In the Spotlight with Sonic Rain

Sonic Rain, a long-time local Twin-Cities Hmong music artist has been working on her first single called “The Lost Dance”. It debuted this past February. Since then, people from the community are probably wondering what had sparked her to write her first single. I got the chance to sit down and talk about her inspirations and musical career.

How did you know the music life was for you?
I grew up in a musical family. My Dad was my biggest influence. When I was younger, He would play the guitar. He loved listening and playing Thai & Lao rock. I would say my dad was the reason for my love of music.

How long have you been involved with the Hmong Arts community?
I have been involved ever since I was 13. And I am currently 25 years old. So around 11-12 years now.

Who or what were some early inspirations to you?
My cousin Tou Saiko Lee who was heavily involved in the Hmong community, brought me into CHAT, in that period of time everything started bloom. I became a part of a spoken word collective group called F.I.R.E (Free.Inspiring.Rising Elements), from there on I have experience through different stages and evolution of the artist I am today. I found myself spending so much time at CHAT that it became like a 2nd home. At CHAT, I felt like a part of something bigger than myself.

What is the message you’re trying to convey through this song?
When I was writing this piece I was inspire by the frustration of identities that was surrounding me. I found that writing about it could allow me to express these issues and connect with the listeners. I feel that knowing yourself and finding the balance to be you, is something we often don’t get a chance to do. This piece reinforces the importance of “staying true to you.”

What was your inspiration for this piece?
The people and certain events that surrounded me influenced my writing. I wanted to tell a story through their experiences and creatively formed it into a song.

Where do you go, or what do you do to find inspiration?
I like to go on car rides, “cruises,” while listening to music it helps free my mind. It allows me to be fully immersed into my imagination and drowned out the world while I enter my world and learn who I am with out judging. I also feel that life inspires me; every day is a chance to tell a story.

What should the audience be feeling when listening to this song?
I think the music itself is pretty light and groovy. Without the lyrics, I would say it has a nice tune to it. However when you insert the lyrics, the story begins to unfold a deeper feeling about life from my perspective, which gives a personal texture addition to the music. It’s almost a bittersweet feeling. Which I find it coincidentally cause most of my music seems to have that mix feeling.

Who would you collaborate with if given the chance? And why?
If I could collaborate with anyone, I would say Lauryn Hill, she’s like the “realest female” artist; poet, creator, activist and a lover. I deeply respect her. She’s so raw and says what’s true to her heart. I say she is someone who is very comfortable in her skin as a performer and personally for me when I see an artist come to life in that form I envy and respect their artistry to the max.

So, any last words of advice for the fine folks out there?
Music is a piece of your life that you share with an audience, you don’t know who’s going to like it or not so the only homework you gotta work on is becoming the better you and exist

Besides her charming character in making people laugh and her musical career, Sonic Rain (Schouana Yang) sits on the CHAT Board executive committee as Vice Chair. If you would like to know more about Sonic Rain, visit her facebook by clicking the banner above.

Listen to Sonic Rain’s “The Lost Dance” Now!