Liu Sola
courtesy of Liu Sola

That Thing That She Does: Singer, composer, novelist

It’s not surprising that Liu Sola, bohemian hippy teen of the 1960s, developed a creative and prolific career as a jazz singer, composer and novelist.

What is unusual, though, is that her eclectic and powerful artist’s voice began to grow in Beijing — smack in the middle of China’s Cultural Revolution, an era not exactly known for its tolerance of anything counter-culture.

But as Liu told “Virtual China” magazine, she was a teenager in Beijing reading such controversial titles as Catcher in The Rye, viewing the works of artist Vincent Van Gogh and playing guitar with her friends. She then traveled the world, finally settling in New York City.

Her music and writing reflect the chaotic and varied influences that she’s experienced in her life. Her music school graduation thesis was a symphony that aired on Beijing Radio. She produced her first album, “Blues in the East”, about ten years ago. It has been followed by eight other CDs reflecting a mixture of jazz, Chinese folk, Peking opera, and rock. She’s also written five works of fiction starting with You Have No Choice, a novel about — what else? — life in music school.

What’s Next? Liu has returned to China to promote a more open music scene among local musicians, playing a series of concerts across the country. She will go back again to work on “The New Folk Project,” a cultural exchange between Chinese and other world musicians.

How She Shakes Off A Bad Day: “I practice Qi gong.” (A gentle and medicinal set of slow movements meant to improve the health).

Favorite Way to Travel: “An airplane, I guess.”

Liu Sola

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