We sat down with August Artist of the Month MLE to talk about her music, her journey as an artist, and how Music Forward has helped her on his way.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you decided to become a musician.
Music and singing have been a huge part of my life since as early as I could speak. I was a toddler when I began singing Vietnamese karaoke songs at my Grandma’s house, who my family tells me I get my vocals from. I also briefly took piano lessons at the age of 5 but quit, and then picked it back up later on in 5th grade. Around that time was when I also began learning instruments like guitar and snare, as well as teaching myself the ukulele. In my freshman year of high school, I was basically forced into joining Choir, but I ended up loving it and staying for all four years. I auditioned for the advanced choir and became section leader, president, and assistant music director (who is also the conductor). Around 2021, I began songwriting and distributing my original music on streaming platforms in attempts to turn my hobby into a lifestyle and a career.
As an avid songwriter, who (or what) inspires your songs?
As a songwriter, lyricists like Jhene Aiko, H.E.R., SZA, Kehlani, and Summer Walker inspire me the most. These female R&B artists write their own songs and portray their vulnerability through their music in a way that is sexy, sensual, and resonates with wide audiences. They are able to take their deepest pains or most toxic stories and turn them into music of healing, or sounds that touch the hearts and souls of the listeners, which is what I strive for. I admire that they consistently portray deep emotions and meaningful lyrics through their art because chasing money, or being overly influenced by the industry, can sometimes make artists stray away from their vulnerability and authenticity.
What do you find to be the most challenging part of being an artist today?
With this new age of social media, I see many aspiring artists being inauthentic just to chase the latest viral internet trends or be acknowledged in the music industry. The internet has a heavy influence on its users, and not allowing those external sources to taint your true self or true music is the most difficult part of being an artist today. It has been a challenge for me to continue promoting my music that resonates with myself and my truth, rather than simply dropping songs that I think will blow up as a TikTok dance trend, or conforming to the hottest trends in order to be favored by the algorithm.
How did you get involved with Music Forward, and what did you gain from your Music Forward experience?
Music Forward messaged me on Instagram on October 5, 2022. They said they came across my music and loved my sound, so I was invited to perform in the virtual Open Mic for the fall season. From that event, I had the opportunity to receive advice from a mentor about my performance, meet fellow music artists, and speak with industry experts. After winning Fan Favorite for that season, I also earned new music equipment like headphones, a microphone, and an interface, which were the last pieces I needed to get a home studio started. After that, I stayed in touch with Music Forward on Instagram and subscribed to their email newsletter, so I also participated in some of their educational panels to learn more about the industry and tips for aspiring music artists. My Music Forward experience has allowed me to gain insightful knowledge and resourceful connections.
What’s the next step for you in your music career? What goals do you have for the future?
The next step for me in my music journey is creating a team of individuals to help me with all aspects of my career and craft. As an independent artist, I am my own singer, songwriter, promoter, booking agent, manager, editor, designer, etc. Therefore, I need to find a designated producer, engineer, photographer, videographer, graphic designer, and all the rest to reliably help me execute all of my creative needs. For the future, I aim to consistently release my original music that resonates with millions of fans and gets performed at large venues and music festivals.
Do you have any new music that we can check out?
Yes! I just released a re-master of my single “Visions” on all major platforms last month in June. I have also just won a competition and received free studio time for the entire month of July/August, so I will be dropping a lot more very soon!!
Finally, how does music move you?
Music is frequency, which has an effect on us as mostly liquid-beings. Aside from the vibrations quite actually moving us, the lyrics and sounds can portray emotions that are also very touching. I admire that music can provide a source of expression, healing, comfort, entertainment, distraction, and any other benefit the audience wishes to draw from it. It is art, and art can be anything. The infinite possibilities and limitless boundaries for any unique individual makes it so beautiful. Music can be from anyone and for everyone.