Stay Proud of Me is the debut album from LA-based Korean-American artist NoSo (real name, Abby Hwong). Their stage name is shorthand for North/South: a nod to their Korean heritage, and the inane origin question ("Which Korea are you from?") that so many Korean-Americans inevitably face at some point in their lives. Across 10 tracks, NoSo indirectly grapples with the insecurities and frustrations that can arise from the Asian-American experience, with the end result feeling like a balm for the alienated.
Stay Proud of Me offers a deeply earnest coming-of-age story, a nuanced introduction to NoSo's universe and Hwong's rapidly expanding musical abilities. The marriage of their lyrics and captivating guitar performance feels magical, as if NoSo can open up portals to fantastic new realms, guided by an emotional honesty that breaks you down in one moment and fills you with joy in the next.