This week I’m joined by music artist and educator Tonie, aka Tony Nguyen, to share their new song “Daydreaming,” which we wrote together a few months ago. We’ll also talk about Tonie’s path to becoming their current self, a non-binary Vietnamese American music artist, producer, and educator. We touch on how our life decisions impact and are impacted by others, taking risks and freeing yourself from perfection, and what’s been top of mind for us lately.
Katie Hargrove joins me before our co-writing session to talk about the breadth of her work as a songwriter, her journey in the music industry, and how her normal life as a human influences her work. We talk about her path from playing music in Knoxville TN at age 13 to moving to Los Angeles a few years ago to pursue songwriting. We also touch on having a real life outside of music, being a gay woman in the music industry, and what’s been on our minds lately.
Dr. Cate Le, an infectious disease specialist and author chats with BAO about her debut children’s book “Coronavirus is Boo Boo,” and a few other timely topics. We learn about her upbringing as a Vietnamese American refugee, her life and career straddling medicine and the arts, and her passion for social and racial equality in healthcare. Dr. Le is currently treating COVID-19 patients and promoting her book to help younger kids learn about the virus and the life changes it has brought about.
Animation casting and voice director, actor, and singer Ashley Nguyen DeWitt chats with BAO about her biracial Vietnamese and African American upbringing and career in the entertainment industry. Ashley’s work includes a variety of animation projects, including the upcoming Netflix series “Ada Twist, Scientist” which was co-produced by Laughing Wild and Higher Ground, the production company of former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama . We also discuss the immense value of mentors and advocates, especially for underrepresented groups.
Professional percussionist, audio engineer, and music educator Kyle Dombroski joins BAO to chat about his experience as a Korean American adoptee growing up in Central Illinois, his career in various facets of music, and his goals for his band Hello Noon. Kyle also plays drums with BAO’s beautiful boy band and can be heard on BAO’s track “Beautiful Things” from the album Perpetual Heartbreak.
In this special #AAPIheritagemonth episode, Vietnamese American entrepreneur and entertainment industry veteran JohnnyD Nguyen chats with BAO about topics that are top-of-mind for the Vietnamese diaspora all around the world. We discuss his upbringing in between cultures, his unexpected entry into the entertainment industry via a supporting role in The Fast And The Furious franchise, and his career as a producer in various parts of the entertainment industry. JohnnyD’s latest business Viet Q Media curates and promotes talent from the Vietnamese diaspora all around the world.
This week, we give a special shout out to the organizations that are doing great work to tell AAPI and Vietnamese stories: DVAN and Diacritics, The Sóng Collective, VAALA, The Slants Foundation and these podcasts: The Vietnamese with Kenneth Nguyen, Vietverse, Vietnamese Boat People, Asian Not Asian, Asian Hustle Network, The Hot Potcast, Rice and Shine (German), Project Yellow Dress, Project Voice, and the Consenting Adults podcast ft. Leyna Nguyen.
Film and television composer Denise Santos chats with BAO about her musical upbringing in Manilla, her unplanned decision to stay in the US, and her career as a touring musician and composer. We discuss her work on Ella Jay Basco’s music video “Gold” featuring Ruby Ibarra and its topic of skin lighteners, beauty standards, and self-acceptance. We also explore the sluggish acceptance of women of color in the entertainment industry and how her experience as a woman channels in the music she has composed for productions such as “Surviving Jeffrey Epstein.”
Illustrator and New Yorker cartoonist Jeremy Nguyen chats with BAO about his Vietnamese American upbringing and complicated relationship with being Asian. We take a look at some of his artwork and cartoons for The New Yorker and discuss his latest endeavors into sharing his knowledge with others. Jeremy is giving a free public lecture with Creatively on May 20, 2021 (get info).
Alan Z, a Chinese American Hip Hop, R&B artist from Atlanta joins Bao Vo for Coffee with BAO. We talk about his international upbringing, early infatuation with rap music, and his new album Face Value, a collaboration with Jason Chu dropping May 14, 2021. The album was partially sponsored by The Slants Foundation, where BAO serves on the board of directors.
Find info on Alan Z and Jason Chu’s album Face Value at alanzmusic.com or on social media @alanzmusic
So humbled that Coffee with BAO is featured on the diaCRITICS website today. diaCRITICS highlights art, literature, and stories from writers, artists, and culture-makers of the Vietnamese and Southeast Asian diaspora, on and from all shores. They’ve just published a little piece called “Take a Sip: “Coffee with BAO” Series.
diaCRITICS is part of DVAN (Diasporic Vietnamese Artist Network), which is a nationally and internationally recognized organization co-founded by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen and Professor Isabelle Thuy Pelaud. They seek to highlight literature and other creative work by folks in the Vietnamese diaspora from the around the world. Really honored that Coffee with BAO can share some of its mission on the diaCRITICS platform. You can read the full profile here as well as see profiles and stories of other Vietnamese creatives.