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
Adventure photographer and Youtuber Pierre T. Lambert chats with BAO about his French American identity and making his escape from a career in engineering for the fossil fuels industry to starting his successful photography Youtube channel and online photography course “30 Days to Great Photos.” Pierre also shares his thoughts on entrepreneurship, creative inspiration, and learning to be more present.
Artist, filmmaker, and photographer Johnny Cubert White joins BAO for a conversation about his career as a television art director, his art, and his life from the Midwest to Downtown Los Angeles. Johnny shares his Greek, Indigenous, and Appalachian family history, his 30-plus year process of embracing his queer identity, and how all of that is encapsulated in his vibrant art and personality. Johnny White’s ongoing decade-long photography series #myBROKENcamera is a powerful reflection of all of that.
Hi, hello! It’s me again, like TLC again. My friend and collaborator Sunrise Transparence, who played horns on Perpetual Heartbreak and co-wrote my song “Burn It Down,” created this one-person brass band cover version “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance and I provided the vocals on it. That’s 54 layers of horns all played by Sunrise Transparence and 46 layers of voice by yours truly. Hope you like and share and buy this song!
Artist, musician, and filmmaker Bennie Mitchell III has an intimate conversation with BAO about his complicated African American history in Savannah, Georgia, his professional and creative journey in music and filmmaking, and the creation of his debut feature-length documentary “It Is Well.” The film documents the life and legacy of Bennie’s father Reverend Dr. Bennie R. Mitchell Jr., a respected educator, preacher, and activist. He also shares his thoughts on the ongoing process of defining one’s personal identity, engaging his community, and nurturing his own mental health.
Sahra Nguyen, the award-winning filmmaker, activist, and founder of Nguyen Coffee Supply, speaks with BAO about digging deeper into her Vietnamese American family’s refugee story, developing a passion for art and activism as a teenager, and channeling that passion into a successful documentary filmmaking career. Sahra founded Nguyen Coffee Supply, the first specialty Vietnamese Coffee importer and roaster in the US, with the same mission as her award-winning video journalism: to help advance social and economic equality through education and empathy.
Singer-songwriter, film composer, and actor Goh Nakamura talks with BAO about his Japanese American family’s history, the unexpected twists and turns of his career as a musician and film composer, and how he’s coping with loss during the pandemic.
Tessa Young AKA DJ Tessa, the founder of Prism DJs, chats with BAO about her mixed-race background, the twists and turns of her career, and the struggles and failures that have helped her level up. She explains how her all-female DJ agency, Prism DJs, has teamed up with Sansar to pivot to VR and streaming DJ events during the pandemic.
Rapper, poet, and activist Jason Chu joins BAO for the inaugural “beer with BAO” as they discuss his Chinese family’s history in Southeast Asia, his journey building a decade-long career in hip hop, and his latest album “living.room,” released with support from The Slants Foundation.
Writer, editor-in-chief, and founder of “OyeDrum Magazine” Amarantha Da Cruz chats with BAO about her cross-cultural upbringing in Brazil and the United States, the channeling of her passion for language and music into various careers, her continued growth as a person and a leader, and her women-centered online publication OyeDrum Magazine. OyeDrum’s latest release is Volume 3: The Sex Issue and it features creative works in a variety of mediums around the topic of sex.
Singer/songwriter Jamie Hosmer joins BAO for a casual conversation about his three-decade career as a touring musician, charting his own path from gigging as a teenager in Massachusetts to playing with some of the world’s biggest stars in Las Vegas and around the world. Jamie’s debut solo album “Comfortable Shoes” has strong influences from the pop and rock songs of the 70s and 80s.
Performance artist, comedian, and actor Kristina Wong speaks with BAO about her upbringing as a third-generation Chinese American, her path to creating a whole new medium for her performance art, and how her art is intertwined with real-life events. She recently concluded a month-long run of her show “Kristina Wong for Public Office” presented by the Center Theater Group and is now embarking on a new show called “Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord.
