pine-sol which they always seem to find. You add more hoping to get back that initial euphoria - mistake. Now, the work load begins to exponentially explode. Too late - you're toast.

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Postby ballegre » Fri May 21, 2004 6:43 pm

Vienna,

Something I've always wondered. When you record songs with the ensemble who writes their parts?

How do you go about selecting musicians?

Did you ever consider starting a band (The Vienna-rama's)?

Bob

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Postby zep » Fri May 21, 2004 8:30 pm

vienna

i thought i'd take a stab at a question. i figured you may have an idea about these things since you probably have some math behind your CompSci degree, and you seem to have some knowledge of myth (My Medea)

i've been fascinated with archetypes and mythos in literature (Frye, Campbell, Gadamer). i'm also really interested in math, particularly with Fibonacci. if you are familiar with these, do you see any similarity between the Golden Ratio and Myth?

When we interact with art and find meaning, there is some core of truth which is familiar (thus, a sense of remembering -- and you kind of touched on this when you were talking about how your fans sometimes mistake their interaction with your music as an interaction with you). The existence of archetypes/patterns reminds me of the mathematical pattern in nature & art – the Golden Ratio. It can’t be a coincidence that this pattern is repeated throughout nature (and is aesthetically pleasing to the eye & ear), which makes me wonder how and if it is an extension of archetypes?

For example, the ancient Greeks used the Golden Ratio in architecture because the proportions seemed perfect. So I wonder if that “sense of perfect” might based on an archetype.

Thoughts?

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Postby Ang Mo » Sat May 22, 2004 7:49 am

Thank you for answering one of my previous questions Vienna. My last question is did you enjoy your concert in Eugene, Oregon. Was it a good crowd and nice venue? Any memorable moments of Oregon in general?
“When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” Sinclair Lewis

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Postby Vienna » Sat May 22, 2004 9:22 am

Hello all...I just got back from Eugene yesterday (we decided to drive it; very nice way to go to Oregon, but time-consuming). I'll be back soon! :) Thanks again for your comments and questions.

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Postby Ginny » Sat May 22, 2004 12:47 pm

No rush, we'll be around. ;) Hope you had a good time in Oregon! ~G
"I'm going crazy a little every day. Everything I wanted is now driving me away." ~Sheryl Crow (Home)

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Postby Norm » Sat May 22, 2004 3:39 pm

ballegre wrote: Take it from someone who has 5 kids.

Funny post. I gotta hand it to you :) I think my wife and I would be dead from exhaustion if we had 5 little ones. Plus you practically need a Bill Gates income to raise such a large family in Silicon Valley. Nice family portrait on your web site. Sorry for straying off-topic.

Norm

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Postby ctakim » Sat May 22, 2004 5:29 pm

Hi Vienna:

I understand that you were pre-med for a couple of years at Stanford and that this was a career choice that originated when you were quite young. Obviously, you decided to switch to Computer Science and to pursue your musical career (for which we are grateful), but I was curious about what changed your mind. Was this a hard or easy decision? I kinda had the opposite experience, entering Stanford without any plans to pursue a medical career, but I ended up in the health care field.

ctakim


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