Ep. 37 Emily Lau


When i experienced obstacle challenge on move. Pass it almost shanidar last ceiling in keep. It hurts just glass ceiling. We literally have be super heroes the walk through his life while he might have been the first i trade and i'm not last Our dumbass who is male. He said i worry that people will be traumatized and i think we should tell them that is coming so we talked about how to do it. So at the end we tell them that the following scene is gonna pick sexual and assault. You know it might make people uncomfortable so if you need to seek refuge. Please know that there's a broom empty in the back of the hall that you can go to and when the scene is over we'll have ushers come and collect you if you and surprisingly nobody left and everyone was crying i was on my honeymoon cruise and the cruise was called the costa concordia and it's sank. We almost died and so actually joined the whole holiday. Before the shipwreck. I was quite unhappy. I remember thinking like. I'm do all the work you know and nobody appreciates me. I wanted to change. And then i started examining myself and i realize so much of my work now by that point was driven my fear hello listeners. This is taking her lead. I am joshua mayor in this. Is janine konta lotto here. We strive to give women a platform to tell their stories and explain how they lead. These conversations give us unique insights into the impact women in leadership make and how they transform the way we work and live indeed. Today's interview is with no one other than emily lau. Emily is of course the composer performer of our theme music. As you will soon know were seriously lucky to have had her mind wrapped around her project. If only for a brief bed in order to produce such a beautiful apropos musical theme taking just a moment to consider her thought leadership her works of composing performing and coordinating music and also theatrical performances bringing people together providing healing environments for self discovery and self expression. It's enough to make me wish. I was doing more with my life. She works with poignant reflective unabashed and unsettling themes in her various modes in media. She and her broken consort tackle uncomfortable and desperately needed stories and express them beautiful and compelling ways. When i started the show almost a year ago. I reached out to one of my oldest friends. Dan myers who is a professional musician in early music in boston. I told him about the show and what we were attempting and that we were looking for a woman to compose and perform our theme music. He said without hesitation that we should talked with emily. Lau and the rest is history. She even surprised me by having dan play recorder on the track that she produced the show. How blessed we are to just have that creativity to be part of who. We are in our experience at taking her lead. Emily is so remarkable on her self awareness and unique perspective of what she brings to her leadership. I can't wait for our listeners. To hear what she has to share without further ado please enjoy our guest and composer. Emily lau on taking her leave. Emily welcomed taking her lead. Thank you for having me. We are so excited to have you emily. There's so much to talk about these days. Yes i've been looking forward to this for. Well when did we. When did i reach out to you. Dan reach out to you. And then i reached out to you and then you reached out to me with regard to do in the music. What was that. i can't say. I'm a rolling up. We're coming up on a year. Yeah was this. Music played from the very beginning we had two episodes in before. Okay so he's just silence before it was just. It was needed that music music is what ties people together really mean it's most aspect so yeah and a lot of time what you don't even realize that you you have a relationship with a situation or a piece of art or the podcast until you hear something again during something you can expect you know and i feel that way very much when i when i watch even a tv show you looking forward to hearing dingle at the beginning of salute with funniest during that up because we just had a little family thing couple nights ago where my husband and i were imitating nine year old commercial jingles like virginia slim meets the man and they all had songs and jingles with them. And it's it's amazing is from our childhood. But that's that's what we remember will always remember. So i'm gonna lead off with the first question. And i cannot wait to hear how you respond to this one is. What is your current position like. How do you describe what you do. Because it's just so fascinating. Yep always difficult right. I feel like. I have to answer that when i'm teaching a masterclass workshop. Currently i've been saying this for for all of my meetings recently say the my biggest affiliation most deep affiliation is with myself so i represented institution of emily. Lau who is. Somebody who has built communities brought people together made artwork encouraged different areas of development for different people in the arts in social advocacy in an education for the last fifteen years. I have made over forty original shows and programs in the last ten years over four hundred. Also i am. The artistic director found a artistic director of a nationally touring professional ensemble called the broken consort. And i am the artistic director and board member of a nonprofit in portland coach vic wealth society and i'm on faculty at reed college but i notice how often it is that we would. I say those big institutions names hoping that people will say okay. She's legitimate because a you know because she has all those things but the more i become my own person in a way the more realized that institutions are there to ideally. You know help you further your your beliefs and your your work in the world. They definitely do not define me or legitimize. You the joan mayes them. Thank you as totally. And and that makes me really weird because it's almost like willing to say so so many artists. The resumes are all about the names that they throw out because they hope that that would make them sound more legitimate. And i hope when people are close to me in with being it's my work and my relationship with them. that really speaks for itself. I love i love that yes group. Has i think that if we were all to be able to show up in the world like that of who we are as the legitimate aspect of our identity and what. We do not sure who we work for. You know it's incredible. Great thought much to ponder there in ten. I would say this too. Is i would say i am responsible for the emotional wellbeing of anywhere between fifty to eighty people at one time and my family also also very family oriented person and my friends and families are important so yeah. What is the intersection between musical and theatrical performance and expression and emotional wellbeing And i know that's even narrow swath of what you do. Just pick your plucking that out of the air. I was trained very classically. Like the most classically. I was in england. Now it's a choir girl in england and the cathedral and my mom was a professional musician and so very much. Classically went to undergrad grad school. All of that. And at the same time when i first came to the us i came to the us. When i was seventeen by myself for college i realized i did not understand what's going on with the us. It doesn't make any sense to me. Because the first time i came to the. Us was thirteen. And i went to not valley valley. This is amazing. Me and everyone has a pool and not kidding. After three weeks of that. I went home and i said mom. I think i would like to move to the us for my education. And she's like oh so later. When i came. I landed in miami. That's quite instills a lot of pools but shock. You know the poverty people on the streets in all of these different languages. I didn't expect it. That's all so. I start picking up sociology. I actually added a second major of sociology of attempting to understand. What's going on and that helped me. That