Yify Zhang is a “cinematic-electronic singer-songwriter and sound healer”based in Berlin. Gaining music exposure through violin study at the age of five, Zhang never considered a performing career until she sustained a spine injury and began piano music composition. Now, her work is heard in over 90 countries, gathering over 1 million streams! When Zhang isn’t songwriting, she hosts a sound healing project during full and new moons, “where singing bowl sounds are mixed with piano and electronic binaural beats to provide relaxation and transcendental activation for listeners.” She finds the ability to provide healing and comfort for her audiences to be exceptionally rewarding, and strives to take her healing project on a world tour someday! Her advice to young artists? “Even if there is rejection along the way, or feeling like your execution may never reach your vision, you (and your art) will keep getting better… Find artists who not only inspire you, but also give you that feeling of "if they can do it, so can I.” Read on to learn more about Yify Zhang and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Ada Zhang is an opera singer turned stage manager based in NYC. After attending Peking University and majoring in Art History, Zhang attended graduate school at Columbia University, majoring in theatre with an emphasis on stage management. She’s been on the road with the Wicked International Tour, Kinky Boots Asia Tour, Theater in Quarantine, SIX Aragon Tour, and most currently, Mahinerator at the Tank NYC! When she’s not onstage, Zhang is a huge advocate for The Tank NYC, “an off-off Broadway theatre that supports young artists who are in their early career” that curates equity and diversity in the arts industry. Her advice to young artists? “If you are SURE you want to do this, be brave, be resilient, and always be yourself.” Read on to learn more about Ada Zhang and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Mickey Bertelsen is a percussionist and Army Musician based in New Brunswick, NJ – but you might have caught her playing at the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Live in Concert National Tour or at the New York Giants Drumline. She went on to receive her undergrad at Central Michigan University, Masters at MSU, and Doctorate at Rutgers. Bertelsen loves that music has the capability to heal and and change lives, and that through this profession, she is “afforded many opportunities to travel” doing what she loves. Her advice to young artists? “Be fun to hang around, it's not all business all the time… gigs come by being a dependable person who's fun to work with!” Read on to learn more about Mickey Bertelsen and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Kathy Liu is a dancer and performer based in NYC. Her dance exposure began at the age of four with ballet, but soon expanded in high school during a period of style experimentation. Liu went on to put her violin background to use at school in orchestra and lend her voice to the choir and acapella group, and after a series of summer camps at a local community center, she fell in love with musical theatre. With training from The Ailey School and Fordham University, her resume now boasts credits such as Cabaret at Goodspeed Musicals, Apple TV’s Dickinson, and Watch Night workshop at Pearlman PAC – but you can catch her right now touring the country on the Funny Girl National Tour! Liu is a huge advocate for JChen Project, “ a small contemporary company based in NYC run by Jessica Chen” that prides itself on having an Asian-led company. Her advice to young artists? “Embrace your creativity and uniqueness, then try to be as clear as possible with your goals so that they feel reachable… Don't be afraid to just be a human and exist sometimes.” Read on to learn more about Kathy Liu and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Olivia Oguma is a multidisciplinary artist (and diehard Cirque du Soleil fan!) based in New York City. The daughter of a sushi chef and a ballerina, Oguma got her start at 6 years old on Sesame Street. Since then, she’s graced Broadway stages (Mamma Mia), originated the role of Kelsi Neilson in the first national tour of High School Musical, and worked on new works such as Snow Falling On Cedars,a stage version of the novel – and can now be seen in HAIR at Two River Theater as Jeanie and at Joe’s Pub hosting her Asian variety show, DiOrientalism, with Kate Rigg. When Oguma is not onstage, she sponsors a child through the Lelt Foundation, an organization that aids Ethiopian orphans founded by a Broadway pit musician (Anja Wood) that adopted an Ethiopian child. Her advice to young artists? “You need to decide what your definition of success is