We had the good fortune of connecting with Julian Ho and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julian, how do you think about risk?
Making a living as a musician comes with a lot of risk and reward. Will committing a lot of time to this artist pay off? Will people vibe with my new song? Should I play a dense groove or keep it simple? The choices I make can make or break the music and ultimately my career. It’s a lot of pressure. Instead of focusing on the pressure of risk I prefer to think of risk as opportunity with an unknown outcome. The most meaningful musical moments of my life were a result of embracing risk and accepting the unknown.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My family is the embodiment of “new” America. My Dad is 2nd generation Chinese American, my Mom is White (Italian/Irish) and my half sister is Black/White. Dad expanded his mind with rock and folk, Mom relaxed to jazz and my sister bumped golden era Hip Hop, Neo-soul and R&B. My youth was a mosaic of eclectic music and culture. I’m most proud of my family’s resilience. It wasn’t easy being a mixed family in a predominantly white conservative suburb but we did our best to make it work. At the time it was confusing, but now I’m grateful that I was exposed to different cultures early on. Those early experiences inform my music and inspire me to uplift others who have trouble fitting in. In my teens, I played a little bit around Los Angeles but my career didn’t really start until I went to college for music. While studying, I performed and taught with my school Musicians Institute in Korea, China and Thailand several times.Traveling with the school really opened my eyes and set me on a new path of cultural and musical exploration.
Since then, I’ve been able to work with great artists like Ann One, Ruby Ibarra, Artur Menezes, and Aga to name a few. Currently, I’m working on a project with Ann One that fuses Soul and Hip hop with the aim of elevating voices from the Asian American community and beyond. Right now is a trying time for Asian Americans. We are more visible in American media than ever before but we are simultaneously being violently attacked and harassed on the street, at work and online. My greatest hope is that Asian Americans seize this moment and raise our voices to let America know “WE ARE AMERICAN” through music, art, movies, television and political action. We are 18 million rising and we aren’t going anywhere.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Some of my favorite restaurants and eateries include Din Tai Fung, Lunasia, Roscoe’s, Bootleg Pizza, Cafe Dulce, Twinkle Brown Sugar Tea, Cole’s French Dip, Papillon International Bakery and Tacos Manzano to name of few. My favorite places to see live music are The Wiltern, El Rey, Maui Sugar Mill, Bootleg Theater, the Baked Potato and the Hotel Cafe. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shout-out to Ann one, my parents, my sister, my aunties/uncles, my overtly racist middle school math teacher, and all the Asians who are discovering themselves.