20 celebrities you didn’t know were Asian

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Audrey Magazine (Ethel Navales):

Not all Asians look the same.  I repeat, not all Asians look the same. It seems no matter how many times we say it, people simply assume that all Asians share the same physical features. Some believe we all have the same body structure and others even think we all have the same kind of hair. Of course, we know this is absurd. We know that there are plenty of ethnicities which categorize under the umbrella term “Asian” and we know there are plenty of Asians who are of mixed race. So why do people think all Asians look the alike? Well it may have a thing or two to do with media’s portrayal of Asians. If audiences have only been exposed to a very particular type of Asian, how can they know we’re all different? This lack of exposure may be the very reason many celebs who are bi-racial or multiracial are often overlooked in the Asian community. Even if they don’t necessarily “look it,” all of the following celebrities are Asian.

Check out this list of 20 Asian celebs you probably didn’t know were Asian.

1)  Vanessa Hudgens from High School Musical is part Chinese and part Filipino.

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2)  Tiger Woods is part Thai.

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3)  Chad Michael Murray of One Tree Hill  is a quarter Japanese.

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4)  Dean Cain, superman of the TV series, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman is a quarter Japanese.

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5)  Nicole Scherzinger of PussyCat Dolls is half Filipino.

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6)  Keanu Reeves of The Matrix is a quarter Hawaiian and a quarter Chinese.

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7)  Darren Criss of the TV series Glee is half Filipino.

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8)   Ne-Yo is a quarter Chinese.

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9)  Tyga, the rapper, is half Vietnamese.

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10)  Maggie Q is half Vietnamese.

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11) Enrique Iglesias is half Filipino.

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12)   Piper Curda of the Disney Channel show I Didn’t Do It is part Korean.

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13)   Mark-Paul Gosselaar, aka Zack Morris of the 90’s hit TV show Saved By The Bell, is a quarter Indonesian.

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14) Kristin Kreuk of the TV series SmallVille and Beauty and the Beast is half Chinese.

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15) Kelsey Asbille Chow of the MTV series Teen Wolf  and The Amazing Spiderman is part Chinese.

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16)   Host of the TV show Lip Sync Battle and model, Chrissy Teigen is half Thai.

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17)  Rob Schneider of Grown Ups and The Hot Chick is a quarter Filipino.

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18) Chanel Iman, the Victoria Secret Angel and model is half Korean.

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19) Model Karrueche Tran is half Vietnamese.

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20) Bérénice Marlohe from the famous Bond series, SkyFall is part Cambodian and Chinese.

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– See more at: http://audreymagazine.com/20-celebs-you-didnt-know-were-asian/#sthash.71uqqXCc.dpuf

Miss Saigon’s Kwang-Ho Hong performs title song from Frank Wildhorn’s Broadway musical adaptation of DEATH NOTE manga series

Broadway composer Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll & Hyde, Bonnie & Clyde) is currently working on turning Japanese manga series DEATH NOTE into a musical. Below, check out a Korean music video featuring the title song from the musical, performed by Kwang-Ho Hong (Miss Saigon UK, Phantom of the Opera, Jekyll & Hyde, Don Quixote)!

Eight-year-old Thai singing sensation Gail Sophicha

Thai singing sensation Gail Sophicha could be just the thing you need to put some sweetness back into your life. This eight-year-old musician has the voice of an actual angel and some impressive guitar and ukelele-jamming skills to boot.

Gail got her big break on the 2012 edition of Thailand’s Got Talent, and has since begun to make a name for herself on the interwebs by uploading a variety of videos to her personal YouTube channel that showcase her vocal and instrumental skills. Her recent video features an adorable rendition of “Leaving on a Jet Plane”, and it currently has over 100,000 views.

Japanese opera singer records an incredible cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”

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RocketNews 24:

While we don’t usually think about successful opera singers breaking into the rock music industry, there’s one man out there to prove that classically trained performers can, in fact, appreciate decidedly more “modern-sounding” music.

Japanese operatic tenor Ken Nishikiori (錦織 健) is one of the most prolific opera singers to come out of Japan. But recently the 55-year-old has been making waves on the net not for his sweeping operatic vocals, but for his astounding cover of British rock band Queen’sBohemian Rhapsody!” 

As part of my father’s mandatory musical education while growing up, I was always surrounded by a host of classic rock bands (the Kinks in particular). Although Queen wasn’t one of his personal choices, even I can recognize some of the band’s biggest hits, such as the hugely influential “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

The song was originally written by Freddie Mercury for the band’s 1975 album A Night at the Opera. Notably, it features an approximately one-minute-long “operatic” segment within the song, right after the guitar solo. The effect of this choir-like vocal multi-tracking was achieved by having Mercury and the other band members record their voices for up to ten to twelve hours per day, for a grand total of 180 separate overdubs.

