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Music Review

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Stay Proud of Me


Artist: NoSo
Label: Partisan Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 08 July 2022

LA-based, non-binary, Korean-American artist NoSo (real name: Abby Hwong) has released their debut album, Stay Proud of Me, via Partisan Records. Hwong wrote and recorded much of the record alone during quarantine in their bedroom, studying any non-guitar instruments they weren’t as proficient in along the way. The result is a deeply earnest coming-of-age story, and a nuanced introduction to NoSo’s universe...

NoSo's debut album feels more confident and polished than I was expecting. Their stage name is shorthand for North/South: a nod to their Korean heritage, and the inane origin question ("Which Korea are you from?") that so many Korean Americans inevitably face.

On Stay Proud Of Me, NoSo grapples with the search for a sense of identity, overcoming impostor syndrome, and repressed memory - its power stemming from NoSo’s universal tenderness and a singular perspective to affect the hearts of many. There's real love poured into this release with each song neatly dovetailing into the next effortlessly.

There's an '80s/'90s vibe here that you'll get swept up in and dragged along for the ride. This is one of those albums that you'll want to play to death now and then put away and drag out once in a while. It's an upbeat and life affirming collection of wonderfully crafted tunes.


Nick Smithson

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