Mixed Tape 01 : Cold Snap
Our first take on a playlist with all mixed artists.
mixed tape 01: COLD SNAP
FEB 2016 // We give you our favorite mixed artists of late and their takes on their art and mixedness. Happy listening!
HOLLIS WONG-WEAR (THE FLAVR BLUE)
Hollis, who's mom is from Hong Kong, first started getting involved with spoken word as a way to find her place growing up. "Growing up in the suburbs, being biracial, having a very immigrant mom, it was common for me to feel disoriented in my environment," she told Mass Appeal. Now she credits her mom for her success. "I am absolutely not one to ascribe the 'bootstrap' immigrant expectation, but my mom hustled the shit out of this country—by herself, since the age of 19," she told Artists for Artists. "My work ethic and belief in self descends from her."
Sui Zhen is an Australian artist with a Chinese Malaysian background. In her debut album Secretly Susan, she creates a vacuous alter-ego who serves as an art piece on identity construction. "I was interested in how we construct our identities," she told Dummy. Especially on social media, "People present one version of themselves. It's silly to think that version of a person is who they actually are."
Nao is from a Caribbean family in East London and grew up reaching for an idealized English normalcy. "I wanted to almost be perfect," she told Pitchfork. "I realized that we go through school trying to fit in, and then we spend our adult life trying to be different. I just want to be myself."
Empress Of is Honduran American. She was embarrassed about her background as a child, but it now plays an important role in her music. For her EP Systems, she recorded Spanish versions of all the songs. "It's really important for me to connect with my roots, even in the really simple way of language," she told Impose. "I’m not going into the technical rhythms of the kind of music that I grew up listening to. But I feel like language is a strong way to communicate with people. I wanted to communicate with my mom and all the people when I go play Mexico or something, so I wanted to be able to play songs from my record in Spanish. It fulfills a part of my artistry to pay respect to the language that my mom speaks.”
Abra lived in London until she was eight, when her family moved to the American south. "It was awkward moving to the south with a British accent. Kids were really mean, like, 'You can't be black and sound like a British person,'" she told The Fader. "That was really hard for me, but that's how I got into being a weirdo. That's when I started learning the guitar and writing fantasy novels. I was definitely like, 'I'm gonna be a creative person and I don't need friends.'"
VICTORIA PORT (ANUSHKA)
Anushka, a dance music duo from Brighton, is known for their uniquely upbeat tracks. When The Line of Best Fit asked about their inspiration, vocalist Victoria Port pointed to her upbringing. "My family are from the Caribbean, so anything that captures that whole dance hall, carnival, happy vibe."
SYD THA KYD
Odd Future and The Internet member Syd Tha Kid started getting into music because of her Jamaican family. "I have a lot of cousins from Jamaica who do music," she told Oyster. "They would come and stay at my house and leave instrumental CDs, and we would write songs to all the tracks on them." Later, she told The Fader, she sent a track to her uncle, a producer in Jamaica, and he flew to L.A. to record the song with her.
Anderson .Paak is Korean and black, but grew up with his Korean mother. He cites the first time he attended a black church as formative to his relationship with music. He told NPR, "My godsister invited me to church when I was about eleven years old after I had learned to play a couple beats. She was like, 'You should come to the church. You gotta see the choir and you gotta see the church band.' I went, and I saw the choir and the church band and I was hooked. I'd never seen any kind of playing—I'd never been in a black Baptist church before that. I was just in love with the energy."
CHARLOTTE DOS SANTOS
Charlotte Dos Santos is a Norwegian singer of Brazilian descent. She told Utopie Tangible that the diversity of music she grew up with in her house has shaped her current sound. "I think I always knew that music was what I wanted to do, growing up in a very musical house. Music from all over the world was always played. My father is a big jazz enthusiast so naturally I became familiar with it at an early age. He took me to festivals and shows and I always found it very intriguing. My mother would play flamenco, North African, and Arabic music, so I was accustomed to Middle Eastern sounds and instruments."
Ines is a NYC-based Indonesian musician with an international upbringing. Growing up, she felt like the odd one out, but now she's come to embrace who she is. "I was just different," she told us in our first issue. "I was really self-conscious as a child. Now, I don't give a shit. I've come to value the process of finding who I am and owning it." ✰