DeAnna is an actress based in New York City. Her artistic career began at the age of 7 covering songs from The Little Mermaid in her laundry room, and led her to take on principal roles in high school. After studying at the Berklee College of Music, she went on to join the national tour of The King and I as Lady Thiang and become a featured Soprano Soloist in the Carnegie Hall premiere of Christopher Tin’s Calling All Dawns. Currently, Choi is working on The Emperor’s Nightingale off-Broadway, and is working on a Christmas EP for 2022 with two concerts in London and in Madagascar lined up! She also makes time giving back to her community with the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre (a non-profit with a mission to provide performing opportunities to diverse actors. Her advice to young artists? “Seek out opportunities to perform live, as this will be your best training ground to put your tools to the test.” Read on to learn more about DeAnna Choi and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Heritage: Korean American
Hometown: Portland, OR
Current City: New York
Current project: Off Broadway’s The Emperor’s Nightingale
What are some of your favorite credits/projects:
Lady Thiang in the National Tour of The King and I. And featured Soprano Soloist in the Carnegie Hall premiere of Christopher Tin’s Calling All Dawns.
Any advice for young people getting into the arts?
If you love what you do, keep practicing your craft and learn from teachers and peers constantly. Seek out opportunities to perform live, as this will be your best training ground to put your tools to the test. If someone tries to make you doubt your dreams and goals just ignore their comments and steer the conversation in a more positive direction — they will start to believe you soon enough!
How did you get your start?
I performed in my high school musical theater program where they recognized that I had talent and put me in lead roles, even as an Asian American. I kept auditioning for shows as I got older trying to find more lead roles and sometimes ensemble. But my skills are best suited for principal roles.
Do you have any favorite moments in your career that you'd like to share?
My favorite moment was performing on stage with Grammy Award winner, Christopher Tin, on stage at Carnegie Hall, to his most beautiful music from Calling All Dawns. He conducted with so much joy and love for the music and it spread through all the performers and into the audience. He is an amazing man, and I was so honored to perform with him.
What have you found is the biggest challenge in your career?
Believing in myself. There is so much competition and so many barriers we have to face in regards to race and opportunity. And then having Asian parents who wanted me to become a doctor or accountant was also not helpful. But ultimately, it is you who has to decide what your destiny will be. If you don’t decide that you’re gonna do it then it will never happen. Everything changed for me the day I decided to make this my career. Shortly after, I auditioned for the national tour of The King and I and I booked one of the lead roles!
What are some interesting facts about yourself?
I was the Homecoming Queen! I was never really a popular girl in my school, but I was always nice to everyone and somehow more people voted for me to be the Queen than other girls and I got the crown! Really wild!
Do you have any organizations or non profits you work with you’d like to highlight?
I work with the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre as an actor which is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide performing opportunities to diverse actors.
Do you have any mentors?
Not yet, but I’m looking for one! I think a good mentor can really help pave the way. Maybe I can be one for someone else!
Did you always want to be in the arts or did you have another path before you got here?
Yes! I always wanted to be in the Arts. From the age of 7 when I started singing from The Little Mermaid in the laundry room, I knew I HAD to sing for the rest of my life.
When did you know you wanted to have a career in the arts?
Same as above.
Did you have any interesting “odd jobs” you worked at between gigs to pay the bills?
I worked in accounting. I prepared people’s tax returns, did bookkeeping for small companies, for 10 years before I decided to pursue my dreams to be a professional singer.
Do you have any other “special skills?”
Hahaha, I would say singing but now that’s my job! I used to be able to say that when I worked in accounting. Other than that, I am able to experience something I’ve done a hundred times as if it’s the first time I’ve done it. So I have the ability to get really enthusiastic about things over and over again. :)
Do you have any side projects you’d like to highlight?
I am working on a Christmas EP for 2022 in addition to the concert I have in London and in Madagascar this year!
If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
Take more dance classes! And don’t be such a perfectionist. If perfectionism is getting in the way of you performing or creating art then it’s not serving you.
What skills did you find to be the most helpful in your career?
Business skills and discipline to keep showing up and learning new things.
Where did you study at?
Berklee College of Music
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Actually, I decided to pursue my career in singing and then booking a National Tour and a solo spot at Carnegie Hall all within 1 year of that decision.
What are some goals you hope to achieve?
Have a worldwide following on social media and to be able to be available to help people with their artistic goals.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love sharing my soul’s experience with others through my music.
What helped you most to rebound from what you considered your biggest failure or mistake in your career?
To know that it’s quantity over quality. You will only learn and get better by putting out massive amounts of content and performances.
Do you have any self care practices you do to stay focused and sane? What was your self care routine before the pandemic and how has that (as well as your views of self care) changed throughout the pandemic?
I exercise regularly and eat clean and healthy. SO KEY!
Since so many of us spent a lot of time isolated during the pandemic, how has that experience specifically changed your creative or preparation process?
I became so much more creative during the pandemic and realized that I can create my own work and put it on social media and there is always an audience. So I spent quite some time learning how to film and produce my own work and it has been very gratifying!
To find out more about DeAnna, please visit her at:
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