Erin Lee
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Erin Lee

Band Jazz Soul


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"From Small Town Fame To The Big Apple"

At 23 years old with a voice wrapped in soul, Erin Lee is the epitome of a strong Asian American Woman. For that reason, she is known as "The Soulstress." With a balance of jazz, soul and R&B, the Koreatown native and former art major shares her journey of self-acceptance and love after self-rejection. The hate and hard-knocked relationships in her lyrics are comparable to the works of India.Arie and Jill Scott.

Chosen from a long list of contestants, Lee will perform in Harlem at the famous Apollo Theater, home of the TV show, "Showtime at the Apollo".

"There were (more than) a hundred people in front of me..." (continue reading entire text at - Dig Magazine

"Love Yourself Is My Music (Translated from Korean)"

Full text is written in Korean. Please translate to English. View full press review at: - The Korea Times

"Erin Lee: The Soulstress"

Erin Lee is hot! She's talented, articulate, and destined for glory. I called my colleagues over to my computer to one afternoon to hear her music on Myspace, and watched their faces as they listened to the voice of Erin Lee for the first time. We have all concurred that she is a gem. I contacted Erin, who readily provided Music For America with this exclusive interview. Enjoy.

MFA: How would you describe your music style? Why does this style fit you?

My musical style is a modern blend of Soul with Jazz, R&B, classical, and Hip-Hop influences. Vocally, I was trained classically with liturgical pieces; but personally, I had a huge passion for R&B when I was growing up. I was always getting into trouble for adding soulful rifts to strict liturgical pieces! R&B and Jazz involve vocal rifts that allow freedom and challenge for me. Soul music is just a natural part of my being.

Who have been your biggest influences musically?

Growing up, I had many influences musically, ranging from classical to blues artists. However, the artists that really made me pursue my dreams and help craft my unique style are Jill Scott, India Arie, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Kevyn Aucoin [who is a brilliant make-up artist], Erykah Badu, my brother Robin Lee, Selena, Maxwell, Ella Fitzerald, Billie Holiday, and Sade.

How long have you been making music, and when did you know that you wanted to make it a professional endeavor?

I began playing the violin at the age of 5, and I still play today, at the age of 22. My mother placed me in various competitions and children's orchestras. She managed my musical career when I was younger. She would constantly dedicate her time towards my musical future by developing my talent. She would set up solo violin shows; place me in adult orchestras by the time I was 8; and enter me into national and local music competitions. Consequently, having the dream and passion to perform in front of large audiences has always been a part of me. I didn't wake up one morning and say, "I want to be a famous singer!!” Performing has always been a fire in my blood – it is just a part of my being. I began writing music and penning poetry at the age of 11.

I was attending Otis College of Art and Design for a bit, but I decided to give my all to pursuing my career as a female vocalist. My parents had a very difficult time of accepting my decision. So, for a long time, I was on my own. Only my best friends both knew and supported what I was up to. I first entered the entertainment industry by becoming a professional make-up artist for photo shoots and cosmetic companies, which doesn't guarantee a stable income.

However, working as part of the industry gave me the experience and confidence to perform. My performance experience began with poetry at spoken-word events. Soon, I recorded a two track demo, which was a learning experience.

For the last couple of years, I've been working extremely hard to make my own name in the industry. Five years feel like ten. However, I love what I do, so it never feels like work. I believe that creating art and performing music have and always will be a part of me.

When will your first CD be released, and where will it be available? How many tracks will be on it, and what is it titled?

My debut album should be released by August or September of 2005. I was aiming for June, but last minute changes always arise in this industry... so, unfortunately, we had to prolong the release of the album. The album should be available to purchase soon at upcoming shows. The album will also be available for purchase via the internet at sites such as and at my official website (

Currently, I'm working with All In Productions -- the production company that is handling all my promotions, the creation of my album, and touring. At the moment, the release date is being finalized. Details will be available by the end of July. The album will have six tracks, which include two amazing cover songs. The album is yet to be titled.

Are you signed with a record label?

