Photo: Todd Krolczyk
What is a touring musician without tour? My latest run, originally scheduled for the summer of 2020, has been postponed to 2022. I miss being a part of someone’s night out, I miss smiling back at smiling faces, I miss signing merch for a couple’s kid who is at home with the sitter. And I miss playing my songs for you. The exchange that takes place through live performance is, at its best, sacred. Sharing some kind of pain, some kind of joy, some kind of gratitude with all of you has been a great privilege of my life. I can’t tour, but I can start working on my next record, and I want you to join me.
What is For The Record?
In 2021, I’ll be creating my seventh album, and I’ll be taking you along on the process via my newsletter, For the Record. Every week, subscribers will read, hear, and watch how the work unfolds, in real time: from the very early are-these-futile-or-fertile kernels of songwriting, to demos on whatever instrument is lying around, to finished songs. I’ll be sharing a bit of everything that leads to the tracks you’ll hear on my next album. In the past, while working on (and procrastinating working on) albums, I’ve written one-act plays, guest-hosted a podcast for a year, (thank you Song Exploder!), produced video art, and helped make a documentary of my first trip to Vietnam with my mom. I have never quite known what will get me closer to what I need to say on a record. The journey is the only certain thing, and I’d love for you to come along.
Subscribers to the free portion of my newsletter will receive one post a week. This could be a streaming mp3 of a new song I’ve written or a beat I’ve produced, a personal essay, a poem, a multimedia piece, or a new video of me performing an old favorite. Paying subscribers ($5 a month or $50 a year) will receive two posts a week. You’ll get what one might call backstage access—a chance to participate in Q&A forums where you can ask me questions and engage with the For The Record community. You’ll be able to request songs for me to perform, learn more about the stories behind my lyrics, see behind-the-scenes footage from past and future music videos and studio sessions, and listen to or watch my conversations with artist friends about process and how they’ve built and sustained careers in their corners of the arts and entertainment world.
If you can’t pay for a subscription for any reason but you want access to the material, just email RegardingThao@gmail.com and I’ll comp you, no questions asked.
My career has been made possible by those who buy records and come to shows, and one of my favorite parts of touring is getting the chance to thank new and long-time fans and supporters in person. I won’t be able to see you all for a while, and this chance to connect with you directly through your inbox is a lifeline.
I am Thao Nguyen, a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, and producer. For the past 15 years I’ve toured nationally and internationally, solo and as leader of the indie band Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. I released my sixth and latest album, Temple, in May of 2020. I’m so happy to be part of a growing group of musicians on Substack, and I’m proud to be part of the conversation as musicians redefine what it is to protect, sustain, and grow in our work and in our relationship with our fans. Your subscription is integral to this journey, and I thank you.