Gong Linna's dynamic voice travels across vast terrains of sonic colors. Her adventurous artistic range embraces Chinese folk, pop, and avant-garde art music. Singing in both Mandarin and English, she will join the ever-intrepid Bang on a Can All-Stars on July 14 and 15 for Cloud River Mountain, a thrilling cross-cultural voyage through dramatic musical landscapes.

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First instrument you played?
My voice.

Top three influences, musical or otherwise?
My time in the children's music troupe of Guiyang, my studies with my vocal teacher Zhou Wenjing, and working with my husband, Lao Luo.

Artists or albums you have on repeat?
Recently it is Chavela Vargas.

Favorite city to play?
Recently, definitely New York. Really looking forward, too!

Hidden talent?
Talking people into happiness.

Personal heroes?
All the great and mostly unknown Chinese opera singers.

Top three pieces of advice for aspiring artists?
Be courageous, be curious, stay yourself.

Artist you’d most like to meet (past or present)?
Chinese poet Qu Yuan.

Artist you’d most like to collaborate with?
Cecilia Bartoli.

Practice tips?
Don't stop. Practice every day, three hours. Practice Qi.

You hope someone comes away from one of your shows feeling…
Opened and changed.

Next goal or challenge you’re setting for yourself?
Creating teaching material for Chinese traditional vocal techniques.

What do you want to be when you “grow up”?
I am quite happy, think I'll stay a child.

Pre-performance ritual?
Practice Qi and practice eye movement. I learned that from Chinese opera.

Favorite place in New York City?

If you could time travel, what era would you visit?
China's Shang dynasty.

If you weren't an artist, you'd be...
Maybe a lazy cat on an oven bench.

Feeling you get when you're onstage?
Empress and Emptiness.

Song that makes you feel nostalgic?
"Jing Ye Si" ("Thoughts on a Still Night").

Your typical breakfast?
Fresh vegetable soup.