Heavily influenced by Prince and the Minneapolis sound of the early 1980s, the “BAO EP” relies heavily on vintage drum machines, bold synthesizers, and Nile Rodgers-inspired guitar. BAO writes, produces and performs nearly all the parts on the record. BAO paints a picture of what it means to grow up an immigrant in America with the opening track “Fish Sauce”. The song includes a rap in BAO’s native Vietnamese satirizing the embarrassed reactions of the Vietnamese community to his reclamation of the notoriously funky fish sauce as a symbol of pride. Similar cultural perspectives are weaved throughout other songs on the EP, which go from sentimental, to intimate, to playfully suggestive. Even on the more somber “Learn From It,” BAO incorporates references of internalized racism and the Asian-American community’s failure to address mental health issues.
BAO is your jam if you’re a fan of Prince and acts that resulted from his success such as Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Jesse Johnson, and Morris Day and the Time. More modern influences include Blood Orange, HAIM, and Bruno Mars. BAO is the solo project of Bao Vo, formerly writer and producer of the Asian-American electro-pop band Ming & Ping.