Hsu-Li arrives ready to set Fire to Portland

Magdalen Hsu-Li

Double Tree Jantzen Beach Ballroom

909 N. Hayden Island Drive

Nov. 8

10 p.m. – 12 p.m.



With her second CD Fire, Magdalen Hsu-Li tells it like is with lyrics such as “There’s a chink in your armor. There’s a chink in your life.” Magdalen’s talent, prowess, and skill as musician, singer, painter and poet continues to grow while she deepens her music and artistry with a positive universally powerful message about love, multiculturalism, spirituality, relationships, awareness and diversity.

“I called this album Fire because in the Chinese five element system of medicine the ‘fire’ element governs how a person builds relationships, community, love, trust, intimacy, diplomacy, sexuality, public image and friendships. That is what has consumed me of late,” Magdalen said.

Her stated goal is to “connect and uplift through music art and the elements.” She’s right on target with her second album, Fire.

She started Seattle-based Chickpop Records in 1997 with the release of her album Muscle and Bone.

Because she realized that music industry execs would probably not be aware enough to promote her in the right ways or be able to address her politics or bisexuality in a positive manner. “I have witnessed what music industry have done to many other Asian American and gay & lesbian artists that have been signed and it’s not pretty. Anyone who is Asian American that has been signed has either been dropped, or their album sales have been mediocre or they don’t get the promotional budget focus from the labels. It’s a caucasian, bubble gum pop dominated market but I think the market must change to address the melting pot phenomenon and the massive numbers of minorities in this country. Everything is cyclical. Political music will become mainstream popular again,” she said.

As one of the first Chinese-American singer-songwriters, Magdalen admits, “It’s been lonely sometimes and yet it’s an adventure too. The press has been very favorable to me so that’s a plus. However the American music market sucks right now. If I see one more navel-gazing pedophilistic nymphet singing about their relationship problems… ugggh!”

Admittedly bisexual, Magdalen says “the gay and lesbian music community has supported me tremendously, but I have gotten flack for dating men. I am who I am, and if someone doesn’t understand bisexuality I can’t help him or her understand. My music and art reflect my life and what I see happening around me. Besides all the other kinds of songs I write about, I write songs about relationships I have had, and relationships I am in.”

RockGrl Magazine says, “Musically, Hsu-Li withholds nothing. Confrontational as hell, she shows her piano no mercy, taking intolerance and every ‘ism’ in the book prisoner with a rare and relentless fury, an approach that earns her infinite comparisons to Tori Amos and Ani DiFranco.”