Magdalen Hsu-Li

            Magdalen Hsu-Li is an Asian-American music artist, painter, poet, and speaker. A pioneering Asian-American woman in music, Magdalen is one of the first openly out bi Chinese-American singer-songwriters in the United States who is becoming a star in the acoustic/pop/folk/alternative genres. She is already an acclaimed performer on the college, festival, folk, and club tour circuits, and her music offers rebellion in sexy, soaring vocals and gritty, angst-filled lyricism. One of the first Asian-American music artists to command the alternative college playlist, Magdalen brings a confident voice and an astute awareness of her role as catalytic spokeswoman for America’s melting pot. She is opening new doors of expression for Asian-Americans and people everywhere, and is poised to become a cross-cultural pop icon. Redefining her torrid mix as a woman at the threshold of tumultuous change in America, she exposes the treacherous currents that underlie our national fabric, and explores pathways through which we all meet.


            Magdalen began her artistic life as a painter and visual artist. Graduating with a BFA in Painting from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI, she won the coveted Oxbow Fellowship, Talbot Rantoul Scholarship and Florence Leif Scholarship for Excellence in Painting. In 1992 she migrated to Seattle, WA and became immersed in the legendary Seattle music scene of the early 90’s. She began her study of jazz and classical music at Cornish College of the Arts, and was the recipient of the 1995 Cornish Music Scholarship.


In 1997, Magdalen founded Chickpop Records. That same year she founded Femme Vitale, The Seattle Women's Music and Arts Coalition, a women's arts advocacy organization that won a Special Projects Grant from the King County Arts Commission. Femme Vitale hosted numerous educational workshops, festivals, arts exhibitions, and performance events around Seattle, King County and the West Coast throughout 1996-1997. Magdalen was nominated for a GLAMA (Gay and Lesbian American Music Award) for "Best Out Song" for "Monkeygirl,” the single from her critically acclaimed 1998 release Evolution. The CD received airplay on hundreds of college and commercial radio stations throughout the US.  Magdalen’s music charts regularly on the Outvoice GLBT Music Charts.

Most recently, Magdalen’s devoted national fanbase has made her hugely popular on the grassroots, college, folk, and GLBT music circuits. Her much anticipated new release "Fire" has received rave reviews in Curve, The Advocate, Performing Songwriter, A Magazine, Rockrgrl, Voice of America, Dish Magazine, Alice, Girlfriends, Yolk, Bamboo Girl, and Women's Monthly, and in hundreds of newspapers across the country.  Recently FIRE was named one of the best top 12 DIY albums by Performing Songwriter, and won "Best Producer" at the 2002 Outvoice Music Awards.

Magdalen’s live shows are powerful, magical, high energy events featuring piano, guitar, vocal, and drumset duos, four piece band arrangements, thought provoking poetry readings with elements of comedic standup, and spiritually rousing percussion and drum improvisations. In addition to performances, her lecture series offers an academic side to her program, including slide presentations of her paintings. Her talent, prowess, and skill as a musician, singer, painter, poet, and person continues to deepen her musical artistry with a positive, universal message about love, multiculturalism, spirituality, relationships, and diversity. She emerges as a new voice for an increasingly diverse multicultural mainstream audience coming of age in the 21st Century. She is clearly an artistic visionary in her own right, making music and art with all her might.

            Born in America's rural South to Dr. and Mrs. George Tze-Ching Li, Magdalen was raised in one of the only Asian families in Martinsville, VA amid a sea of seething black and white racial animosity, patriarchal tyranny, and conservative consumerism. In her formative years. Magdalen battled and eventually conquered a disability called Tourette’s Syndrome. She recalls how hard it was growing up. "There were cows, cornfields, Ku Klux Klan marches, and preppy debutantes, and no Asians anywhere," she said. "To top it off, I had Tourettes which immediately set me apart from others, and I was experiencing racism and bigotry on a daily basis at school."  "I didn’t even know that I was an artist.  I found solace and an understanding of who I was by listing to Peter Gabriel’s music. It was through music and art that I began to shape my true identity and learn to accept myself for being different.”


            Contact address: Chickpop Records, 117 E. Louisa St., Suite #422, Seattle, WA 98102.


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