NoSo’s story is one of growth, love, and self-acceptance. Born and raised in Chicago, NoSo (real name Baek Hwong) spent their early years struggling to find their place within the white American suburbs in which they were raised. After many years spent in this stifling, and largely heteronormative environment, Hwong later moved to LA to study guitar and song writing at Thornton School of Music, USC.
After originally following the path of guitar legends such as Tommy Emmanuel, Hwong quickly realised that their writing was beginning to manifest itself in more personal and meaningful ways. As a queer non-binary person, Hwong doesn’t remember explicitly coming out, instead, their declaration of themselves to the world at large has always been through music. It continues to be through music that Hwong explores their identity, and their flourishing understanding of self-acceptance and pride.
Whilst NoSo’s previous release ‘Suburbia’ was filled with fluttering, sun-soaked guitar, ‘Honey Understand’ sees Hwong’s guitar skills take a back seat, allowing reverb-soaked synths and stomping drums to take centre stage. The song, as a whole, is cinematic and brooding – like the soundtrack to an unreleased neo-noir movie where the lead character ambles down a poorly lit and turbulent LA street. The chorus, however, is pure catharsis. A clenched fist, eyes-closed, impassioned sing-along that rolls around your brain for days to come.
When speaking of the lyrics, Hwong notes how in an effort to escape themselves during the writing process, they would occasionally turn to the solace of fantasy – using characters and plots from self-written screenplays to explore worlds and lives apart from their own. Yet, even when inhabiting fictional characters, there is an unmistakeable feeling that Hwong’s unique self is leaking out of the characters, as if their inner thoughts and emotions refuse to be confined to the world of another. A feeling that, ultimately, it is from Hwong’s intimate, vulnerable, and authentic self that their lyrics and their music emanates.
Words: Taryn McDonnell // Photo: Bella Rose Porter
‘Honey Understand’ is out now via Partisan. Listen to the track below.