gave me a window of understanding and working actually in the local community center. I live in a really impoverish neighborhood. So i stopped working with homeless people and an i over the years i work with homeless people women in inner city and then my first job out of undergrad was teaching at pregnant teen mothers school in noto studies. It was totally bloggers so for the longest time i felt like there. Is the music. Emily that sings music of dead people. Dead white. yeah totally and then. There's the emily that does community work advocacy working with people and those two people. Don't don't meet and i was always like racking my brains out. How can they possibly meet. And then later. I started getting some training in or involved in doubt pros. And wh what are these things right. so off. Schubert is a had ago. Gee is a method in acquiring music artistic like his music musical and artistic process in which they encourage people to use sort of folk materials like words and stories and colors that they would also improvise like musical improvise and also would dance and people read poetry interpretation of in a way in a way. It's too complicated. But uh for sure method to bring something to the world and that was developed by the person who broke comedic borana really famous composer and i still got some training in doubt. Pros eurythmics again. More theatrical improvised embodied way of making music. So i start using. I was young. You know this is what i was in my early twenties. And that's when i start to use it with my students and i realized what kind of extraordinary results i see growth in those people as individuals and also the artwork that we make when you give people a lot of compassion and a lot of expectations. Janine to see i love emily. Sorry emily go ahead. Yes and a lot of support and you know each person extremely well you know. It's not a one size all kind of thing and using these methods in with my own intuition i was able to really transform people's lives through these artwork and so at any given even work that we start doing i was doing these with elementary school. Can't crazy and we meet each other every day and we'll do this crazy show. That has a probiotics in theater and music and heartfelt soliloquy and and you know and they ride the shows with me so that was my first taste of maybe maybe use. It doesn't have to be just one way but remember. That was just a little seed. I was so young. I was twenty one twenty two and i also realize i really enjoy working with people at that level like just face a phase all the time and then so over the years you know i get more training more experiences in the world graduate school working in the field for while i kind of in a way lost my way a little bit. I moved to boston for graduate school. Another culture shock. No in a way. Boston is dangerous for me. Because it's perfect for me shortcoming interested interesting like ewing. Well in an institution winning words and following the script. I can do that any day like you know so. It was easy. He was greatly. I basically got boston immediately was successful. I was working everywhere. Getting the best jobs you know and dealing with people and for a little while. I almost feel like oh. This is kind of both really exciting. Not quite me. I was traveling a lot. Like i said kind of successful too quick but in the middle of graduate school i started on. I thought you know what. I truly what romney to music at the end of the day is hanging out with my friends. That's it. I don't aspire to be a winner a solo as to be famous. None of these is interesting to me. I really love hang out with my friends and making really good music. So that makes it tricky. Because i've noticed there are two tracks for a lot of people you either excellence. And then you become a sullen sad stressed out person totally or you go for like fun than you don't have standards. It happens a lot of seen that. So i was aware of that and anytime i say. I'm aware of something know that it's in a way. Almost in retrospect like something's weird. And i need to fix it. And if i would say that it's one thing i constantly do i wouldn't just sit somewhere and accept all of the assumptions that was thrown at me. I would ask myself being authentic and my being true does this position have doesn't honor who i am and what i wanna do in the world but who knows and at that. I thought oh. Let me start an ensemble with my buddies and grad school. And we're really good friends and we can like maybe perform and you fun projects and is a really good example of. I actually didn't really ask for permission. I know you're not going to start. Playing boom boom started saying it was both really great and really chaotic. Don't mean so. I have some really good people ask some very good people not that they absolutely good or bad. It's just like there's no good leadership. I wasn't good leading yet. Know idea but i didn't know how to guide other people to that idea and these were my peers. That also makes it a little bit trickier when you don't really have experience or method other than just like some intuition so because we're good musicians we achieve some level of success. We're doing we're doing okay but the culture within the group was i would say great because back then i remember thinking. I don't want outgrew to be like where there's director and then it's like the director will tell you what to do. I really want to be collaborative. Really collaborative on sombor but when you want something like that. You actually need to put the group together like that. That means all the people in the group that does collaborative work has to be collaborators. But i didn't feel that at that at that. Point was the case is more like usually people who don't want to have a director but also have no experience being collaborator that comment. They don't want to be bossed around but they also don't want to like take the responsibility of what a leader needs to do. So i would say that. I swim at that marquise waters for like maybe two three years and then something very interesting happened. I was on my honeymoon cruise. I don't know the story about me. Anybody knows it's going to blow your mind okay. I was on my honeymoon. Cruise and a cruise was called a costa concordia. And it's sang. That's right in the mediterranean. Oh so mike. Long story short. We almost died and so actually doing the whole holiday before the shipwreck. I was quite unhappy. I remember thinking like. I'm all the work and nobody appreciates me and i think that's the most common complained of any leader is. I'm doing me doesn't that i was young. I was very young. I was twenty five at that point. And i wanted to change and then i started examined myself and i realize so much of my work now. By that point was driven my fear the fear of failure the fear of disappointment you know the fear of not being able to keep up with the work and generally i would say that that is a lot of the mentality amongst musicians and artists in boston while the scene is really exciting. It's also so competitive. That means you might be great news this year in two years someone younger and much more capable than you in reality will come along and replace you and if you haven't worked on yourself in a real way to understand that that is how it works. It's very stressful. So every year around may or may april is when all of the contracts for the next season will be completely signed. And that's when i get lots of phone calls people crying and pleading saying that. Oh i don't have enough work next year. I don't know what to do with myself and this person got the work that was sort of the environment. I was living in stressful. Yeah yeah it's hustling right hustling is. I would say ninety percent of artists life or one hundred percent. Yeah yeah yeah. So when i was evacuating and and i remember i was thinking to myself. If i don't die. I would reconsider all of this when i get out of here. I want all of my work to be motivated by love and not fear. I know it sounds really cheesy. But