I am not currently signed with a record label. However, I have labels interested in me as an artist, but my signature is yet to sign a contract. I'm signing my life away, so I have to take my time.

Where have you performed live? Do you have any upcoming shows?

I have performed poetry at some hot joints in Los Angeles such as Da Poetry Lounge, and, A Mic and Dim Lights. I performed live wherever I could, no matter how small the venue. As a featured artist, I played in venues such as The Knitting Factory, Club Fais Do-Do, and The Kotton Klub.

For the upcoming tour, we're hitting up local spots around Los Angeles, and tentatively the East Bay and San Francisco. I'd love to tour Chicago and New York, but we have yet to confirm the exact dates and locations. My official website will have all the touring information.

Have you collaborated with any other performers? Who would you love to collaborate with?

I've collaborated with numerous local artists, such as Mike B, who is an amazing guitarist. I've worked with numerous producers, but haven't released anything to the public. Cori Jacobs is an amazing producer and a dear friend that I was blessed to work with. He is well known around Los Angeles for being an amazing producer and keyboardist. His musical styles are crazy!

In the future, I'd love to collaborate with Maxwell, Mos Def, Jin the MC, Tasha (crazy female mc), Bahamadia, Kim Bum Soo, Me'shell Ndeogcello, The Roots, Nas, John Legend, Wyclef Jean, Jill Scott, Q Productions, and the list goes on.

Do you have a band that backs your vocals?

I don't have a set band that backs my vocals. I usually audition musicians and then put together a temporary band for all my shows. I play the violin and piano. I took up the Gayaggum (a traditional Korean stringed instrument) for a little bit, but couldn't keep up with my lessons. One day, I'll take it up again. You'll probably hear the instrumental sample on the album. I'd love to expose American audiences to my Korean culture.

You are involved with another project, called Formations. What is that project about, and how did it evolve for you?

I'm involved with "Faceformations Make-up Design". It is my make-up artistry company. You can check out my work by visiting my official website. We do make-up for films, fashion photography, fashion shoots, headshots, portraits, and creative projects.

As the business grows, I plan to create an official styling agency which will employ the best make-up artists, hairstylists, and clothing stylists. The agency will also have a mentoring department which will sponsor youth that are interested in working in the entertainment industry, but don't have the support system they need to pursue their crafts.

Make-up artistry involves knowledge of color, skin, symmetry, blending, and being able to adapt to the client's personality. The most amazing make-up artists have the ability to look beyond the skin and peer into the canvas' soul. I started make-up as a hobby at the age of 12, chasing people around with orange lipstick! Gradually, my experimenting with colors and blending developed into a real craft. All my peers knew me as the "go-to" girl if they had a make-up emergency. When I left college, I started freelancing and assisting professional make-up artists for free. I didn't care about the money. I just wanted to learn as much as I could. After building a strong foundation through my experiences, I began freelancing on my own by working for well-known cosmetic companies that cater to A-list celebrities. I took a break from the make-up artistry as a business for a year, although I was doing it on the side for fun. However, I've come back into the business with a stronger passion. I'm currently involved with test shoots back-to-back.

How old are you? Is there anyone else in your family who is involved with music?

I'm 22 years old, which apparently is equal to 29 in the industry, since they count by dog years. My entire family is involved with art and music. My uncles, aunts, and parents are involved in the floral and interior design industry. My older brother has been a tremendous influence musically. He plays the cello and piano. Although he's classically trained, he can play any song from any genre by ear. He got me into professional choirs and Broadway musicals. My brother would be vacuuming and say, "hit that note!" and I'd be matching the musical note of a vacuum! Our lives always revolved around art and music. My father is also a very good singer. I owe my musical foundation to my parents who made sure we always had money to pay my music teachers, even if we were just scraping by.

If you could perform at any venue in the world, where would it be and who would be your audience?