▼”Bohemian Rhapsody,” aka “179 dubs too many”

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Enter Ken Nishikiori. The Shimane Prefecture native graduated from the Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo and is today celebrated as a successful operatic tenor in his home country. In his spare time, he also participates in another ongoing gig in the form of a rock band that was originally formed during his school days–the Shimane Ken Band ( シマネ健バンド). 

Nishikiori has a chance to shine as a rock vocalist through this separate outlet, while at the same time pay tribute to Queen, one of his own personal favorite bands. The band has so far released two CDs, one in October 2010 and the other in May of 2011, both of which exclusively contain Queen cover tracks.

▼Shimane Ken Band’s Seven Songs of Queen, also known as Kagayakeru nanatsu no uta (輝ける7つの歌) in Japanese.

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The band’s label, Pony Canyon, uploaded their “Bohemian Rhapsody” cover onto YouTube earlier last year. It’s still picking up new views even now, with many Japanese listeners commenting on how Nishikiori’s vocals sound hauntingly similar to Mercury’s original rendition (minus the slight accent, of course). We’re not entirely convinced, however:

A look inside Jay Chou’s secret fairytale wedding

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Audrey Magazine:

Taiwanese singer-songwriter Jay Chou, known for his poignant lyrics and signature fluid voice, got married last week. Based on the pictures, the wedding was nothing short of a fairytale. And with a skilled lyricist like Chou as the groom, you can only imagine what the vows must have been like.

The romantic occasion took place in Yorkshire, England and despite speculation (there were gorgeous engagement photos thanks to celebrity wedding planner Sarah Haywood), details of the wedding managed to stay a secret until Chou released photos on Facebook.

In the past, Chou said he would get married by the age of 35. He lived up to the promise, but he definitely cut it close. Chou was married January 17th, the day before his 36th birthday.

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Chou married the beautiful Hannah Quinlivan, a 21-year-old Australian Taiwanese model who he had met four years ago. Only family members and close friends were invited, and even they arrived in England without knowing where the ceremony would specifically be held. In fact, the exact date was ambiguous as well. Since then, however, Chou has posted photos of the dreamlike event on Facebook.

Held in Selby Abbey, the wedding has been hailed the wedding of the century by many in Taiwan. Just look at the bride’s gorgeous gown and you’ll see that the statement definitely holds some ground. To imagine Chou’s start as a struggling musician to the Asian music icon he is today, paired with the fresh-faced bride, the fairytale feeling really is a fairytale in its own way.

Here is a clip of the ceremony:

Prior to the wedding, a European-style photo shoot was posted on his Facebook. The engagement photos show the two in Paris, Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle and Prague.

http://www.dramafever.com/news/taiwanese-musician-jay-chou-marries-in-a-secret-romantic-wedding/

http://www.dramafever.com/news/taiwanese-musician-jay-chou-marries-in-a-secret-romantic-wedding/

The two have announced that they want to have a baby for the Chinese Year of the Sheep (2015), and Chou is set to film a movie in England, but will fly back to Taiwan in March for a wedding banquet.

 

The Stndrd: Profile on Galavant’s Karen David

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The STNDRD (by Adam C. Better):

Karen David is a captivating young beauty that seems capable of accomplishing anything artistically. David was raised in Canada and also spent some of her formative years in London. She knew at a very early age that she wanted to pursue a career in acting and music.

Her newest project is the ABC show, Galavant. “It’s Monty Python meets The Princess Bride. I feel so lucky to be part of something so special. It really has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life,” said David in regards to working on her new hit show.

David is also actively involved in the world of fashion and you can learn about that side of her at queenstrunk.com. You can keep up with Karen David’s career at karendavid.com.

Where are you from originally?

I’m a bit of a tossed salad—a mishmosh of Chinese, Khasi (a tribe from where I was born) and Indian. There is a bit of “Mazel Tov” in my surname for good measure. Culturally, I am Canadian and British. But, I was born near the foothills of the Himalayas in a place called Shillong.

How old were you when you knew what you wanted to do for a profession?

I remember the day so clearly—I was only 6 years old when my older sister and I watched Xanadu together. As soon as I saw the gorgeous Olivia-Newton John singing like an angel and acting on the screen…I was bitten hard. I knew right at that moment that I wanted to sing and act just like her. There was no looking back and my parents told me right then and there that I had to take the initiative and work really hard. They certainly had no connections in “the biz.” I love that my parents didn’t discourage me. Normally Asian, or South Asian, families want their children to be a doctor, or lawyer or an accountant. Mine said I should dream big, but back it up with a good work ethic.

