SingularCity's LiLy Chen

SingularCity’s LiLy Chen


Meet LiLy Chen, one of the members of SingularCity, our Los Angeles singles network, and learn more about her surprising adventures both here and in Japan.

Lily Chen SingularCity single network member
LiLy Chen, one of the original members of SingularCity was Japan’s youngest DJ. Her adventures included interviewing Led Zeppelin and serving as their press conference interpreter.

Singular magazine: How did you first find out about Singular magazine and SingularCity, and why did you decide to become a member?

LiLy: I received a glossy print magazine in my mailbox years ago, which I read from cover to cover. That was a complimentary copy of the very first issue of Singular magazine. I subscribed, so I consider myself a member since inception. We now have the Singular e-zine and SingularCity social network. The format is different, but the essence is still the same. It’s for active single/divorced/unmarried people who are in love with life!

Singular: Can you tell us a bit about your early life? Where you were born,where you grew up and where you went to college?

LiLy: I was born and raised in Tokyo until I graduated from high school. My mother is Japanese, and my late father was originally from China. They enrolled me in a private American school from kindergarten, so I spoke English at school and Japanese at home. I never learned Chinese, but my father taught me Taoist parables as bedtime stories when I was a little girl. Those stories helped me throughout my life, and ignited my interest in humanities.

I came to the U.S. to earn my undergraduate degree in philosophy at the University of Miami. Why there? I was lured by a picture of palm trees and beaches on the cover of their college catalog! I experienced culture shock my first year, but college days are one of the favorite times in my life. I moved to Los Angeles after that, and earned my MBA from the University of Southern California.

Lily Chen as teenage dj
LiLy Chen at age 14, recording her radio show at the Tokyo Broadcasting Company.

Singular: You’ve had some interesting experiences, including being the youngest DJ in Japan – how did that come about and what were some of your most memorable experiences from that time?

LiLy: I was recruited as a radio disc jockey for Tokyo Broadcasting System, one of the largest radio stations in Japan with a nationwide network. They were looking for someone young and bilingual, and I was at the right place at the right time. I was thirteen when I started and school was my priority, so I went to the studio on Saturdays to record the show for the entire week which aired at 10 p.m.

I played a lot of Beatles music, and “Let it Be” is still my favorite. It was fun receiving fan mail and gifts, as well as free sample albums from record companies. I also had the opportunity to work as an interpreter at press conferences when popular music artists visited Japan for concert performance. Pat Benetar, Rod Stewart, and Grand Funk Railroad come to my mind.  I also remember interviewing and hanging out with Led Zeppelin all weekend when they toured in Japan. Now, THAT was quite an experience!

Lily with Led Zepplin
LiLy (far left) interpreting and interviewing Led Zeppelin
at a press conference in Tokyo.

Singular: That job as a DJ opened some other doors for you too, right?  Can you give us some examples of different things you’ve done as a result?

LiLy: Upon receiving my MBA, I worked as a financial analyst for a major oil company and then as an international banker. I also opened a flower and gift store in Santa Monica as my first entrepreneur venture, but that did not work out and closed within two years.

To utilize my bilingual skill and business background, I reconnected with my contacts in Japan and launched my profession as a liaison consultant between the U.S. and Japan. I was a communication bridge for U.S. and Japanese parties, primarily for projects in the entertainment industry.

My first project involved recording an album with a Japanese singer and Elvis Presley’s original band members at Sun Studio in Memphis. I then spent a week at the Skywalker Ranch for a Japanese theme park project, and interviewed George Lucas at his house for a promotional film.

I’ve worked with many celebrities — from Mickey Mouse to former U.S. Presidents — on a variety of short independent projects. My main client then produced a series of theatrical documentary films for the Japanese audience titled “GAIA Symphony.” I worked on the business aspect and the creative side as interviewer from pre-production to post-production, and my involvement with this project lasted for over a decade.

Singular: Can you tell us about how you got interested in channeling past lives and all of that?

LiLy: My late twenties to early thirties were a relatively traumatic period in my life. I was going through a divorce, a destructive rebound relationship, unemployment, and possible bankruptcy. One day, I went to a bookstore in West Hollywood called, The Bodhi Tree and found a book called, “Out on a Limb” by Shirley MacLaine. It’s an autobiography detailing her journeys through New Age spirituality. She mentioned about her sessions with channeler Kevin Ryerson and about her many past lives.

After reading that book, I scheduled an appointment with Kevin to explore my past lives and see if it had any significance to the difficulties I was experiencing. His reading inspired me to launch a new career as liaison consultant. After the reading, I joked to Kevin how interesting it would be if my first work was to introduce his work to Japan. It wasn’t my first project but I did connect Kevin with a sponsor in Japan, and worked there as liaison consultant for his seminar events about a year later.

Singular: Is it true that you and Shirley MacLaine have become good friends and have traveled together?

LiLy: Yes. I went to Japan twice with Shirley when she went on tour for the “Shirley MacLaine Show” decades ago. We traveled around Japan together, both for the tour and for private sightseeing.

Lily Chen with Shirley MacClaine
LiLy with Shirley at MacLaine’s Malibu apartment.

We didn’t know it at the time, but her daughter attended the same private American school in Japan as I did, and we grew up only a mile from each other in the same neighborhood. So the three of us became good friends, and I spent a lot of holidays around that time at Shirley’s apartment in Malibu.

Singular: Tell us about your life today — what you do for a living, hobbies and interests, what do you like to do for fun?

LiLy: I manage several investment portfolios now as private investor. I don’t pay much attention to daily or weekly market fluctuations, and maintain a very diversified portfolio consisting of stocks, bonds, and alternative investments.

Instead of taking a supporting role connecting other people as liaison consultant, my focus is back on myself, and one thing I’d like to do is to write a book about my experiences. That’s definitely on my bucket list!

For fun, I enjoy theater, film and the performing arts. I’m also a voracious reader, and have endless curiosity regarding just about anything and everything. Since I am an animal lover, I’ve recently been spending more time learning about wildlife conservation.

Singular: Do you have any insights to share with our readers about your personal philosophy for living single?

LiLy: For a long time, I was looking for someone who could take very good care of me. I found that person: ME! Joking aside, I think it’s important to be kind toyourself, and to pamper yourself. Single or not, we are all unique individuals, and there is no one recipe for happiness. We each have to find what that is on our own, and each of us grow and evolve at our own pace.

Singular: Is there anything else we should know?

LiLy: I come from a very conservative Asian family background, then came to the U.S. around the time of the Equal Rights Amendment and women’s lib. I grew up in a homogeneous society where “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down” then moved to a melting pot culture where independence is encouraged. The answers to reconcile the conflicting yin yang values came from within. I may have broken some of the rules in my parents’ book along the way, but I am much more comfortable with who I am today. As the saying goes, it’s the journey and not the destination!

Copyright © Lily Chen/Singular Communications, LLC.

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2 thoughts on “SingularCity’s LiLy Chen

  1. I really enjoyed this article, it was so well written and the subject matter, entertaining. LiLy is brilliant and WHAT A LIFE!!!

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