We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Hsu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
When I was younger, I thought that the more time I devoted to making music, the better my music would get. Not only was that an incorrect assumption, it’s also unsustainable. These days, I really value rest and spending quality time with people that I care about. When I’m well-rested, I’m more alert and productive when I am working on music. When I spend time with family and friends, I experience the connection and emotions that I want to communicate through my music. I’m still working on this work-life balance though. Like others, I grew up equating my self-worth to my work, and as a result, I feel guilty for resting and relaxing, even though that’s exactly what my body needs. Giving myself a hard rule to not work after certain hours and setting aside time to rest/relax has been really helpful.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I write songs, produce music, and sing. I make silky r&b sprinkled with traditional East Asian elements and futuristic candy. I’m really proud of the music that I will be releasing this year, and I’m excited to share it! I used to be really shy about sharing my music. I would physically shake when playing songs for friends. This was just 3 years ago! I found that daily music practice and sharing my music with others even when it was scary, was all it took to banish those fears. Now, I’m at a point where I’m happy with the music that I’m making. A few years ago, I was going to play a show at a bar in San Diego, and I was a ball of nerves. My friend gave me the best advice that I still think of any time I get lost in my thoughts: “Don’t think, just do.”
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take my friend to Lao Tao for lunch to get some yummy Taiwanese food. Then we’d go downstairs and check out the clothes and accessories at East/West Shop. We’d take a walk through Chinatown, exploring the beautiful decorations and the cool stuff that the vendors sell. We’d get some sweet Chinese baked goods at Wonder Bakery. Then we’d venture over to Apothéke for a drink or two. Then we would frolic over to Little Tokyo to walk around and shop, making sure to stop by Popkiller. And then we’d have a lovely dinner at Pasta e Pasta. And since I always try to throw in a Karaoke session whenever I can, we’d end the night at Max Karaoke! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Big thanks to my siblings (Irene, Carol, and William), my music coach @dotmvsic, all the producers/vocalists/writers in @tribe20.4, and my best friends that I used to dance with in Main Stacks–I love you all, thank you for supporting me and encouraging me!