it's true. Actually i thought about all of those things and so when when the whole long saga drama was over. When i was done with my pd. Actually when i came home one of the very first phone call we made was to massachusetts general hospital and we called them and said like we need a pediatric specialists. Like really need a refer. All we need to see someone right now like we were basically crazy can't sleep. You know like really stress out shaking nightmares you know. Oh my gosh. I can't even imagine that. Yeah seeing other people die in front of you and seeing like going going through a long exposure of that so the therapists work with me for almost a year. It was quite long. And i went through many stages of this sages including. I don't wanna do music anymore. I don't like people anymore. Which is totally insane. And you know it happened. And she guide me through things and at some point she said you're very lucky. You are an artist an artist you can make meaning out of this experience and she said to me that if you're looking for justice i think you just be on a long path of unhappiness. You're not gonna find it and if you are looking for meaning i think you have all the cool you need to make it so i went home and i was thinking about it and i'm like okay. Okay well let me see what kind of music. I can find to express how i feel a lot of feelings at that time. I have a lot of feelings about captain who abandoned ship of feelings about like my own life and my friendship in my family and my my relationship to religion like so many things you know when you almost died each things comes right to the service and i couldn't. I couldn't find music by mozart. Beethoven brahms anyone. You know all of these dead people none. None of it works for me. And that's when. I thought maybe i need to write music and so it's interesting most composers start much younger by that point. I was in like middle to late twenties unusual. And it's not that. I didn't have impulse or experience in the past writing and it wasn't that they weren't good but i had a very estonian attitude. Which is if. I don't have a doctoral degree from princeton than i can't write it people going to be scrutinizing nizing you but beauty of the shipwreck is i. Don't give a crap come out of it and you know what i'm just gonna do my own. I think there's a quote in their the beauty of this shipwreck. The iraq a lot of terrible experiences will become that later. If you can make meaning out of it you can't make meaning out of it. Then it will define you in a very different way. It will find meaning for you and so for a while my project was. We were interviewed. A lot by television documentaries will on every show because it was rare that they can find people who can talk and it became that we were talking to people about how most people have gone through difficult trauma in their lives and how it is up to us. Ideally make meaning out of them. How do you let it change your life in a way you know even when the track is a tragedy so because of all of the interviews i had a boomer press at that point so there were record companies whose i will would produce your disk because it's going to sell and it was the very first time in my life back then to say you know what no because my tendency is to like these things. My tendency is to want institutional support. You mean why. Wouldn't i want to sign with a record company. Why wouldn't i the validation right you exactly. Why wouldn't i but then you get trapped by them. Now you making music they want. You're signing a contract that they need and maybe you won't be authentic to yourself and ashby thing which is myself and so i gave myself. I think at that point like a few months maybe six months. It was very quick six months three months. Something like that. I say i'm gonna. I'm gonna make an album from scratch of only my music and then i call some friends to help and i produced it composed. It did all of the things. Of course i went to a studio. You know but i remember thinking like i have literally no experience doing any of this. I've only. I've recorded many albums in my life but only always a line cook. I've never been a chef truly a chef so that gave me a taste of like i can do it and the album. Turnout actually really quite lovely. See for what it is and then it made me think about how most artist yet trapped in a cycle of professionalism where they think that they have to wait until things a perfect to do and it's perfect in their head. But i have learned for me the best way to do anything is to throw yourself in it because no matter how well you plan you will make all the mistakes so you might as well start doing it already and getting out of the way. I say the same thing to my students. I think that that takes a level of self compassion to be able to see yourself as flawed and sometimes. We don't allow that to yourselves. That way. so that level of self compassion is where excellence emerges right. I hope so. So that's something. I teach in my method of you know doing artistic collaboration like now after so many years. So anyway after that process i start to really rethink about the way i my mom bowl the way that i you work what i wanna do and lo and behold slowly my social advocacy work and my music to come really close to each other and now they're the same thing i would very much say that now my artistic work is an embodiment of my belief and work. That way that i changed. People's live is very much the way i want so i've worked with homeless people. Prison definitely worked in prison for a while. And the way that i treat my community and the way i encourage expressions and cooperation and for people definitely different colors and also different beliefs and that is quite rare in the music world to most people quite liberal in the music world so i would probably say i would say that most of my own tumble also have people with very contrasting views and somehow we can be all in the same room doing excellent work being truly empathetic to one another. And for all of that. You know what's interesting is that i remember thinking maybe five six years ago. I said you know. Have a problem with all of this this whole scene. Which is we make music and theater and all of these to talk about utopia. How can we be more compassionate and kind each other and then the process of making those art is terrible. Most the time full of competition jealousy hatred self-doubt. All so many of my colleagues just really hate themselves and then you have a director whose abusive and everybody deals with it. And i just remember thinking that can't possibly be how i'm going to live out my artistic life so that is gonna go into other topics but i think that we want something to be different. We shouldn't just e critical about it. We should offer alternatives. That's how i am a leader aboard member. Whenever i'm am counsel to other people i always say like less spend less. Maybe less time being really really upset about what really is not something you can do and offer alternatives because a lot of time when things becomes really thick and complicated. It's not that people were militias about it in designing it. It says it became that way so being really angry to find the culprit of who did it. A lot of time is not as effective as saying you know if you think you can make a different way you you can lead a different way. Show them and then you need to have a lot of -bility to do it so the utopia thing is yeah like i was hoping that maybe there is an alternative way to make art where it doesn't have to be like that and i had feeling then it would be a lifelong pursuit for me to design and thing of what those process looks like. And so that's when. I really started a lot of research so i on one hand running all of these different retreats in projects trying to do different things and then also i want to germany at one point to study physical theatre and device theater because i wanna see how they also a new discipline like maybe thirty years old. What kind of vocabularies they are using to do artistic