How would you define your music?
I'd define it as a mesh of all the things that shouldn't go together. There's a lot of soul influence in my singing; I love Sade, Whitney, Badu, and Etta James—but I also love a lot of ignorant trap production. It's all very counterintuitive but I only ever notice this collision of worlds after the songs are made. So, I guess it's intuitive for me.
Your latest single is called Soufflé. what is the idea
behind the title?
The song's about knowing you're trash and being liberated by that realization. Sometimes you gotta do shit that's purely for your own sanity—live your life, man. Go bake a soufflé or talk to some birds or watch awful movies just for the hell of it. Those seemingly pointless and irrelevant activities got me through some times.
How did you start making music?
I always loved to sing and I always loved stringing words together. I did a lot of school shows, anthem singing, and competitions growing up. I naturally started writing songs in high school, worked with a ton of producers till I met my manager Anwar through Instagram. We started making music together and I put out 6 songs last year.
How does your origin, as a Korean-American woman influence your music?
I definitely think that it's instilled a sense of duality in my work. I grew up walking this tightrope between two different worlds—speaking Korean at home and English in school, watching Courage the Cowardly Dog then playing Korean hand games with my cousins who had just moved here. I've learned to seamlessly shift in and out of these worlds and that sharp balance reflects in everything I make.
"First time I sang in front of an audience was 2009, the US Open Tennis."
Is it true that you began your musical career by singing the national anthem in sporting arenas?
Tis true... First time I sang in front of an audience was 2009, the US Open Tennis. I sang America the Beautiful in a little tennis skirt my dad made for me.
Where did you grow up and where are you based now?
I grew up in Jersey. I'm based in Jersey.
You are signed to Arista—legendary label—how does that feel and
what are the plans for an album release?
To be honest, I feel the same as I always have... It's still weird to me that I'm signed to a label that was home to some of my favs (OutKast, Whitney). I also went to the Clive Davis Institute for a year so another weird footnote there. The label has such an amazing legacy to live up to and I'm very used to that underdog mentality.
Are you touring this summer?
No, I'll be here.
What tracks are you listening to these days?
L'Rain - Which Fork / I'll Be, Channel Tres - Topdown.
What can we expect from your performance at the Standard,East
Village as part of the Annie O Music Series?
A little blood, a little sweat. Nothing crazy.