I would love to perform at the Apollo as a guest artist. I'd also love to perform on BET's 106th and Park! I don't have a preference for venues. As long as I have an audience to connect with, I'm happy. -


The Soulstress: A Journey (Self-titled EP) with 5 songs

Features production by:

*Valley Center Studios
*Grammy-winning Producer: Cori Jacobs



Erin Lee's most up-to-date projects include having recorded with Q-Productions in Corpus Christi, TX.
To view more credits, please visit:


In a world full of bubblegum rock, cookie-cutter Asian pop and bling, The Soulstress offers Neo-soul with a touch of Jazz. Throughout the years, The Soulstress has established herself as one of the rare Asian-American artists to create and perform stirring Neo-soul music. At the tender age of 5, the thought-provoking artist picked up the violin and quickly fell passionately in love with music. She lived, breathed, and ate music in her daily life. Growing up in Koreatown, Los Angeles, she was exposed to the harsh realities of poverty, gang violence, and racial prejudice. In order to keep her distracted from becoming involved with dangerous paths, her parents placed her in numerous orchestras and music competitions.

Although she won many violin competitions and played her own concerts, The Soulstress knew that singing was truly her calling. She quickly began writing poetry at the age of 11 and soon penned her own songs. Through years of classical music training in voice and violin, she paved her own path to a musical destiny. Soon, the Hip-Hop and R&B that she listened to became her passion. While singing classical and liturgical pieces, she'd go home and practice the R&B rifts of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. Her obsessions with singing and writing became so strong that she sacrificed a promising education in fashion design at a prestigious institution to pursue her dreams of becoming a soul-stirring singer. She continues to perform passionate and soulful music.

She is influenced by a diverse variety of legendary artists such as Jill Scott, Sade, Erykah Badu, Selena, Nydia Rojas, Celine Dion, Celia Cruz, Ella Fitzgerald, and Isabel Pantojas.


Entertainment Resume:

*Korean Health Association Annual Banquet (Black Tie Affair) / Special Guest Artist
*The World Famous Apollo Theater / Featured Artist
*The Airliner Club/Lounge / Guest Artist
*KATE in Beverly Hills / Guest Artist
*Highland Grounds Café / Artist
*Zen Sushi Club/lounge / Guest Artist
*Eagle Rock Underground / Guest Artist with collaborations by Funk band “Slang” (KCRW)
*El Cid Theater / Featured Artist
*UCI Korean Cultural Night’s “Most Wanted Showcase” / Awarded “Top Performer”
*UCI Korean Cultural Night Annual Event / Guest Artist
*Worldwide Star Search 2005 / Finalist
*Worldwide Star Search 2006 / Awarded “Singer of the Year”
*Los Angeles Coliseum / Guest Artist
*Poet’s Jazz House / Guest Artist
*Foxx Club / Featured Artist
*B.B. King’s / Background vocals for Golden Entertainment
*The Knitting Factory with X2 Productions / Featured Artist
*Midnight Theatre / Featured Artist
*Kotton Club / Featured Artist
*Club Fais Do-Do Industry Showcase / Featured Artist
*Loyola Concert Choir / Madrigal Singer / Touring
*Da Poetry Lounge / Spoken Word Poet
*A Mic and Dim Lights / Spoken Word Poet
*In-House Records showcase / Featured Jazz Artist
*100.3 The Beat & Sunkist Soda Talent Search / Featured Contestant


*Q-Productions (Selena Quintanilla)/Abraham Quintanilla (recorded several Tejano songs)
*Haters Lip Service / Cori Jacobs (Grammy Winner; The Pussycat Dolls)
*Loyola Concert Choir Album
*Self-Produced album “A Journey”/ The Soulstress
*Nic Nak Productions / Female Vocalist for Background Vocals and Hooks
*Hazzardous Hip Hop / Background Vocalist/ Session Writer
*Inkwistive Hip Hop / Background Vocalist



*Classically trained in violin from age 5-15
*Trained in violin by: Abraham Stern, Yuki Mori, Fung Ho, and Chan Ho Park
*Loves to sing in Spanish
*Trained with Loyola Concert Choir in liturgical music
*Current vocal coach: NJVI (Natalie Jensen)
*Member of Oriental Mission Church's Adult Symphony Orchestra at the age of 9 (1st violin chair)
*Chosen from over 300 contestants to perform at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY