May 9th, 2022 8:30pm Stage 3
Alex Wong & Keepsake House present SHOW YOURSELF: A Benefit Residency Celebrating AAPI Stories
Celebrate the stories of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) artists through music and conversation in this residency that runs during AAPI Heritage Month and benefits The Quiet Voice Fund. Tonight, hear from Raye Zaragoza, Alex Wong, and Sarah Kang as they lift their voices and show themselves to New York and beyond.
Can’t come in person? Virtual tickets also available at Keepsake House
Alex Wong creates music to help people remember who they are and show themselves to the world. He has always had a complicated relationship with his own memories, unable to remember his own childhood birthday parties yet possessing many vivid, sensory memories from dreams, places he’d never been, and what seemed almost like isolated vignettes from another life. That dissonance led to the songs on his latest album, “The Elephant and the Seahorse.” As he looked closer at his memories from the past, he was forced to acknowledge that he had been “hiding” his identity as a second generation Chinese-American for much of his life. Memories of being told to downplay his ethnicity in school, social groups, or in the mostly-white music industry, assimilate to white culture, speak with no accent, and keep himself small rushed to the surface, along with waves of shame and anger for buying into this conditioning. A lot of deep questioning followed, which he chronicles for the first time in his song “Show Yourself.”
Alex is a Latin GRAMMY-nominated artist and producer known for his work with Delta Rae, Vienna Teng, Melissa Ferrick and Morgxn, among others. Alex’s music has been featured in movies including “The Last Song” and TV shows including “True Blood.” Alex has toured all over the world, performing at festivals like Coachella, Outside Lands, and Corona Capital, in arenas in Mexico City and theaters in Europe and Japan, and on NPR’s Mountain Stage.
Raye Zaragoza is a galvanizing presence, a self-assured artist making music to fight for, represent, and celebrate those left too long outside the spotlight. Known for tenacious feminist anthems and fearless protest folk, her stage presence teems with determined morale. As a Japanese-American, Mexican, Indigenous woman, Zaragoza spent much of her early life trying to assimilate with the world around her, to meet punishing standards of beauty synonymous with just one color of skin—and not her own. She has come a long way from that youthful pain, proclaiming “I am proud to be a multicultural brown woman with insecurities and a vibrant intersectional identity that I continue to grapple with. I hope young girls of today will know that the It Girl is whatever the hell they want to be.”
In the aftermath of her breakthrough single, “In The River,” Zaragoza released Fight For You, the protest-driven debut she says had her “finding my voice as a woman of color.” Upon releasing her first full-length, she discovered the beauty, significance, and necessity of her natural identity in a broader conversation; she was ready to celebrate what made her “different” and invigorate those of similar struggles to do the same. This rightful confidence radiates across Woman In Color, Zaragoza’s sophomore album out now on Rebel River Records, her own independent label. The album delivers powerful missives about embracing one’s own identity and discovering the power behind it, all across brisk, emotive, compelling folk melodies. Once deemed “one of the most politically relevant artists in her genre” by Paste Magazine, Raye Zaragoza now offers an intimate exploration of coming into her own, in a country where for many, simply existing is political. Through this album, Raye has written a collection of spirited canticles for herself, for womanhood, and for all the people who had to come together in such an event of divine coincidence that led to her existence.
Sarah Kang is a Korean-American jazz/soul/R&B singer-songwriter based in New York City. Born in South Korea and raised in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas, her music, much like her life experiences, crosses the borders of genre. Her inspiration comes from artists like Crush, Bruno Major, and H.E.R.; however, her earnest voice paired with soul sensibilities and thoughtful songwriting creates a sound that is all her own. Her hope is that her music can encourage listeners to ask important questions and provide safe, cozy spaces to rest.