Episode 107

How Digging Deep Into Self Expands Your Storytelling Magic

I’m taking an Improv class at The Groundlings. We’re doing two-person scenes when our instructor says it’s time for a drill. My scene goes a little something like this:

Kymberlee: Carl, you look lonely standing here by the punchbowl all by yourself.

Carl: I look lonely standing here by the punchbowl all by myself, and what that means is I’m not very good at social events.

K: You’re not very good at social events, and what that means is you prefer to have fun where you don’t have to talk to people.

C: I prefer to have fun where I don’t have to talk to people, and what that means is I’m really into gaming.

And on and on it goes until the instructor shouts, “Scene!”

In our world, we as communicators have so much we want to share. But sometimes we get stuck in expressing the meat of it in a way that resonates with our audience. When you tap into your feelings, you get to the heart of your story faster!

My guest today, Jane Lui, knows all about storytelling in a variety of ways. She does it through singing, composing, acting, producing, and so much more. In this episode, she talks about how she brings stories to life through her work with emotion leading the way and answers questions like:

In what ways can you start to build your story if you’re stuck? And how can you make your story more interesting for your audience?

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What really lies behind the magic of storytelling
  • How you can structure your story to get people’s attention
  • How you can bring out the layers and multiple facets of your story

Who is Jane Lui?

Jane Lui is a singer, songwriter, composer, and actress who goes by the stage name Surrija (sur-rye-ya). Originally from Hong Kong, she grew up playing piano. She immigrated to the Bay area and started listening to everything from 1930s oldies to 1990s Bjork.

After obtaining her Bachelor of Music in Choral Conducting, Jane released three albums on Youtube that gained a strong following. Then she evolved into her self-titled concept album SURRIJA based on Picasso’s lovers and demonstrating her own growth as both a woman and musician, from classical training to electro-pop artistry. The album, which received a 2021 Best Pop Album nomination at the San Diego Music Awards, features drummer Matt Chamberlain who has also worked with artists such as David Bowie and Fiona Apple.

In addition to Chamberlain, Jane also collaborated with Kate Earl, Melissa Polinar, Son Lux, Tom Brousseau, Vienna Teng, and more. Currently, she’s a cast member and co-music director of Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band. She also composed for the theater productions All’s Well That Ends Well and Secret in the Wings.

Want to take your storytelling skills to the next level?

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my proven 5-step process for short-form storytelling that you can apply to your stories forever


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...and so much more!

I want to stand out!

The best storytellers are memorable for a reason.

Traver Boehm

2-time TEDx Speaker, Author, Coach, and Founder of the Uncivilized Movement

Mo Barrett

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Katy Stevens

Musician, Performer, Recording Artist, Voice Teacher

Greg Smith

TEDx Youngstown Organizer and Voice Coach, Chairman and CCO of Compco

Than Baardson

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Cathy Sommerville

TEDx Speaker, Coach, Advisor, Leader, Author, Vice President


I'm ready to stand out!