Image courtesy of the artist

This is my heart, who reminds me to run free and with every pulse I can see clearer…

Yunge Xiao (AKA yoonj) is a self-proclaimed musician and song-writer. At 19 years old, she has been writing chill, original songs since she was 12, and would love to start putting her work for the rest of the world to see. Originally from Philadelphia, she now resides in Pittsburgh and has always been immersed in the world of art–from dance to painting to, of course, music. She also loves content creation, and making visual representations of her art to go with her music. She recently came in first place in the 2021 WYEP Singer-Songwriter Competition and is hoping to release a collection of raw voice memos of some of her favorite songs that she’s written over the years. I want to thank Yunge (Piano/Guitar/Ukulele/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Taylor Swift’s Fearless album on my sister’s iPod touch. Ah, nostalgia! While Taylor Swift is not my go-to artist, I respect how much she loves taking ownership of her songwriting.

Your last album bought?
Haven’t bought one in a hot second, but probably Hozier by Hozier. I love Hozier in general, but from this album are some of my favorites. I appreciate how all the songs remain unapologetically Hozier, while playing around with different vocals, tempos, the whole 9 yards. “Work Song”, “Cherry Wine”, and of course “Take Me to Church” have a special place in my heart.

Favorite album of all time?
Honestly anything by Dodie, but probably Human. She is just so creative with her harmonies/instrumentation, and I love her voice. Not to mention, her lyrics just hit you in the heart, and thoughtful lyrics are definitely something I gravitate towards.

First concert attended?
My first, last and only concert was Dodie Clark.

Last concert?
See previous answer.

Favorite concert ever?
Only been to one so I guess that!

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Anyone who knows me knows I love walking, so my favorite thing about Pittsburgh is how walkable it is from neighborhood to neighborhood. My partner and I walked 22.5 miles clockwise and 27 miles counter-clockwise on two separate occasions–the best part is going to all of our favorite coffee shops, food stops, running into random art and music pop-ups, and finding all the hidden gems that we couldn’t get to otherwise. It always reminds me how lucky I am to be in a city with a spectrum of natural and manmade environments, and to co-exist with people who are both alike and unlike myself.



Thanks, Yunge. First off, congrats. There were so many songwriters that I know of personally in the competition and it’s always so nice to discover new talent during the annual event. Looking forward to hearing what new music you come up with!



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