for yourself… sit down and say ‘I wanna be in the arts because I wanna tell stories.’” Read on to learn more about Olivia Oguma and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Tara Kostmayer is an actress (andSettlers of Catanmaster!) based in NYC. Initially a pre-med student interested in neuroscience at the University of California San Diego, it wasn’t until she joined a theatre club that landed Kostmayer in her first musical during her sophomore year. After booking the Disney Cruise Line as a MainStage performer, she decided to dedicate herself to a career in performance. Since then, her resume boasts credits such asA Chorus Lineat (NYCC Encores, theAladdinNational Tour,Chicagoat the MUNY, and currently Nessarose in Broadway’sWicked! Kostmayer’s advice to young artists? “... Take the opportunity to find what truly calls to you! You’ll have the most success doing what you love most and better to discover that as early as you can!” Read on to learn more about Tara Kostmayer and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Elise Solbergis a musician and performer based in Los Angeles. She got her start at four years old playing piano, which took her to the Yamaha Advanced Piano Academy in Tokyo. Upon moving to America, she took classical lessons from individual teachers, eventually receiving admittance to theUniversity of Southern California in the Thornton School of Music. After graduating, Solberg received an offer to perform alongside Chloe x Halle on MTV! Now, her resume includes credits such as playing at Coachella with Doechii, the Oscars for Beyoncé, the Veterans History Project for the Library of Congress, and NPR’sTiny Desk Concert. You can also catch her flute solo in Dannylux’s new album, “DLUX” with a flute solo – and now that she’s signed with Warner Chappell and Sir Nolan, you can expect to hear more soon! When she’s not creating, Solberg is the founder and executive director of Turn Up Her Mic, a nonprofit to empower women in live music in a male-dominated field. Her advice to young artists? “Whatever career you choose in the arts, it’s important to always remember that it is a marathon, not a sprint.”Read on to learn more aboutElise Solbergand what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
The Cre8sian Project Scholarships, through Positively Arts (a 501c3 non profit) and in partnership with “In Her Purpose,” are open to female and female identifying high school and middle school students attending public, private, or home school with an interest in the arts, have some asian heritage, and live in Clark County, or attend a university within Clark County and pursuing a degree in Fine Arts. Students who are involved in any aspect of the arts, not just performance, are encouraged to apply. This can include writers, photographers, filmmakers, technical stage crew (carpentry, props, lighting, automation, audio, set design, stage managers), artists, graphic designers, directors, acrobats, singers, dancers, musicians, composers, arrangers, etc.
Claire Chan is a violinist based in NYC. She also learned to play the viola at a summer music camp run by Joseph Fuchs. During audition preparation for her Master’s, she unknowingly was considered for a regional orchestra and received her first paid gig in New York! After attending The Juilliard School for her Master’s and Doctorate with her teacher, Joseph Fuchs, she went on to collaborate with the Harlem Chamber Players Quartet and play with Broadway’s revival ofSweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Chan attended Brown, where she studied pre-med and majored in Neuroscience as an undergraduate, and has experience as a phlebotomist! Her advice to young artists? “Play for as many people as you can; go to them if they can’t come to you.” Read on to learn more about Claire Chan and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Erin Quill is a multidisciplinary artist with a love for shark documentaries. In another life, she might have been a marine biologist, but her path led her towards singing in middle school and pushed her to attend Carnegie Mellon for her BFA. Now, her resume boasts credits such asAvenue Q(original Broadway cast),Flower Drum Song(50th anniversary),Dave(an original musical), Netflix’sSack Lunch Bunchwith John Mulaney, and an episode ofLaw and Order SVU. She’s also contributed to the booksRISE(“a pop-culture history of Asian America from the 90s to now”), andTheatre Blogging: The Emergence of a Critical Culture, written the script for a comic book about the first Puerto Rican, superhero, La Boriqueña (RICANSTRUCTION), andis currently turning her short film,Queen Bessie’s Gal, into a possible feature or series. When she’s not immersed in creation, Quill