Earlier this year, we offered a glimpse behind the scenes with cellist, trombonist, and composer Dana Leong. Here is part two of our chat with our resident Renaissance Man.
SOZO: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
DL: While speaking to a buddy of mine, I mentioned, “it seems like every year goes by faster and faster”, to which he responded, “well, it is a smaller percentage of your entire life going by each year.” Hopefully, the more you live, the more you learn. More influences, more successes, more failures. For me, the biggest challenge continues to be finding ways to raise the bar; how to make ‘better’ music, take on bigger tasks [physically & mentally], and engage more people. I mean, where do you go after you’ve played on the top of a skyscraper, a cathedral, and a state building?
Leong on top of Los Angeles City Hall
SOZO: What was your greatest moment in your career thus far?
DL: Representing the United States of America as a Musical Ambassador through the “Rhythm Road – American Music Abroad” program stays with me as one of my greatest accomplishments as it provided a life changing opportunity to connect with amazing new cultures in Southeast Asia as well as opening doors to work as a musical/cultural representative around the world.
Performing in Laos on the Rhythm Road tour
SOZO: If you hadn’t chosen this career, what might you be doing?
DL: A few months ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with one of the heads of Yamaha. My guy at Yamaha recently told me that when they discovered me, they were afraid that someone as young and talented as I might end up leaving music to become some business mogul or this that and the other. At this point, if I hadn’t pursued the full time dream of music, I’d probably be doing more with photography and investments (property, stocks).
SOZO: In your opinion, who is the greatest musician in your lifetime?
DL: In my opinion, the greatest musician of my lifetime is Keith Jarrett.
SOZO: How do you unwind after a performance?
DL: I’m lucky that many of the presenters and promoters I work with love to celebrate after performances. I do too. I want to see the city, meet the people, eat local food.
You can follow Leong’s story on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and on his website.