Thanks to Yasuko on FoJG...
A: I was always drawn to the piano. I couldn't explain it. Even when I could hardly walk, I walked over to a piano and would just bang the keys. Or I would figure our what note it was. If I heard a melody, I would try to lean the melody. Eventually I taught myself to play the piano. Everything I do now on the piano I basically taught myself. It's something I always had an instinct for.
Q: You are basically saying you were Amadeus Mozart? A prodigy? (laughs)
A: Yes, but I haven't written twenty operas yet! (laughs)
Q: So you took up music as a vocation?
A: No. I knew that music was my greatest joy in my life, but I wasn't really thinking of it as a job. It wasn't until I was maybe fourteen that I started to realise that "Oh my gosh, wouldn't it be amazing if I could actually make a living doing what I love, making music?" Then I took up acting. I learnt about musical theater and opera. I kept writing music. I did a lot of things. Eventually it turned into this ten-year journey of what these CDs are, and I can't believe that it actually came true.
Q: You are now established as a classical crossover artist. But American music charts and radios are so genre-oriented. When you first started out, didn't you worry that you might confuse people?
A: I didn't think about it at all, because it was just me. To me, I have a category of one. I was just trying to compete with myself and be the best singer I could be. When people get confused by my music, I just say that I'm just being myself. My favorite artists are the ones I don't categorize. I like them because they are doing something different and unique like Depeche Mode, Annie Lennox, or Pavarotti ... it's true America is obsessed with charts. But it's hard to categorize music now. You've got a rap artist playing with orchestras and an opera singer makes a rock album. Everybody is fascinated with each other's world. There is this feeling of blurring and crossing that is very inspiring to me.
Q: You have an amazing voice. Opera singers and musical singers usually make a cover album, but you sing your own music.
A: I think it's important for me to add personal identity to the songs. It's very challenging to find a great song with with you can connect. Rick Rubin, the producer of my new album, wanted to make songs coming from me, not just being presented by me as a vocalist. I like finding beautiful songs and just singing my heart out. But it's much more rewarding when you can fell that your stories and your life were represented in songs.