What do you feel is your greatest strength as an artist?   

I’m all heart—which is a good thing—but it can make things tough too. I was told by one of my mentors that following your heart is the toughest choice to make. But, it is a much more rewarding path and a regret free zone. When I’m acting or singing, I do so with all my heart. Any fears or nerves I may have subside, because the heart is an honest and “real” place to speak from. There’s no hiding and I kind of like that. Throwing yourself in the deep end and trusting that you will land on your feet.

The fashion world is a big part of your life—can you talk a little bit about your love for fashion?

Growing up in London really taught me a lot about fashion. My wardrobe definitely evolved when I moved over to the UK. I love how everyone in Europe dresses according to their own individuality and their personalities. Fashion is an extension of who they are.

Do you feel more of a personal connection to music or acting?

I think because I started singing and acting at the same time—I feel connected to both. They balance me out creatively. I know being an actor makes me a better songwriter and writing new music inspires me. It takes your mind away from the working actor mentality of ‘what am I going to do in between roles?’ My main goal is to continue to be creative and inspired.

What kind of projects are you usually attracted to?

I love roles that are the complete opposite of myself—or characters with massive flaws. They are fascinating and challenging to play. Roles like that scare me at first and that’s when I know I’m going to love embarking on an adventure with that character.

Can you talk a little bit about the obstacles a minority woman faces in Hollywood?

I know there are challenges. I hear minority actors talk about it. But, I must admit, I have never personally experienced it during my own journey. I’m not saying that what those actors are talking about is wrong. It’s important to bring awareness to it. But, for myself, I never wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and say, ‘I’m a brown person or I’m a brown actor.’ I just see me. All the good and all the flaws. Just me, and that is what I want everyone else to see. I know my mixed heritage has allowed me to play all kinds of different roles. I have tested a couple of times for roles where originally they said they wanted a more ‘exotic’ looking actress. Then the girl who ends up getting the role is blonde and blue eyed. What can you do? That is something beyond my control. I just focus on being the best that I can be. Every actor has their own set of challenges, whatever ethnicity they are. It’s a tough business, but there is room for everyone who has talent.

 

Rachael Yamagata gets ready to release her new album

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 Audrey Magazine:

The year was 2004 when a 20-something Rachael Yamagata released her first full-length studio album, Happenstance. It proclaimed to the music-listening world that a talented singer-songwriter had arrived, one who could compose and record simmering ballads, as well as slow-burning rockers, with her breathy vocals expressing emotionally truthful lyrics. It led to her songs being featured in films like Hope Springs and Definitely, Maybe and television shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, The O.C. and How I Met Your Mother. Her tunes also caught the attention of other musicians and would result in collaborations with the likes of Jason Mraz, Conor Oberst and Rhett Miller.

To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of her debut album, Yamagata performed Happenstance in its entirety on select stops on her recently completed fall tour. “It’s crazy. It’s almost like a double tour,” she says, a few hours before hitting the stage of the Bluebird Theater in Denver last October.

“When Happenstance came out, it was very much about the struggles of love and partnership, and being focused on another person,” says Yamagata, explaining the circumstances that fueled her early songs.

But now, a decade of experience behind her, and two more studio albums and four EPs later, her perspective has shifted towards the “internal battles that we are fighting with ourselves and the struggle to find balance and happiness,” she says. Her more recent lyrics — she’s finalizing her as-of-yet untitled album for release in spring 2015 — are “less about a love-centered partnership and more about an internal struggle.”

To get to this point, Yamagata had a relatively late start. At Northwestern University, she was studying acting, but one night she went out and saw a local funk band called Bumpus perform in Chicago, and it changed her life. Yamagata says, “I never went out to see people performing music before, and the whole experience got my attention.”

It went both ways, because Yamagata got the band’s attention, too. She ended up joining Bumpus, singing and helping to write songs. “I have always played piano or made up songs, but I never turned to music as my focus. I didn’t think I’d ever do it as a career,” she says.

She also discovered that songwriting came naturally to her. “It caught me in a way that reading a script or trying to understand acting hadn’t yet,” she says. For the self-described introvert, the process allowed her to express her vulnerability and to work out “a greater understanding of things.” She adds, “It’s easy for me in the music. It almost comes more naturally than daily life. The songs are always personal and intimate.”

