August 17, 2008

CALI DREAMING

For songwriter Priscilla Ahn, moving out West meant making it big
By Cristina Black

priscillaahn.jpgPriscilla Ahn speaks just like she sings, in a voice that’s sweet, hopeful, and full of life. The singer-songwriter is home in the L.A. apartment she shares with her boyfriend, taking a break between road gigs to promote her breezy debut album, A Good Day. The set of mellow, acoustic guitar-laden, love-and-life songs just came out on Blue Note, the legendary jazz imprint that nurtured Norah Jones to blockbuster status. Though it’s the one label Ahn always thought would be perfect for her, the contract, the tours, and the press are all a big surprise. “I didn’t expect anything at all,” she says modestly. The 24-year-old beauty is just happy to be making a career of music. “I feel really lucky that I’m able to make enough dough to just do this,” she says.

Ahn might feel like life is charmed at the moment, but it’s not as though her recent streak of golden opportunities came about purely by chance. A theme in Ahn’s back story that also emerges in her gentle music is that of perseverance in the face of self-doubt. Her first single, “Dream” paints a picture of a child imagining her own bright future: “I’m just a little girl/alone in my little world/who dreamed of a little home for me.”

That fictional child and Ahn herself seem to have quite a bit in common. Once a small-town Pennsylvania girl, Ahn wagered a college education against her desire to be a musician. A guitar player since age 14, she originally thought she’d parlay the hobby into an academic pursuit. Ironically, a professor at the state college music program where she’d auditioned encouraged her to put college aside and