NoSo's music feels both intimate and familiar, warm indie-pop guitars and melodies putting the faintest of veils over Korean-American artist Baek Hwong's raw approach to songwriting. This summer, July 8, the LA-based Hwong will release the debut NoSo album Stay Proud Of Me, a coming-of-age project that charts their journey from growing up in the same Chicago suburb that supposedly inspired Mean Girls to where they are today. That path hasn't been clear, with the album taking in insecurities around living in America with their Korean heritage, forging a sense of identity, overcoming impostor syndrome, and the repressed memories pushed deep down along the way.
Coinciding with today's album announcement is new song "David," a song in which Hwong recalls a dream in which they embodied a white man and saw how they moved through society with an alternative exterior. The experience, imaginary as it was, left them shaken and upset. The accompanying video, which shines with natural light and soft colors, catches Hwong as they observe an elderly couple sewing and picking flower, seemingly present and invisible at the same time.
"One summer night, I had a dream that I was a white dude sitting in a church pew; I saw the way girls giggled and whispered to each other excitedly upon noticing me, and other men gave me nods of respect," Hwong says in a statement. "The way I was perceived in such a positive and palatable way hit me in the gut; I even recognized it was a dream when it was happening."
"I woke up emotional and so disappointed in myself; I had done a lot of work to unlearn internalized racism, and I had been feeling so proud of my identity. But I had to be gentle with myself and remember that it's a plethora of issues; bullying from peers, the media we consume that spotlights euro-centric beauty standards, and the desperate desire to not feel like you inherently take up too much space. It seems to be a universal experience for POC (especially during childhood) to look in the mirror and resent your own features. That dream (and writing this song) reminds me that these kinds of issues don’t disappear overnight; it sneaks up on your subconscious in layered ways."
NoSo will support Yumi Zouma as well as Molly Burch on their upcoming spring tours of North America and has also announced details of their first-ever U.K. performances this July at Bluedot Festival in Cheshire, as well as a headline show at London's Waiting Room on July 20.
Stay Proud Of Me tracklist:
"I Feel You"
"Sorry I Laughed"
"Feeling Like A Woman Lately"
"Man Who Loves You"
"Everything I’ve Got"