So when she left Bumpus to embark on a solo career, she had gained the songwriting skills to cultivate a following. With her frequent and extensive touring across the U.S. and worldwide, her bold onstage persona captivated many a fan. And yet Yamagata believes she is “not a very outgoing person, naturally.” She says, “The performance part is a stretch for me, though I seem to know how to do it. People are surprised when I tell them that, but I’d be just as happy sitting in the woods writing songs.”

And that is literally where she calls home. Yamagata settled into a house she describes as a “cabin in the woods” about a year ago (she claims she’s “very good at yard work”). Located in Woodstock, New York, her mother’s hometown, the home-slash-studio is filled with musical instruments and some rambunctious cats. She divides her time between recording at home, still in various states of “DIY renovation,” she laughs, and a full studio in town. “We recorded some music to see if it could be done in the house,” she says. “There’s a looseness and a comfort about recording at home, and you know your surroundings.”

A younger Yamagata, who had grown up with a twin brother in the suburbs of Maryland, was less inclined to such domesticity. Dreaming of the world beyond, her travels took her across Europe, as well as living solo in the Dominican Republic. Her own family is a veritable United Nations. “My dad is third-generation Japanese. My mother is German-Italian. My stepmother, who’s since passed away, was the southern belle, and my stepfather, who is Jewish, was a music rebel who grew up in the streets of New Jersey,” Yamagata explains. “Growing up, I learned different cultural identities from each of them. The love was unconditional.”

Now, as she matures as a musician and songwriter — she says her aesthetic is “grittier, a bit darker, but still with romantic elements” — Yamagata’s also dealing with a quickly changing music business, working as an artist self-managing her career and running her own independent label. “I wouldn’t recommend it for everybody,” she says. “You really do have seven jobs. It’s time consuming and difficult on many levels.

“But for me, it works really well right now,” she continues. “I spent a number of years on major labels, and the record industry itself is so unpredictable. And it was taking four years between every record, which is crazy. To have to wait four years every time you want to put something new out is incredibly frustrating.”

Though she does miss having a team behind her (“When it works, it can be great”), “at the end of the day,” she says, “you’re going to care more than anyone else about your own art or your own career.”

These days, going independent necessitates getting creative to further musical goals. Yamagata is currently running a Pledge Music campaign, a crowd-funding program that will allow her to produce her next album as well as record a new acoustic version of Happenstance. “Pledge is a fan-based, connected platform to help artists show the behind-the-scenes process of making a record or going on tour, and the fans preorder the new album that they are helping to fund,” she explains. “You can offer different incentives and make it really cool with items that fans would enjoy but normally have no other way of getting. We’ve been running that simultaneously with the tour, and then, when I get back from tour, I’ll finish making the new record. So it’s a very busy time, that’s for sure.”

From major label complete with a “team” to independent running your own crowd-funding campaign, Yamagata’s definitely spent some time in the musical trenches. And yet her advice to up-and-coming musicians today is something she’s always done. “Play live, as much as possible,” she says. “Put yourself out there doing music, and build your fan base. Pay attention to your fans. The other stuff is unpredictable, but you can do great music that you love and other people will start loving it, too. It all starts with people who love your music.”

 

Taiwan music icon Jody Jiang Hui announces retirement

Channel News Asia:

Veteran Taiwanese singer Jody Jiang Hui announced Friday (Jan 2) at a media conference for her upcoming Taiwan concert tour that she has decided to retire from singing, reported Taiwan media.

I have been singing my whole life since I was 10. I thank heaven for blessing me with this gift and thank everyone for liking my singing. I can’t bear to go, but today, I want to announce that this concert tour will be my last,” said the 53-year-old singer tearfully.

After this, I’ll bid farewell to the stage and return to what life was like when I was 10, a time when there were no stage lights. Although I will not be a singer anymore, I still care for everyone and will do my bit to help the many who need help in society.”

Jiang is a music icon in Taiwan, and has released over 60 albums. She is best known for her songs like Wife and The Sound of Falling Rain.

The singer did not take any questions from reporters, but her manager re-iterated that Jiang decided to stop because she wanted to retire on a high note, and not because she is in ill health.

She is in very good health. That is why she decided to announce her retirement at this time. She wants to leave everyone with a beautiful impression of her,” said her manager. “She has been under enormous pressure preparing for her concert and has been losing sleep over it every day. Even I feel bad for her.”