collaboration. You know in so many ways. Classical music is quite behind. Because it's very much in a way like ballet. It's hard enough to become good now. You also want me to create if you're not. I mean so it's hard and in order to be good quote. Good you have to go through such rigorous soul-crushing training that a lotta time. It crushes the person out of it on the other hand. They're developing this. This process an idea for the last ten years of learning the lessons things. I shouldn't shouldn't do yes my long answer. Sorry for your short question. And a lotta time. I liked to have theatrical elements and literary elements and storytelling elements into all my show. Because i find our time to be so unique that we can combine all these materials and our job as artist is to bring people in so like now talk for one second as a classical artists is that i do find the art generally to be quite alienating and the way i would like to think of not alienating people is not down the music or to make it accessible by mccain easier is you do you have as much fun as you can. But make it so that way you present it to people it's palatable to people of different experience level so i chose to be really really exciting for someone who's a connoisseur. It would come in and go. Every element is so interesting but also someone who has never ever been to a show classical show. They might even think it's boring and they'll come in and go thank you like. Wow i learned something really cool and it's so emotional in great says very inclusive like you said all. That's what i mean by inclusivity. Well that's That's that's equity right. I mean that's reaching out knowing who the person is knowing that type of person and meeting them where they are and making it inclusive based on who they are not a cookie cutter like you said so. It's an interesting one. So when i moved to portland from boston is part of the transformation. I thought boston as bittu too stressful for me. Let me move somewhere less stressful. I love portland. I love orleans. I'm not loving important to go ahead. Now portland is very strange but also really great. People have really great heart. And they're really they have really soft great heart and it doesn't have as much of a rigorous artistic culture in that way it is really artistic. Everybody is artistic like the quality. It is hard to find. So i was thinking. How can i have community here because everywhere you go if you remember this. I'm an immigrant. Who came here by myself actually. Most of the time i'm thinking about. How do i have a group of people. So when i first moved here i started hosting these salons which musicians can come and poets can come and we would perform and hang out with each other and slowly people say. I think you should teach classes. And i really don't want to. I don't wanna deal with the administrative side of the work. And then someone's out do it so i let them do it. And over time it became society it became. I will see one five. A one c three nonprofit so within the organization we have world-class touring musician. Instead i would sometimes and then we also have beginners who has never ever made music or performed. That's beautiful that is so beautiful and you wouldn't know who's who because i never called him out on purpose. Which is unusual. I would say so they would be on the stage performing together helping each other and my ideal is along the spectrum. I say there's always something you can learn. There's always something you can give in this situation. If you're a professional i would say. Most professionals don't hang with amateurs because they're amateurs but do you know who pays for livelihood are professionals the amateurs and you giving them access you giving them time to spend with you to understand why you're artist so special and amateurs really need to mentorship inspiration and always say usually given opportunities to make art. They usually get are given opportunities to wrote learn and regurgitate. An artistic process is not a product is a process. You know it transformed you. So i was thinking i would really like to have group. I can erect and run and where we're all these values are play out so i'm very happy to say right now. We've been a former nonprofit for three years and that we have on average don four large scale performances year. That is just sort of incidental. Rupe are like people are such good friends with one another there so high in every rehearsal we have we're hugging and laughing and smiling and people are saying that this is such a such an important part of their life. They say it's like church but is not church you know. And i'm sure shot and the membership itself and other thing. That's really cool. As i have people who are seventy five years old and i have people who are eighteen years old and they worked together and their female their male. They're transgender people. And they are all kinds of people with different pression gender abilities occupation and interest and we never call attention to them. And that's another one that i think about. I know right now in a very interesting part of history. Right we we. We want to include more people of color we want to have. People who are transgendered feeling really welcomed all of these things and sometimes i feel like as a person participating and also organizing it fused. Very performative if you haven't been already doing it as part of your work in a way you know. It's funny because i was writing this grant with the chairman of the board. And she said we need like some graphic numbers and i don't know why it got remand and my we have to do that. What's so beautiful as we said that we say okay. Our organization is sixty percent. Women aboard is eighty percent women and then we have letting thirty five forty percent people of color in on every level of leadership and also membership and this and that and i felt that it's so interesting because it was not by design like we never said it that goes that way when you have the right north star. Yeah i hope. I hope but it's it's hard to do for some people. It's hard to do because remember that we always educated a certain way so in order to not be the exactly the way we're educated. We need to change drastically a lotta time. It makes us uncomfortable even a simple thing like concert dress. Do you notice it when you go see performances. Orchestras always wearing tuxedos and suits and Does ab- suits. Do you know that. The origins of all of that was servant outfits in the closet of the palace because musicians were so poor. They can't wear the almost never come to the performance. Place go into the changing room. Come out with their uniform so they don't look so bad. These kinds of stuff followed us to today where we have to tell everyone in non sombo you have to look identical and it is not unusual that in the school ensemble acquire. They would say everyone's hair has to be of natural color. You can only have this kind of makeup. Girls have to wear dresses boys to wear pants. And now you got into really rigid place that you don't even like but but you have no other alternative examples so a lot of time when we perform i say to everyone. I want you to local rate. So yeah that would be sort of the dress code. I it is for more issue is more formal so like dress designs and the result of that is oh we have everyone have so much fun and i as part of their creativity and their creative quant Hat right. yes and they feel seen right. For example someone might be a really shy non binary person who decided that that day he is or they are going to wear a dress for the first time at safe. You'll save enough to do it in your presence. They feel like you are not going to say something neither positive nor negative. So that's another one is a lot of time. I noticed in groups that i go if you are different you get praised for it. Yeah yeah and it's in your creating such an organic space as opposed to forced space or an orchestrated space. I try to not do that. I try to not say it's good that you're wearing address right. It's just yeah. It's you're good so like that. The the topics of the Art projects that we do as part of the social advocacy. But not in a really heavy handed way you know. We do something sometimes political. We do a lot of music by people of color. We do a lot of music by female composers music from different cultures. Can we talk briefly on that on that topic not to be heavy ended but because this is taking her lead. I would like to hear a little bit more about sirens interrupted. Move the product. Yeah okay siren. Interrupted was a project. I think with the broken concert presented by big multiple multiplicity in portland. Was it three years ago. Three years ago is a long time ago as long. It was a semi theatrical immersive concert that highlights the work of this obedient women. Three groups women history very typical show. That would do so. The first group of women were a group of women in the thirteenth century and berea they were nuns and it is one of the only surviving collection of music that was definitively performed and written by women one of the earliest collections yet and their virtuosic and absolutely wonderful and that particular monasteries interesting. Because it's the royal monastery. So i want you to notice. Think about this in the thirteenth century. If you are a women the it's most likely that you either have a life really busy with housework and labor and having children or you die in childbirth. so if you are more intellectual more studios kind of person. There's no space for that. So this particular monastery with housing a lot of princesses and countess and all of these high level women who basically went to the father or mother and say i want out. How can it be out. And the only way out is signal into the monastery so once they go in there they can study medicine. They consider nick. So it makes perfect sense at these are the most learned educated musicians so we did a collection of their music as interpreted by all musicians and then another group of musician was in the cubs sort of seventeen in eighteenth century in italy and at that time were almost no professional female musicians and they were and they came out and they made money not for the husbands before themselves and they have garnered individual fame for the virtuosity and emotional expressive. Nece and it was very very cool as a secret society almost of professional musicians so we also featured them and the third group of women were contemporary so we have women singing against the war where women talking about their experience with abortion and then we also have some interesting. Some of the is interesting because his musical interesting and some of this is interesting because it's semantically interesting and then we also did a world premiere of one of our members work which is her story of being raped twice sexually assaulted twice in new york city. And she wrote a libretto and the ensemble it a theatrical musical devising process that tells her story and what was so interesting about that is i had also experienced sexual assault and so the other performers in the group and actually help us process a lot of it and when we were when we were rehearsing actually a different people so everything that we do we consult each other quite a lot with truly a collaborative. We talk about one of the things we need to think about. And so our dumbass who is male. He's at. I worry that people will be traumatized and i think we should tell them that. It's coming and we should warn them so we talked about how to do it. So at the end we tell them that the following scene is going to pick sexual violence and assault. It might make people uncomfortable so if you need to seek refuge. Please note that there's a room empty in the back of the hall that you can go to and when the scene is over we'll have ushers come and collect you if you lie and surprisingly nobody left and everyone was crying. Every one was praying in the hall and then emotions reverberates into question answer section. You know people really ask a lot of really meaningful including one. I think it would be relevant to you. Which is the narrator in the show. because we don't want to break the four walls and the narrator is one of the collaborators of the group who is a white male middle age and so someone was really mad is like how come you do a show about feminist values and then you have this guy who is telling the story and i said thank you for saying that like i said if you think. Feminism is about women's and we have pro- problem. this is definitely an ally. As a matter of fact. I'm using him because he's free he said you're saying is so meaningful i want in and i said i have nothing for you and he said i will. I will be the narrator. Do you understand what i'm saying. How can i turn down. The incredible work of someone who is an ally. Maybe feel really good do you. Don't mind me while. That's the kind of this podcast. And then people are still writing us about this show and still talking about it and saying how they felt like everyone should hear this and the interesting thing is this important part is no one is willing to produce a show out east. Nobody uses an opera full length. Opera is quite long it that means a lot of money. No no no no three or four our like our and half but so it comes to at most likely to bring moss algae reproduces fooling debut. The interesting thing is that is i personally do not put who much stock in institutions at is there to protect our own existence as primary goal and i say that most very powerful institutions he comes over time and the reason why no one reproduced that. They're afraid that they may be. They will make someone upset or maybe. The creators not famous enough and many reasons but is rarely the value and the emotional value of a community and support. So we're going to try to do it is going to be crazy. Is going to be really hard. We're going to try and do it in portland. And the ideal is we will actually also be recruiting groups of women who had experience in sexual violence to s in the ensemble. As well in the largest scale working with therapists also working through the lao method of making meaning out of this and having a piece of artwork that really represents that struggle and that kind of stuff so that. That's one of the questions that i have for you that we haven't touched on yet is is there someone in your world who has mentored you supported. You stands out in your mind as someone who you couldn't have imagined being where you are without having been molded and shaped by that person is there. Is there somebody like that for you. Damn many people. I can tell you some weird. You are as a person more unlikely that you will have one mentor because you become different people over the years at my very first person i will never forget. Was my second grade teacher. Her name is isabela and she hit me out of my class to do. These speech and a poetry competitions so i would travel the region and do competitions in front of thousands of people and go on tv and one these crazy competitions when i was in second grade but what is interesting about her is she always knew that. I'm kind of different from other people. In the way that i'm both really capable and i'm not okay with just accepting things as as they come so i was like people are afraid of me for that and she wasn't you understand and she only just loved. I would say she loved me. And that's all she was doing and she has polio. She eventually died very early and when she became sick and can no longer mentor me. No one in school were willing to mentor me. Because they thought that if this teacher mentored me and i won all the awards. That means like i have an award-winning kind of a person. So if other teachers mentor me they also have to make me win. It's so stupid. I was just a child but what's really helpful. In all of these. I was able to see how people work really young like how people think. And what what. What kind of thing. informed decisions then. The next person that's super important was my mother. My mother is completely self made in a real way like dirt. Poor factory kind of never graduated from college in any way but she found her own music school. F- like pop music school music studio and ran it for forty years and supported the family and she is also someone basically she. She doesn't seek permission. Because honestly there's no permission to be gained. No one can if you permission to do anything so one day she said. You know i'm gonna start saying as she women started saying and one day when i was in third grade she said you know the families to bore where we didn't have money so she's i would like to start selling piano too but like most people will probably have the plan for years and years and think about how to do it. She didn't she just went to like hand different piano store and demanded talk to the manager and ask them how they did it and then she became the largest seller reseller of hawaii when hong kong for like years and years and suddenly like. Oh we're not poor anymore. But like she never waited for someone to give her any permission so growing up in that kind of mom and pop environment when we want to book shelves on the wall. We installed it and it's funny because as a kid. I was really critical of everything. Of course you know. This is so dingy. The lighting is so bad. And how come when. I go to a nice music store. It doesn't look like this. You know and inside. I thought about it inside but now as i'm getting older i see the beauty of rowing up in a family where people if things themselves truly things in a very analog day-to-day building relationship kind of away. My mother most of the time top forty five students a week forty five students and so she can keep track of all these people and their emotional health. So i'm used to having lots of people around and my parents also played in orchestras and stuff. So there will always uncles and aunties and you know and so all of these people were my mentors as well. They taught me how to e- with people and respect them and left medicare for them and be selfless. Be generous and i would say that different teachers that i've had throughout the years either taught me through or taught me through negative example and i'm really grateful for all of them and my my favorite teacher was definitely my graduate teacher. Roger schoolteacher laurie monaghan. And i don't know it's it's hard to even describe. I feel like she's like my mom in so many ways and she caught me at a time. I think she could tell them weird. You know i got into grad school a little bit older and i can tell that she was weird because when i first got a really fancy gig came to her and say i'm gonna take a week off from school on a tour is famous group. She looked at me and she go. Now you're going to be really bored of that. And i argue with her. I said what are you gonna have so much fun. This group is famous and she said yeah. You don't strike me as the kind of person who enjoyed having a little stick waived in your in your face and back then but she let you discover that she let me discover that yes so. There's a lot of personal agency in that. Every one of your stories around mentors. If somebody who's cultivating your personal agency you're yourself to be able to arrive. And use your weirdness and that is better words to your to your advantage. How i teach and to come to another thing is i. Think the feminine. One of the feminine ways to lead is time. I am much less about immediate results. I have time invest in people people i work with. Sometimes i've worked with for ten years or more already. I'm quite young. And i'm not thinking about what can be changed today is how can i create an environment in which this person can continuously find out more about themselves and the art they do and just being person in the world so they can evolve and on and they would know that they can always come back to me and we can always talk about it and laugh about it and oh and another one more two more mentors. I would like to talk about in case they listening as when i was nineteen. I had a church job very common for classical musicians to you know. Sing in church in miami and after the first rehearsal i was invited to beer and i met this group of mostly gay middle aged men and hanging out with them and within. There's a couple called bill and ross and as a person who had no family no habits in the us that means i have had a thanksgivings. I don't know what is like to be an adult in the us. They taught me all of that. Through example and their house is like a community center is always people there. And everyone's invited and i would very much say that that's my life now. My house is always full of people and everyone can ask for support and is always there and the strength of their relationship is what showers his blessings into the community. So i always remind myself that. I need to be someone. Who's really centered. I need to be someone who has cultivate a sense of equanimity familiar with this concept of not being swayed by either successful failure keeping a sense of mindfulness and sometimes i feel criticized for that quality of mine. People would say like you seem not too excited sad about anything. They thought i'm really disconnected. I'm not disconnected. I'm very passionate. But i think that having a stable mental situation would allow me to do better work in the world. And so that's something. I devote a lot of time a lot of thoughts into and that come from knowing yourself. Some people need alone time. Some people need group time. And you have to ask you what it is that you need and sometimes for me what i need after giving so if i say worked in eight hour day working with people what i need is to watch six hours of tv and then i do it and so letting go of the guilt of thinking that you should somehow be some sort of robot or there's a correct way to be a person it's really tricky because people tell you that they're good hobby is bad hobbies and you always have to compare yourself to those things so yeah i definitely feel that who i am now is quite far from how i feel like i was brought up because i definitely worth brought up in a very competitive environment in a very capitalistic society. I'm moving into a much. More community minded his soft and happy place. Even salita. And i want to show that you can do that. One of the themes in your story is that you're constantly evolving. And so when you said my students can come back to me. They're coming back to someone who's evolved into other things to learn right. Gives them the freedom. Yeah they have a role model for that s different synergy. Every time you meet. I mean i love my students most of them most. I was like some of them have of them. I in touch with me after they graduate and they become some of my favorite people. Because i saw how they evolve through school and then how they are like taking their life in their hands and doing things now and and seeing how confused they are you know and i encourage them and i very much say my goal is to turn every teacher into my friends and every student into my friends. So we'll all friends it'd be great. Love it yeah. And the thing that i feel i am voting fewer or less and less time for unlike the pass is number one the approval of the larger scene. It's not like i don't have it. I totally have it too. But i don't really think about it much anymore. It's not something i care about. And also more distant actions or more practical connections. People are only there because you can do something for them a lot of time. I'll let those go and allow myself to have more real connections that last long deeper generosity abundance the hear that a lot in what. You're talking about it. I love your discussion of being centered and finding ways to recharge yourself because you are in such a giving role often in creating a giving space in a generous space around you the other thing emily. That's fascinating to me. That i don't know that we as women have really cultivated in our lives is the ability to receive. And so when you talk about your mentors you've allowed yourself to be molded and shaped and be giving gifts and to be seen. And i think that takes a fair amount of ulmer ability to allow yourself to be seen in all your quote. Weirdness is the word you picked but then the other thing is is to receive you know we kinda get into the caregiver role or give give give sacrifice may be a little resentment on the underbelly of that and then at some point we had a breaking point where when we allow people to imprint on us to receive their gifts. It's easier for us to give right. We were more authentically generous with who we are. And i really hear your incredible balance of giving and receiving is hard. Do on really hard. Don't lie don't enjoy. Akkad requires intention. Doesn't it really is so a lot of things that i feel. I can tell you today with much more clarity. I was not there at all in any form. Ten years ago is something that i have to really work on receiving is definitely one of them and i think receiving has a lot to do with trust. Because i feel confident any that you can trust me i can. You can trust me. I will be to you. But i don't always feel that i can trust you because i don't wanna get disappointed but now with more self work is that it's okay to be disappointed to if i can up my own tolerance for discomfort and disappointment than i would have more access to more people soul like now almost building. I'm like really do project. Twenty percent of the situation will be really disappointing and then when it happens. I'm like it was okay. Yeah i was thinking about this. When i was teaching our student who was from china. I'm talking about things and we're discussing. How people are reacting to the coronavirus and this is new to me by the way. I don't know how many of your of your listeners are immigrants. But i definitely feel that the first ten years of me in this country was spent a lot on blending in like truly learning the rules. I like that like learning how it. How does it work here. What do people care about. Think and how. Can i blend in while being mostly authentic and today which is i feel like i am basically authentic all the time now but for example even a simple thing. If i'm on tour. And i checked into a host family's house and they would ask me. What can i make for you for ten years. I would say anything you like. Because i would eat anything someone. Don't make me feel terrible. When i perform but i would do it because i don't you know you don't wanna be non ungracious. Yes and now. I feel very confident. Say that's so nice of you. I would like rice to eat some rice and some vegetables. And i have to let go of the fact that maybe they would judge me for being so chinese and that's another way to think i talk a lot to other immigrants or people from different backgrounds as i say. Do your best to find what is so great about your particular ethnicity like for example. What i really love being chinese is. We don't complain. A lot is mostly non-complying people is mostly a like work. Your ass off and be grateful kind of situation and that's in your blood. It's very interesting. That i truly think it's it's true and maybe it's because of people that has been around for so long has seen a lot and the feeling when i was a kid. I would complain to my father. You know about this and that and he would say oh you know. It's just a small episode. I would even tell him. I am really impressed. I've been crying for three months and he said you'll get over it and then i did. It's very interesting. It's the opposite in a way of how we like to see things now. we'll call it. Like oxen positively. You should always you know you should be aware of what's going on. That's wrong. I am but at the same time there is something also i think is virtuous about being able to stay in certain level of functionality and calmness even when lives unexpected things get thrown at you because i really do expect them. I expect life to be difficult and tricky and full of challenges. So in that way i like that and i like that. For example i am not the mainstream han chinese ethnically. I have some Which is a minority in me and the hukou girls are interesting because they are not slender and pale. Like a lot of girls. Hukou girls are wide round and dark usually and growing up. That was like a bad thing. You know people like yourself fat you so thick in your so this and that and the other day when i was just actually last week i was in the hospital for my partner and i was carrying all kinds of bags and suddenly had the idea. I just thought if. I were frail and skinny and tiny and week i wouldn't be this. I feel like an ox and the mule anna donkey and a strong bear. Like all of these together because of what. My ancestors made me in a way. Like i have the ability to to to hold space for difficult things physically and mentally and i felt really proud actually on my hand. Go through hard things and like not. Have it completely crush me. So i think like these are some of the things are now like to share. I don't want you to stop talking. I'm absolutely hang. I'm just loving listening to you. Talk about your perspectives. Your experiences emily. This week i think janine has a lot going on. I have a lot going on. You have a lot going on but if a carve out the rest of the day and continue having this conversation wouldn't hesitate to do it. Thank you for chatting with us. Thanks for taking this time. I think we have to ask our last question. I know our listeners. Hang on this last question. Are you ready emily. Maw was that what are you most hopeful about the future women in leadership in positions of influence. I think it will get better and better. I know also there'll be more women and more interesting beautiful things in the world and we just have to believe in doing it. I believe that you sharing your story. Today is really part of that. Right is really showing the way and giving people a path. Not everyone knows how to get the Cutters or the clippers out and start showing their own path so this is just a fascinating dialogue for them to listen to so thank you so much. I s a little call for interest. I'm always very interested in meeting people who are interested in working in this kind of method or ideas of wanna share or other artists of the writers. You know all kinds of people please do reach out and you know you can find my products online as well all their you can find it through. My name is not think. janine janine. Your suggestion to consider connecting. Emily and alicia is a very good one and emily. Alicia runs the united for global mental health organization. And you can google. You can google just that and she'll come up just like that and i think will mentioned use to her. Just you know we do that often. The thing that's really interesting that you might be interested in me is on saturday night. I just ask tuned into an event bright and it sort of like ted talks or moths. But it's about stories about mental health and they had six speakers and what a fascinating way of bringing mental health to the goal is to normalize it for people to just tell their stories about their journey through mental health diagnoses in and parenting or having your post traumatic stress response to something. That's life changing right. And i just love when all those things collide. Because i could see that your creativity could be just as impactful through your way that you tell your narrative or the people that you work with teller narrative much the same way they use storytelling right. Absolutely a lot of my work is informed by expressive arts. Therapy and and different therapy is just at. My motto is not so disease focused like everyone is weird and and sad and have problems in some way are powerful in right and that's how this organization was to and the name of the people that put it on in the pacific. Northwest are the national alliance on mental illness. And they're the ones that sponsor this all around a grassroots organization and it's not necessarily for people who have aig knows this more of spirits peop- having an awareness of mental health