TRACE: We’re Calling Her the Artist of the Summer

We recently caught up with up-and-coming musician, TRACE who is taking the alternative moody pop scene to a whole new level. Though she comes from a musical family (her mom is the famous Vietnamese pop musician, Carol Kim), TRACE didn’t end up taking music seriously until just recently, and we’re sure glad she did. She inspires us to look in different places for new opportunities and reminds us that it’s never too late to just pick up a mic and go for it.

Read our interview with TRACE below:

Where are you from?

I’m originally from Orange County — Anaheim to be exact. A Southern California girl who despises the sun…

Your voice is so beautiful and soothing. Have you always been interested in singing?

Thank you! My mom told me I sang sometimes to myself as a young girl (probably just mimicking her) but growing up I never had an interest in singing — out loud at least!

Where do your musical inspirations come from? What bands and other forms of art/creative sources influence your music?

They come from everywhere I feel. I grew up listening to a lot of different genres of music. Folk and jazz were a big part of my music palette but I’m also really into R&B and indie-pop/pop. My mom grew me up on the likes of Patsy Cline and Diana Ross, so I’ve been inspired by a wide range of magical music. In terms of my go-to inspirational artists however, I’d say it would be Feist, Frank Ocean and Lykke Li, to name a few.

Has music always been a main focus in your life? If so, did you ever have a side hustle?

It has only become a main focus of mine since 2015. I’ve worked in advertising, editorial and brand consulting most of my life. I’ve always been a writer of sorts, so now it’s just applying that innate love into music. That’s been cool.  

What do you want people to take away from your art?

I want you to feel something you didn’t know you felt or have been dreading to feel. I want my art to be interesting and original sure, but more so, I want it to be something you can sink your whole self in… even if for a moment.

What does your self-care practice look like? Do you have any particular rituals that refuel you?

Sometimes I have to really think about it since different seasons call for different remedies. But self-care always starts with the basics: exercise and a good diet. I’m a huge fan of Pop Physique and hikes around LA, and really just a long walk is all it takes to refuel me. I’m also obsessed with ginger cayenne shots and alkaline water.

What are you terrified of?

I’m terrified of dark bodies of water — being in it or even seeing it! I’m also terrified of being misunderstood.

How do you move past fear?

A sure way to move past fear is to focus on something much stronger: love and light. It’s cheesy, but I really feel like fear is simply an instinct, and we have the choice to cover that instinct in a bad, fearful, dark way or to move it towards good and put it in light.

What does friendship mean to you?

It means everything to me. I’m pretty autonomous in my day-to-day, in my lifestyle, in my life really. But I’ve learned, you really do need people (the right, good ones). Friendship means investing in each other, it means selflessness, it means having fun but also having hard conversations, it means deep talks and it means inside jokes. It means calling each other out when no one else does or will. If you’re lucky, friendship also means family.

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