-Briefly describe who you are as a creative! What got you into pursuing a career in entertainment, and why music specifically?
As a creative I’m a bit erratic. I was raised in a very traditional Vietnamese household so I learned to appreciate structure and discipline early on. However, as I got older and went to school I realized I didn’t really fit in with most kids and I struggled to assimilate. Being a refugee I always struggle with my core principles and with what’s acceptable in the modern age. There are times when things don’t make sense, but I ride it through to see what’s next. Music is kind of like that for me. It doesn’t always make sense, but it always moves even if it doesn’t move you. I enjoy that aspect because it submerses you and then you’re kind of like, “What the hell is going on?”I think the thing about entertainment is that it is supposed to be enjoyable. It is a show. You are building something for other people to find leisure in. It’s cool because I love hearing people’s experiences with my music or at my show. They have their own story with it. I choose music because lyrically it may relate to their lives. However, sometimes people just want to listen to the instrumentals because it creates a certain vibe for them. Music gave me the confidence as a kid when I didn’t have friends. It allowed me to focus on somethin and make sure I was damn good at it.
-Can you think back to your first piece of work and what you learned most from it? How much of your voice has changed since you began?
The first piece I ever wrote was back in 8th grade. It’s funny because the band was called, “The Cock-Asians” seeing that we had me (an Asian guy), a white guy named Jon, and these twins that were half Filipino and white. I thought I was a genius because of the word play. I don’t know if this is P.C. given the growth of the world since then. Our logo was a chicken wearing a “rice hat”. I’m sure it’s not P.C., haha. Anyways, it was a song with just different variations of the D chord and it seems silly now but it made me realize I was capable of creating something. With regards to my voice changing, I went through puberty. I’m big fan of bourbon and beer now so I’m sure that has changed it too. I loved punk bands like Minor Threat, The Vandals and The Ataris so I tried to emulate them a lot back then. These days, I just sing without the embellishments. I have my own voice and find pride in whatever God has supplied me with.
-Tell us about your upcoming releases! What was the creative process for these projects?
So, I just released an EP called, “Listen, Katrina.” This is a 4 song project that was really exhausting. I have one song on there that took two days to write and another one that took 2-3 years to write. It’s funny how that works. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words to say. I focused on trying to make it catchy and use hip lingo that kids say, but then I was like “fuck it!” I’m a grown ass man and I’m going to say whatever I have to say. I’m here to write timeless music. I don’t have time to worry about these phases and trends. So anyways, I worked with Will Beasley, who has an amazing band (Wild Truth), and he has recorded a number of great artists too. He helped me bring this project to life and make this the best piece of work. I had all the songs written and the ideas drawn up before I met up with him. When we got together he helped bring the best out of me and we finished recording in 6 days.
-Do you feel you are still finding your voice? What can you say your voice is right now?
For any artist I think they are always finding their voice. Generally speaking, I believe that people grow and change all the time. I’m sure whatever I think sounds great now I can make better in the future. I would say that my voice and sound is raspy and unforgiving. I give you the best of me from start to finish and if you’re a fan awesome! If not, cool but just don’t bring any negativity my way. We can still grab a beer together.
-What do you hope to be known for during your career?
I hope to be known for being a talented artist as a whole, but even beyond that a good representation of what Vietnamese-American is. We have a unique situation with our war stories and the results of who we are with the generations that have followed. Times are strange, but the world still moves. I hope to be known as someone who enjoyed the arts and someone who enjoyed seeing the progress of people.
-In what ways do you plan on utilizing your platform to better the world?
I’m very involved in the Vietnamese community here in the DMV. I’m also involved in being present and supporting other AAPI organizations. I hope that as people explore my music and understand my conflicts and struggles they can see how we are more alike than not. I believe a lot of the hate in this world is because people lack the experiences of others. I’m not asking people to go through tragedy. I’m asking for quality conversation and an attempt at empathy. I hope to be a voice.
-What do you have in the works at the moment?
Yeah, I’ve got something very special to me. I’m working on a Vietnamese song. You’ll have to wait until I have more info on it. When it comes out you’ll have to use Google Translate or something.
-Where can folks find you on social media!
The best place is on Instgram: @2nonvuYou can stream Listen, Katrina. on all streaming services! Go check it out!!!
by Erman Baradi