can be found working with Pan Asian Rep Theater Company in NYC or supporting Broadway Cares/Equity FIghts AIDS and Desert AIDS Project. Her advice to young artists? “If you’re going into the arts, you have to be brave… don’t do it unless you cannot think of how else you are going to maneuver through life.”Read on to learn more about Erin Quill and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Jen Cheng is a multidisciplinary artist with a passion for amplifying underrepresented voices based in West Hollywood. As an avid young reader, Cheng found the magic in reading – using character voices when storytelling to her younger siblings and envisioning how she could write her worlds into existence. Upon acceptance with a full scholarship to a summer journalism program at SF State her senior year of high school, she continued to seek out her voice and perfect her craft. Now, Cheng is about to release a book (Braided Spaces) in October and a single about self-discovery on the way, is in the process of penning both a mystery detective novel and a tween show, and will be developing a documentary project about LGBTQ elders. Her advice to young artists? “You’re still an artist even if you’re not doing it full-time. It’s like growing and watering a plant. Even if it’s not the ideal environment, if you’re keeping it alive and that’s sometimes what we have to do.” Read on to learn more about Jen Cheng and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Anu Bhatt is a multilingual actress and Bharatanatyam dancer based in Los Angeles. A love of performance led her to get her undergrad at UC Berkeley, MFA from CCPA/Roosevelt in Chicago, and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate from UCSD. After signing with an agent at her end-of-year showcase, she became a SAG-AFTRA member three years later. Now, her credits includeThe Seagull(Masha) at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, premiering and touring her one-woman showHollow/Wave, creating and award-winning first short film,AutoCorrect, and currently, her second short film,Crossing the Desert, which is in pre-production. Throughout her career, Bhatt found maintaining a resilience-based mindset proved valuable to fighting against cultural norms as she pursued the arts. Her advice to young artists? “Growth mindset, growth mindset, growth mindset. I can't say it enough… it's not only okay to fail, it's normal and necessary…” Read on to learn more about Anu Bhatt and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Jennifer Paz is a writer, mother, actress, and lyricist based in Los Angeles. She got her start starring as Kim in the first national tour ofMiss Saigon, and has since then lent her voice to Steven Universe, Steven Universe Future, and Steven Universe Movie Musical as Lapis Lazuli, joined Broadway’s company of Les Miserables,and performed in Cinderella, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Last Five Years, and Flower Drum Song – and became the executive producer of a single (and later music video) entitled “The Power of a Girl”! Now, Paz is working on the book and lyrics of Proud Marys, an original musical co-created with her husband, Anthony Fedorov and produced by Grammy Award winner Jeeve. When she’s not immersed in her art, she’s involved in the Mona Foundation (which “The Power of a Girl” was produced for!), an organization that educates girls and women in less fortunate communities worldwide. Her advice to young artists? “Trust your authentic voice and life experience… [and] have a sense of humor.” Read on to learn more about Jennifer Paz and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Kelsey Verzotti is an actress based in Toronto, Ontario. As a child, her parents provided her the opportunity to pursue the Arts through singing, piano, and dance. After entering (and placing in the top 10!) in a televised competition searching for the next Dorothy in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Wizard of OZ, Verzotti decided to pursue the Arts professionally by studying Musical Theatre Performance at Sheridan College. Her work includes Life After, Anne of Green Gables,The Antipodes, Divine Interventions, and Gaslight) – and currently, Kelly V. Kelly! When she’s not onstage, Verzotti is a huge supporter of the Canadian Green Alliance, an organization that aims to bring sustainability to the arts industry and those that work in it – and dreams of opening her own talent agency one day. Her advice to young artists? “Your uniqueness is your superpower! … All of the quirks that make you YOU will get you so much farther and keep you way happier. Read on to learn more about Kelsey Verzotti and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!