and like one of them was a mother and so i relate to that you know having my nine year old so it's sort of like wow you know. These things are really profound ways of normalizing the mental health of every person with or without a diagnosis right. So it's really fascinating. And i'm also struck in your story by how there were pivotal moments for you like you said moving to miami. You are open to well. I have an interest in this like. Hey this cultural stuff is really interesting to me. Hey sociology is really interesting to me and being able to bring it all together is just really powerful. I think that your story is Really wonderful so thank you for sharing it with me. I feel like. I've been giving a gift so i'm glad feel a double gift. We get it we get to have. People were almost forty countries. People in forty countries are listening to the mazing music. You made for us and now they're going to hear your. You know your thoughts and your experiences. This is this two times. This is awesome. Yeah and we hope you'll share this with your network love for your stam heard me ninety four. Yeah and we would love it if your mentors heard you too. Because i think that there's something you know about being mentioned in remembered and that is really important so we are thinking about doing an episode of people coming back with her mentor and talking about that journey. And so i'm hoping that's going to be. One of our unique approaches is somebody. Who's been in your past that you might wanna show your podcast with and see if they tap out whether they'd ever do an episode with you in them together and we were going to have like maybe two or three people come back with our mentors and talk about how we lift each other up right and so male or female mentor were not you know a mentor. Who supports building your influence. So if you have one of those in your history because you mentioned a couple of your mentors if they're still alive and well and it might force you to kind of get in touch with that. Murray i. I may be doing a show with my teacher in graduate school next year in time. She recently retired and moved to the pacific northwest. I've been like really excited about this. There's hope there's hope for the our friends on east side come home. This is very interesting. And some of the ideas i have like you can even do episodes where you invite some of your more popular like you'd like some of these guests and have them on the same room and chitchat and and i think like there are many things i always want to be connected to more people as well because is always trapped in the artists world. And that's what it really limits your your influence especially if you work is not purely just aesthetic now and it's actually so it's really unto me. Well that's why we were thinking about alicia for you because you know she is an a whole different kind of round the you are. But she's on the global stage twos so. I think that that's really powerful. Emily i mean when i said that you were singing. My song. i'm my mind is just worrying right now with the potential collaboration. A you have a lot going on. I know and i have a lot going on. But gosh if i had the right client where i could at least consult with you on designing activities. That would elicit emotional safety. Illicit compassion self compassion. Because the when i'm doing i teaching it's it can be very difficult for for participants to go there engineer and i have talked about the so creating the environments of safety that's tricky and it's nuanced and unique per the organization and the person so all that to say we'll talk more that sounds that's actually something i have been doing to do more which is training the trainers like i would say i have maybe five to ten hours of activities that you can do depends on how long your workshops are does that kind of stuff and it's proven works with artists and non artists to get everybody on the same page and at different levels every really fun to get people together maybe all check into a hotel and get trained together. Yeah let's let's talk more. That would be great. Yeah a lot of fun all right. Emily was so fun. I really really enjoyed it. I'm just so grateful and it's gonna make me love your music with our podcast even more. Of course you know so. I feel connected. Nice you should listen to my new album thing you enjoy it. You can listen with your kids. Yeah hey listen. Do we have a link to it so we can put it in the show notes. Because i would love that. So my website is. Emily dash loud dot com. And you can link there and of course all of my albums and everything is available on all digital channel. That's not the way to support or not as however it's available you can get on butterfly. Everything is it's there and apple itunes. Okay and what's the name of the new album. The new album is called. I'll of majesty. Okay saw that a new website and i was just in fact i was just i was so i think you'll love it over. Classic awesome were ten. Emily thank you so much blessings Is emily not the voice of personal agency in self-discovery. Oh my gosh gosh from her experience as a second grader to her continual reinventing of herself her artistry in her contribution. She's taken ownership without apology. She's so well spoken about her journey into becoming having turning points and mentors who captured her essence and encouraged it. She's had so many influences along the way her early example of her mother role modeling the idea of not waiting for permission or even feeling the need to ask for. It was such a wakeup call for me. Hear that underlying theme in her teaching as well. No one is going to give you permission to evolve in create. Why way sees it i love. She sees herself as tending to her students. Moshe hello what a the receiving her. I think they're so lucky to just be in her space and in her world by hook or by crook i can work with her in some capacity. I'm going to get half an emily is. She's filled with compassion and even when she was talking about how she valued difficult experiences that she valued all the experience that she's had she has compassion for others of every interaction. Type ones that were difficult. That were easier helped fluoro- not and i can see exactly how she creates safe and beautiful spaces around her for others to be included in. She talked about wanting to collaborate with others early on about the types of relationships. She wanted to have with her collaborators. Those friendships and she simply becomes someone who makes that magic happened around herself. What a kick to have her on the show so listeners. Taking her lead episodes. Drop every second tuesday. If you've liked what you've heard please subscribe rate and review the show on i tunes. Your support makes a difference in howard discovered by listeners. And thank you. We were so excited to see a few more reviews on itunes kiddies all children when we read them so thank you so much for your generosity. If you're interested in the work that we do please subscribe and share the podcast with your network. Your supported the show takes us closer to our goal of creating a wide reaching platform for women in leadership to share their unique stories. Please share your thoughts and reactions to our guests at taking her lead dot blueberry b. l. u. b. r. y. dot net. We'd also love for you to connect with us on linked in. And we certainly encourage you to follow us on twitter. We've just captured listeners. On the iberian peninsula we remain humbled by the increase listenership and we are really passionate about our guests. Stories are impacting women and men around the world taking her leads. Wonderful theme music was of course composed by emily lau and are beautiful. Logo was designed by creative director elizabeth beers for all the women who are in leadership positions of influence. And all of those who wanna be bringing the best version of yourself forward. You make a difference. This is janine accountable. I fell and this. Is joshua mayor talk teason.

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