Ameriie is back: New Albums, New Novels, New YouTube Channel 

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Audrey Magazine:

Listening to Ameriie talk a mile a minute, it sounds like she’s working on a million creative projects at once. The singer and musician is most known in mainstream America for her 2005 hit single “1 Thing,” back when her name only had one “i.” (The second “i,” which doesn’t affect the pronunciation, was added in 2010 for a different “vibration.”) Since then, she’s released two albums — 2007’s Because I Love It, which was only released abroad, and 2009’s In Love & War, her first release under her own label, Feeniix Rising, which she created with her husband and collaborator Lenny Nicholson. And she has two more in the works (BILI, a nod to the initials of the earlier album Because I Love It, and Cymatika Vol. 1, the first of a trilogy in mind) that are scheduled for a 2015 release.

Ameriie is constantly planning, constantly thinking and constantly putting together vocals, chords, beats and drum riffs in her head, even if she encounters writer’s block and needs to go on a run to tempt inspiration to come. She doesn’t like to write down her ideas, because she feels like it loses some of the magic. (“If the idea is good,” she insists, “I’ll remember.”) And she’ll throw herself into each project. “I always record in the dark, and then I pace,” she says. “I go into a corner and face the wall, so it probably looks creepy.” But after she’s done, she’s on to the next thing. And when she’s not writing, recording or performing music, she’s working on her novels. Yes, novels, plural — one a young adult story and another that has a fantasy theme. She makes it a point to write almost every day, and her drafts and outlines are impressively organized on Scrivener, her choice of writing software she can’t stop raving about.

She’s been like this since she was a kid. Before she pursued music, she wrote stories and even worked on an epic saga that took her from third grade to eighth grade to finish. “I could have sworn it was hundreds of pages, but recently, I found it and it was only like 200 pages,” she remembers, laughing. “It was about a lone 9-year-old who arrives at the stables and asks if they need a stable cleaner. The family hires her, she befriends the youngest daughter, and the two of them are terrorized by her older twins.”

The creativity gene comes from Ameriie’s Korean mother, who, in addition to being a voracious reader, is also a painter, a pianist and a poet. Her mother introduced her to traditional Korean music, classical music and singers like Barbra Streisand, while her African American father introduced her to Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson. On top of that, she moved around a lot as a kid, living in Germany for three years where she discovered German pop and ’80s new wave, and she later went through a phase where she only listened to heavy metal for a year. As a result, even though many of her fans know her for her R&B/soul/hip-hop sounds, for which she earned two Grammy nominations, her musical influences are equally diversified.

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Sometimes I’m like, ‘Sensory overload! Sensory overload!’” she says, “and I can feel overwhelmed. But I do love to create.”

That was the theme for Because I Love It, a celebration of making art for the pure love of it. While the upcoming BILI will retain a couple of songs from the 2007 album, it’s mostly filled with new music that is sonically similar — a blend of hip-hop, soul, new wave and electronica. The album’s first single, “What I Want,” produced by her husband, and its lyric video have been released.

In contrast, Cymatika Vol. 1’s sound is bolder and more cinematic. “Cymatics is the study of visual sound,” explains Ameriie. “They’ll take sand on a plate and put vibrations through it, and you can watch the sand making shapes when you go from one frequency to the next. The patterns aren’t random; sound affects the matter in a certain geometric pattern, so that made me think about what sound does to us, how we’re affected by music and our own words.

A lover of sci-fi and fantasy, Ameriie always likes to think big, which sometimes results in disappointment. “Things I want to do always cost too much money,” she laments. “I always have a big production in my brain. And then it’s like, ‘That’s great that you want it to snow in the middle of the forest, but that’s not really going to work within our budget.’”

But that’s what she loves about writing music: Even if she can’t squeeze in a whole apocalyptic storyline into one of her music videos, she can add as many vocals and instruments as she wants to her songs and make it as grand as she likes. She imagines Cymatika Vol. 1 as a score for a movie like the epic fantasy war film 300, based on the comic book series by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley.

Looking forward, she wants her art to go weirder, and she wants to take more risks. But mostly, she wants to release music faster. “Putting out projects traditionally is hard for me,” she says of working with her former label, Columbia Records. “Sometimes it was two to three years in between projects!” If she had it her way, she’d be able to release music whenever she felt like it.

But until then, Ameriie keeps herself busy. Two albums, a potential EP she’s thinking of giving out free to her fans, two novels, a new YouTube channel called Books Beauty Ameriie, and a long-standing goal to improve her Korean language skills. Though she’s conversationally fluent — she’s done music collaborations with K-pop artists 4Minute, Se7en and Tiger JK — she wishes she had more confidence when she spoke. So creating her own Rosetta Stone language class — just another thing to add onto Ameriie’s to-do list.

To keep up with Ameriie, follow her on Tumblr, Instagram and official website.