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Korean-American Musician Audrey Nuna’s Star is on the Rise

Korean-American dynamo Audrey Nuna is adding a level of spunk and tenacity to the world of R&B and rap through her unmistakable mash-up of strong R&B vocals, trap music, and smooth hip hop rhythm. Nuna’s debut album A Liquid Breakfast chronicles her growing up and discovering her identity in New York City, blending a number of distinct styles to reflect this period in her life. The album highlights the expansive repertoire Nuna possesses, using harsh digital sounds, quick trap bars, and delicate vocals in order to highlight the complexities of creating music in the digital age. S/ spoke with Nuna on how she feels about the release of her new album and the limitless possibilities that it has presented her career, especially in the post-pandemic era. 

The pandemic has created numerous challenges for everyone across the world. How does it feel to be an artist during this period, and how has this time influenced your career?

“It gave me a lot of time to reflect on who I am as an individual and really focus on crafting an identity for myself.  Staying at home forces you to think about your life and what you have gone through, and this time has really allowed me to focus on sharing my experiences through my music.” 

audrey nuna

What messages do you want to convey through your artistry, and what does your style reveal about you?

“I just want to tell people to just live life authentically. Being true to yourself and your art, and having fun in life and enjoying every moment that passes by is so important.   

As for my style, I pull from a lot of different places and want each song to sound different, so I try to create a different sound and use a different genre for each track to give it that individual edge and sense of personality.” 

What was the inspiration behind the eclecticism of A Liquid Breakfast, and how do you feel the album differs from your previous work?

“Some of my biggest inspirations are Missy Elliot and Kanye West, that cool sense of individuality really inspires me to this day.

It [A Liquid Breakfast] reveals a raw sort of experience from me, showcasing my process of growing up and living life in the city and just having fun and enjoying life.”

With the stay-at-home order being slowly lifted, are you excited to be able to perform in front of a live audience again? 

“Well I haven’t shared this album live with anyone, so it’ll be really cool to be able to finally be able to perform this in front of an audience. It’s going to be really fun and liberating to be able to see the reaction from the audience and be able to showcase the message behind my album.”

In a recent Vogue Korea interview, BLACKPINK member Rosé revealed that if she had the opportunity to collaborate with any artist, she would choose you. How does it feel to have such a high-profile artist recognize your work and want to collaborate with you? 

“Awe, she’s so sweet! It’s good to have that support within our community, having Korean artists lift each other up to an elevated platform is pretty dope. After she mentioned me during a livestream, I literally was gaining thousands of followers, and that was so cool to watch the impact that just one small mention can have on someone’s career. 

It’s not even about her large following, it’s about how she was able to share my work with so many people and uplift another Korean artist. It’s so cool to have her publicly share my work and show the world what I have to offer. You know, we have created a community for ourselves as Korean artists, and the fact that we support one another so much is really something special.”

audrey nuna

Do you feel like leaving NYU has helped your creative process or is there a part of you that wishes you continued your studies? 

“That’s a good question! I feel like it’s important to take time to figure out who you are as an individual and gather these experiences. It’s so important to have fun and experience the world during your youth, especially being in a big city like New York, right? It allowed me to be able to figure out who I am and create an identity for myself. On the other hand, I do love learning though, so I would one day like to have some form of schooling, maybe not college, but something fun and creative after my fourth album.” 

After scrolling through your Instagram feed I see you have a love for streetwear and fashion, that being said, how would you describe your style? 

“I have a sort of futuristic dad style, I love high fashion brands, Korean designers, and vintage clothing. My favourite brands at the moment are Korean designer Iise, Juunj, and MISBHV. I also love to go thrifting, you just find clothes with so much more personality and that really tells a story, you know? I like to have a cool mix of brands and styles that separates me from everyone else on the street.” 

From A Liquid Breakfast, which is the song you are most proud of creating and why?  

“I’m very proud of “Long Year.” It just makes me feel something even though I’ve listened to it so many times throughout the mix sessions. It feels like the end of a movie, season finale, driving off into the abyss.”

Photography by Khufu Najee.