Growing up, I never really felt like anything was my own. I moved a lot, and I never belonged anywhere.
Honestly, in the music business, it's all about being cool or being the newest thing or being the 'It' person, and I've tried really hard to be what is expected of me or what would be advantageous to my career, and I just reached the point where I said, 'No, I'm an emotional loser. I can't pretend to not care.'
On one hand, I think it's very important to talk about race and talk about gender, because if it's not talked about, then we won't progress. What I have a problem with is when it becomes another form of tokenization, of shrinking me into a symbol instead of a multilayered, female Asian artist.
I'd always been fascinated by death, which sounds so morbid. Especially being a woman trying to make music, I think there's a sense that you're never young enough, or your career is going to end soon.
When I started making music, I was like, 'This is something I can believe I was meant to do.'
On tour, I don't drink, because I don't think in any other job you are supposed to get to work and drink whisky.
When you love someone and care about them, you want what's best for them, and it's always the hardest thing to realize maybe you aren't what's best for them, how hard you try.
I'm Japanese, and I'm also white American, and neither camp wants me in their camp.
If I ever found a place where I belonged, that in itself would be an identity crisis to me.
I actually love the summer. When I went to Miami on tour, I was actually like, 'I love this place.'
I don't really listen to pop-country, but I like really, really old country that's closer to folk. Like Johnny Cash, who is considered country.
I guess you can say I 'do the Twist.' I like playful dance moves that aren't too serious.
I would love for Rivers Cuomo to listen to my music and see what he thinks.
With solo shows, you have complete control over the set list. If you feel like you want to do something different or do a new song, you can just work it in. You can talk to the audience or not talk to the audience. There's nothing that's set.
Often I've had problems automatically bending to a lover's will, becoming what I know they want me to be. Immediately, I learn all the music they love, listen to it, study it, instead of being like, 'This is what I love!'
When I go onstage and am performing the way I want to... I finally feel like myself.
I can't read in a car, because I'll get sick. It's almost instant.
I have my privileges, but I do feel like at every turn there is such resistance. Things seem to take so much longer for me to do. I have to say things 10 times instead of once. I have to knock on 10 different doors instead of two. For everything. All the time. I feel like I'm not taken seriously.
Maybe this is a made-up belief to preserve myself, but I do believe that everyone has a purpose, and my purpose is to put out music that means something.
I've stopped wanting a home, I think, because I've been on tour all my life, basically.
I discovered I was an Asian American when I arrived in the U.S. I didn't identify as that before I came here. People started calling me that, and I started being treated in a specific way.
I think what's hard for me is not that I don't get downtime to chill, it's that I don't get time to make music.
When someone is a musician - trying to make a living off being a public figure - it's really easy for people to see me as a face on a screen that doesn't have a personal life.
I don't set out to write something. I more just write, and later on, I discover what it's about.
When you're doing something you're not used to, you kind of realize that you're still a kid: even though the whole world around you sees you as an adult and you're expected to act like an adult, you still haven't actually grown up.
It's nice to know there's a big world with many perspectives. I tend to get so stuck in my own small world easily, and going out into the world reminds me that I'm not the center of the world - in a good way.
On tour, people know that if they ever ask me what I want to eat, I will always say Asian food. I'm becoming a stereotype, but it's what I want to eat. I want to eat rice.
I hate that my opinions are gonna be on record... that my opinions of other artists are going to be on record.
Sometimes when I perform, and it's obvious the audience is just there to party, or if I feel a wall between me and the audience, I get existential about it.
A lot of musicians talk about how they were into music from the start; they always wanted to be musicians. It wasn't like that for me. I didn't think of it as a job or a career - it was just something that was constant.
I took a few piano lessons as a kid, but it didn't last; I just learned piano from doing it over and over on my own, because I didn't have many friends, and there was always a keyboard in the house.
You can be heartbroken about a relationship but also, from it, realize you are you, and you're okay with who you are or where you came from.
Everything is so chaotic and messy in the world, and I have always felt kind of dirty.
I think growing up the way I did has made me a lot more objective, and that's important in the process of writing and trying to look at subjective matter that way.
My father was obsessed with folk music from around the world, and I think the countless artists who performed them are my biggest influences.
It's very tempting, when somebody says they like this about you, to want to do that over and over.
As a woman of color, I always have to be at 150 percent and better than everybody in the room to be considered competent.
I couldn't wait to get out of school, but once I did, I didn't actually know what I wanted to do with myself. I don't really know how it happened, but I just started writing music and realized that's what I wanted to do.
Whenever I've tried to ingratiate myself to an existing community, I tend to give too much, to become whatever it is they want me to be. It's something I do automatically - I've learnt to immediately adapt.
I'm so smart. I am good at doing math really quickly in my head.
I think it's our responsibility as artists to not only fight for our art but fight for the communities that are the reason we're able to continue making art, especially since, in Brooklyn's case, we as artists somehow made it 'cool' enough for the bigger money-making industries to start taking over.
You always want what you can't have, and that all-American thing, from the day I was born, I could never enter that dream. That all-American white culture is something that is inherited instead of attained.