Actor, musician, and GRAMMY Award-winning producer Dale Edward Chung chats with BAO about his Chinese American family’s long history in Northern California, his quest to make music his living, his GRAMMY-winning work as a musician and producer with The Lucky Band, and his recent ventures into film production.
Comic book artist, illustrator, and debut graphic novelist Trung Le Nguyen talks with BAO about his family’s experience as refugees from Vietnam, his hustle as a freelance illustrator, accidentally coming out as gay to his family, and his new YA graphic novel “The Magic Fish,” published by Random House Graphic.
Entrepreneur and podcaster Sean Li chats with BAO about his Asian American immigrant story, how the Haas School of Business has informed his recent business ventures like Alumni.FM and Clever.FM (formerly Voyce.fm), and practices he has found to help him be productive while staying human.
Musician, activist, and author Simon Tam has a personal conversation with BAO about his Asian American story, his passion as an activist and educator, his work ethic as a creator, and the decade-long journey that took his band The Slants to the United States Supreme Court.
TV composer and music educator Jesse McInturff talks with BAO about his varied journey to making a living through music. Jesse composes music for film and television, runs a private music instruction business, and plays guitar for the BAO live band among others.
Author and cultural journalist Jim Gladstone talks with BAO about his varied career documenting pop culture and his experience as a gay creative throughout the decades. Jim also shares his recent experience at an artist’s residency at the Fish Factory in Iceland, where he focused on writing a new novel.
Japanese American author Elissa R. Sloan talks with BAO about her mixed-race upbringing in Houston, TX, her career and process as a professional wedding photographer, and goes into detail about the mental health challenges faced while writing her debut novel “The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes” published by William Morrow.
Vietnamese American director, producer, and actor Hieu Gray joins BAO for some Vietnamese coffee and food and a conversation about her immigrant story, her creative process as a visual storyteller, and the challenges and goals she has faced as a woman in entertainment. Hieu’s food documentary “Quan 13” is screening at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival until October 31, 2020. It features a soundtrack by BAO.
I’m really excited to launch my new show Coffee with BAO. It’s a series where I have coffee with people in business, music, entertainment, pop culture, and more. We chat about their roots, process, personal and cultural identity, and personal growth. Coffee with BAO is a Youtube video series and an audio podcast available on all major podcast platforms.
Watch Episode 1 featuring Director, producer, and storyteller Hieu Gray:
My first episode features fellow Vietnamese American creative Hieu Gray. Hieu is a director, producer, and storyteller whose Asian American immigrant story starts in Vietnam, makes detours in Indonesia and Hong Kong, and spans a childhood in Georgia. Formerly, Hieu worked for years as an award-winning producer at CNN on shows including Larry King Live and Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown.
More recently, she’s been an on-camera superstar in her own films, including a short food documentary film “Quan 13,” which she also produced and directed. The film features a soundtrack by BAO and is screening during the month of October 2020 at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. Get passes at festival.vcmedia.org
Several years ago, I scored a soundtrack for Jess Iglehart’s short animated film “A Little Bottle of Tears.” I decided to release it as a soundtrack album so that the music can live on its own. So here we are.
The soundtrack is broken up into three parts and, to mirror the aesthetic of the film, it combines old sampled sounds with new digital sounds. Watch it for yourself on Vimeo and check out Jess Iglehart’s latest work on Instagram. 🙂
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There’s a new insane workout video for Outer Night’s synthwave remix of Do the Move! Get your ankle warmers on and get up off of that thing! Oh hey there’s a button below to subscribe to my YouTube channel. Please click it.
BAO’s very first live show was in September at the Viper Room in West Hollywood. We shot some footage and our friend Dave helped put this little video together. Hope you dig it. We’re also starting to book more shows upcoming, so contact us if you’ve got an event for us.
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Ripping guitar solo by Jesse McInturff of the band VVIVES. Bass solo by Timm Shingler of the band Open Grave Surfers. Second mini guitar solo by BAO. Hype AF drum solo by Rogie Lucero from the band Purple Fuzz Machine. Thanks to The Slants for inviting us to share the stage.