it all began in sleepy, rural, bernville, pennsylvania when i first picked up the guitar at the age of 14. i realized i needed to express my teenage anguish in something other than ice sculpting, my prior hobby and artform. i finished up high school and shocked my parents and a bunch of other people when i said i didn't want to go to college yet. so instead, i worked as a tour guide at a county park, where i served ice cream in between giving tours, and was late to work pretty much every day. my reason for being late (other than the occasional flat tire or my car not starting) was a consequence of the life i lived after work. i'd drive an hour and half to philadelphia, and an hour and half back, just to play one song at an open mic. i soon made friends with a band who invited me to open for them every sunday in a bar that sometimes played porn on their tvs. it sounds way worse than it was. in all reality, it probably was pretty bad, but i was 18 and couldn't think of anything more liberating to do, besides hardcore drugs or climbing mount everest, neither of which i'll probably ever do.....probably. after one of these late night sunday shows, i followed my friends into a recording studio where someone was recording his first EP for Blue Note Records. Lo and behold, it was Amos Lee. Needless to say, i'd always been a fan of his. I hopped onto the project as the "intern", but basically hung around with them 'til 3 in the morning, slowly starting to feel cool for the first time in my life. In return i got free dinners and started doing a little recording of my own on the side. this all inspired me to visit los angeles. after checking it out, i knew this was where i wanted to be. my reasoning for choosing l.a. over nyc? i thought l.a. was pretty mellow, and i was pretty mellow, so it suited me. but really, i needed to escape. at 19, i yearned for something different. so one month later i was in my car with 2 guitars, clothes, and some other junk i really didn't need to bring, blasting led zeppelin's "going to california", revelling at finally being on the road.
once in los angeles, i stumbled in and out of apartments; getting kicked out of one, getting freaked out by others. all i was really focused on was finding more open mics to play. soon i had to like, get a job. i waitressed and i hated it. it was around this time (about a year into living in l.a.) i almost gave up and went back home to go to college, like everyone said i should. i started focusing on all the wrong stuff. i lost all enthusiasm for open mics. i was exhuasted and losing hope. but, with the help of friends, i persevered.
living in los angeles, you tend to always run into someone who knows someone in entertainment. in meeting a lot of these, i landed myself a show at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood, opening for Joshua Radin. A fan of his voice, and he a fan of mine, we started to hang out and sing together. In a short amount of time, Josh got signed to Columbia and he asked me to sing with him on tour. of course i say 'yea man'. i quit my waitressing job and went on the road with him for a while. I found 5 days in between touring with Josh to record my first EP with Joey Waronker and Gus Seyfrett. there were no stakes involved, so we just had fun with it, and to this day i'm still very proud of what we did.
eventually josh takes off for more touring, and i'm left to happily make los angeles my home again. i spend the new year of 2007 in new york city where i play a showcase for blue note records. fortunately for me and the label, we really liked each other. I signed on and am now finishing my first full-length record with them, and my good friends Joey and Gus.
About the author: Priscilla Ahn is a medically diagnosed giant. She is 48 years old, half parisian, and is now living off the coast of sardinia. she no longer indulges in ice sculpting. but as many of you know, some of this is a lie.