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Vienna Teng, Live at NPR

Vienna Teng at NPR.
NPR News/Paul Schomer /
Vienna Teng at NPR.
Detail of the cover for 'Warm Strangers.'
Detail of the cover for 'Warm Strangers.'

Vienna Teng's first CD, Waking Hour, was recorded while she was still at Stanford, and back in 2002 it forced the young singer/songwriter to make a career decision. She left her job as a computer engineer and hit the road as a performer.

She's had no reason to look back. Her second CD, Warm Strangers, builds on some of the strengths of the first, and she's not afraid of the music industry's sophomore jinx.

"I haven't had the kind of success that would really cripple someone's mentality going into their second effort," she tells NPR's Liane Hansen. "It's not like I suddenly sold millions upon millions of copies... I feel I'm very lucky in that I've had exactly the kind of success I would like... to gain some recognition, which always feels good, but also that leaves room for my perfectionism to move on to the next evolution of whatever I'm going to become as a songwriter and a performer."

Now she's studying jazz piano in between tours and looking forward to that continuing evolution. "I never feel comfortable unless I'm moving forward, or moving in some new direction," she says.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MusicWeekend Edition Sunday
Liane Hansen
Liane Hansen has been the host of NPR's award-winning Weekend Edition Sunday for 20 years. She brings to her position an extensive background in broadcast journalism, including work as a radio producer, reporter, and on-air host at both the local and national level. The program has covered such breaking news stories as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the capture of Saddam Hussein, the deaths of Princess Diana and John F. Kennedy, Jr., and the Columbia shuttle tragedy. In 2004, Liane was granted an exclusive interview with former weapons inspector David Kay prior to his report on the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The show also won the James Beard award for best radio program on food for a report on SPAM.