TOKiMONSTA didn’t ask for her doctor’s permission to play Coachella. Just four months prior, she had undergone brain surgery and, yes, she had received the OK to exercise and be around loud noises. But she hadn’t explicitly mentioned her plans to play the world’s premier music festival. When the day -- April 17, 2016 -- arrived, the electronic producer was feeling healthy and ready, and so was the 20,000-strong crowd. “If that was the last thing I could do before I died,” she says, “I wanted to make sure I did it.”
The artist born Jennifer Lee hasn’t always possessed such a carefree attitude. But in the three years since her surgery for moyamoya -- a rare disease caused by blocked arteries at the base of the brain -- many elements of Lee’s world, and her outlook, have evolved. Once reticent to share anything about herself with fans and the media, thinking it was cooler to be mysterious, the critical darling and dance world entrepreneur is now open and forthright, exuding the calm wisdom of a person who has spent a lot of time in contemplation and figured a few things out.