Personal Biography

"What's your music about? What style is it?" That's such a hard question to answer and the more I learn about life the more blurred the edges get. Truthfully? I've never been a fan of categorizing anything - especially music. Doing that makes me think of the zoo - a place I never enjoyed going to. Who wants to see once proud wild creatures looking dull and lifeless from being trapped in a little cage? In my opinion, that's what happens to music when you put it in a box. I'm so thankful to be alive in the era of the internet and to have the opportunity for a musical independence that wasn't possible before.

I was born a true "army brat" in Fayetteville, North Carolina - an all-American blend of Korean, German and Polish ancestry. My four sisters and I were raised solely by my mom, after the separation of my parents when I was four. Early hardship will either make you or break you. All I can say is that it's a good thing I have a hard head and was lucky to find my passion and calling early in life.

But as I witnessed my mother's struggle to overcome the barriers of culture, language and poverty, I learned to understand the feeling of being a stranger in a strange land. These and other experiences are the foundation of my ongoing development as an artist and as a human being in this world. Woman in Shadow ( from Modern Babylon) is my tribute to my mom and is dedicated to those with the courage to leave behind everything they've known to make a better life.

So even though I never win money in Vegas, I've been very lucky. I came to L.A. knowing nobody and nothing just because I had a dream to live in California and somehow find a way to have music be my life. I learned no matter where you start from, any and all things are possible if you are determined enough to make it so. I waited tables and went to music school - studying theory and voice and dance. I sang in the choir ( no surprise that - I'd been singing in choirs since I was seven years old). We sang Bach AND Jester Hairston spirituals. I had the good fortune to have been exposed to an astonishingly wide variety of music, not to mention some of the best musicians in the world. It has given me the ear to be able to switch gears on a dime and the confidence and experience to handle whatever comes my way on the musical horizon.

People tell me I have a strong voice and I attribute my leather vocal cords (and my lightning fast metabolism!) to my mom. But it also came from the 'use or lose it' school of thought. I'm a singer - and I SING! I have to do it or I just don't feel right inside. It was as a foot soldier in the trenches of the music world that I honed my musical chops, while also honing my chops at life as a wife and mother (Like I said, I have a hard head). So I literally sang for my supper, working the local L.A. club scene, doing sessions and playing anywhere and everywhere I could - sometimes 6 nights a week - sometimes more! My personal best record is 18 consecutive nights in a row performing four 1 hour shows a night when on tour (in the desert!) with former Tower of Power guitarist, Bruce Conte.

My first big break as a songwriter and artist was when I was invited to audition for a Japanese record deal with Clarence Clemons, the sax player from Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and producer Michael Kaneko. Was it coincidence or fate that I was chosen out of 600 hopefuls around the world to record with a Philly icon that even my 80 year aunt recognized? Aja and The Big Man: 'Get It On' was the result and we are both really proud of the work we did. Clarence was a wonderful mentor. He shared his knowledge and walked me through the whole publicity process. He was so generous to me and I learned so much from him. Thanks to him I got to hear three of my songs - Rain, You Can't Hurt Me and Woman Of the World (co-written with Lynn Woolever, the best bassist and musician I know)- professionally recorded and mastered. I will always be grateful to him for the opportunities I've been blessed with as a result.

I began training in the beautiful art of Shotokan Karate on April Fool's Day 2001. I fell in love with this discipline and achieved Shodan (1st degree Black Belt) in 2006. The Master said karate is life and I think it's like music, too - a never ending journey of discovery. It also keeps me in great shape and it definitely played a strong role during my time as Bruce ‘LEE’ Chickinson. I really loved singing the music of Iron Maiden. I grew so much as a vocalist with the challenge of nailing the performances of one of the greatest singers ever. I traveled the world and met the most amazing and passionate music fans I've ever had the honor to perform for. Maiden and metal fans are EVERYWHERE and in the most unexpected places.

To sing music that is so beloved and meaningful to people was a sorely needed reminder of the power that music has and that - in this wonderful but very disconnected age of the computer - it truly is possible to touch people's hearts one note at a time. So I also feel I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the fans for their acceptance, appreciation and understanding of my intentions and expression of this music and to the band - Steve Harris, Bruce Dickinson, Adrian Smith, Nicko McBrain, Dave Murray and Janick Gers for writing such incredible songs. All this and more has inspired me to rise and stand behind my own work and reaffirms yet again that no matter how great the odds are against you, if you continue to believe in yourself and never surrender- any and everything is possible. What a gift.

Of all the things I've learned along the way, one of the most important things is this- one must look to the past in order to see the future. After all, how can you know where you're going if you don't know where you've been? I have been sensing a need and a hunger for more than what's being doled out to us and that excites me and gives me hope. Don't get me wrong, junk food music can be fun and has its place but ultimately it's unsatisfying. I want my music to be soul food, to be meaningful to people. I am following, in my own small way, in the footsteps of the great artists I admire and whose works have been the fuel for the fire that lights the road I'm on. All these things give me the courage to continue forging onward. I hope you will join me on my journey.