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"Laotian Pop Princess Pops Into Town"

Laotian pop princess pops into town

Move over Beyoncé, Birdie is in town. The fiery songstress that has the Asians and Asian-Americans in a tizzy, comes to Lowell tonight. Born in the United States, months after her parents left a refugee camp in Thailand, Birdie grew up in Magnolia, a tiny town in southern Minnesota (population about 225). Now she is after world domination. She struts her stuff tonight at 8:30 p.m. The Hellenic Center, 41 Broadway St., Lowell, $15. -

"That Birdie Sure Can Sing"

Today’s “underground pop” network is a way for talented artists to get noticed on sites like myspace, and feeds the dreams of the undiscovered in a virtual sea of performers. Souphak “Birdie” Xaphakdi, a young R&B singer with a sultry voice, made believers out of a new Twin Cities music label, and is about to take the first steps out of the basement studio with a new CD and a string of engagements before live audiences.

Birdie’s debut CD, “Underground Pop: Xposed”, is scheduled for release on July 7, 2007, and combines her lyrics with a passion for Hip Hop, Pop, and Rhythm & Blues for a soulful blend that is familiar and with her own special touch.

Blood In The Water Records, Birdie’s label, coined her the “teenaged queen of underground pop” for her relatively phenomenal success with online listeners at (, and ( Birdie’s CD is the first project from the Blood in the Water Records Group, a St. Paul label that specializes in developing new artists and original music. The CD shows Birdie’s range on songs like “Without You”, and her sense of rhythm with “Til the End of Time”, and her love of edgy styles in songs with mature themes like “Sexy”.

Souphak’s middle name “Birdie” was given by her mother, who was inspired by a bird that flew to her window when she was expecting. She was a very shy girl in a musical Lao American family with two younger sisters in the small Southwestern Minnesota town of Magnolia.

Birdie found her confidence and her voice on stage. For as long as she can remember, Birdie would be invited on stage by her father Kaemphet Xaphakdi, a musician and singer who performed at community events. She feels that her sense of melody comes from the traditional Lao and Thai music of her youth.

At home Birdie was a typical teen who was into volleyball and pop music. In her later teens she discovered rap and hip-hop and became a big fan of R&B. After singing at a basketball game, her high school principal convinced her to join the school choir for her senior year, which she found to be a valuable experience.

At home, Birdie would make her own music, and with the help of musician friends, they would arrange the beat and get through the technical process.

“I loved singing at home and started recording myself on the computer,” said Birdie. “We download the tracks onto myspace.”

Disraeli Arito, a producer with Blood In The Water Records, discovered Birdie’s site and waited until she graduated from high school and moved to Minneapolis to study at North Hennepin Community College to begin work with her on a CD.

Arito is also a musician, poet and author of “Multiphrenic Chalkings”, and a composer who was raised in the heart of Chicago’s R&B and gospel music tradition. As someone who has known countless professional musicians and singers, he “just knew” from the first listen that Birdie had a great voice and unique style that needed to be developed and recorded.

“This was the reason I started the record label,” said Arito, who describes Birdie’s gift of whispering aggressiveness as like a “soft Tina Turner.”

The two started working together and knew this was something very special.

“I have been around a long time and you ‘know when you know’,” he said. “People are anxious to see what she can do,” he added.

As with any young artist, there is constant coaching and training in everything from voice and technique, to choreography and onstage presence. Birdie is a natural born performer but there is still a need to improve.

In addition to a voice coach, Birdie works with Andréa Reynolds on stage presence and with Ricky Dunn (choreographer for Janet Jackson) to put a gloss on top to make the visual side of her performances as unforgettable as the music.

Arito is the manager. The CD cover art and promotional materials were designed by Amy Graham. Shelly Tavara handles the business end and makes sure that all paperwork is in place.

Birdie spends her day writing, recording, training and squeezing in cardio workouts and working on choreography. School was her “Plan A,” and while she is pursuing her music full time at the moment, she is still going to take online courses in business, along with her dancing and yoga classes to help round out her singing career.

“I haven’t met anyone at this age who is that focused,” said Arito, who compared this visionary sense of knowing what it takes to get to the next level to that of an 18-year-old R Kelly in his old Chicago neighborhood.

Birdie made her local debut at the University of Minnesota on April 7, and at Trocaderos in Minneapolis on April 14.

“At first everyone in the bar was talking over her,” said Arito. “Then, she got louder and everybody, even the cooks were looking. It became deafly quiet and then she got a standing ovation. Everybody loved here and it was fun to see.”

Birdie auditioned and won a spot in a competition before thousands at the - Asian American Press

"Sexy Songbird Released"

This pretty young songbird with awesome talent has released her sexy première album - "Underground Pop: Xposed". This continues the evolution. With the freshest vocal tunes, she will combine her passion for Hip Hop, Pop, and Soul and she blends her soulful sounds and rich tones into a new creative vibe all her own.

She is ready to pop. With the release of her ever first single from the most anticipated, celebrated album, her team has prepped for the final assault of the invasion. On her album she co-wrote some songs. Birdie may sound like some hot songsters from America. Well, she is and she also has the looks to match.

You may be able to sample her songs from her website but there are also new, unreleased tracks from this newly released album. There is no way you’ll be able to resist the temptation.

Sexy is a hip-pop uplifting track with a rave synth into rap. It leans distinctly towards more mainstream hip-hop influence with plenty of soul. The track is certainly eyeing cross-markets. I’m a Bytch is a unique track with fusion of her oriental root sound with modern western RNB flavour. Interesting, unique and it sounds great. My favourite, Without You is a smooth, stand-out from array of unreleased exclusive tracks. This alum is so lush, full of tracks that slide all over you. Forget trance, forget RNB, forget rock – get Underground Pop: Xposed

This album is artful. It has tranquillity, attractive pop moment, and appealing voice eventually making it a welcome part of your day. This is fair to say “Underground Pop: Xposed” as being the album for all cool and hip. This looked like the start of brilliant career.


"Underground Pop has arrived"

St. Paul, MN – April 30th, 2007 – Blood in the Water Records is proud to present our artist Birdie for potential venue and show bookings to you.

It is said that there are people who are born to sing. When one hears her melodic voice it is unquestionable that Birdie is one of those people.

Birdie, a Laotian American, has been criticized at times for her love of soul music. But it is this passion that has created the sound that will redefine soul music as we know it and place the term "Underground Pop" on the lips of all who hear her melodies.

Birdie is honoured to be featured in the Asian American Press later this month with a half page full color article. She is also a finalist in the upcoming May 12th CelebrAsian Event in Des Moines, the 5th annual that is expected to draw in a crowd of 43,000 plus.

She has also been busy performing around town, her most recent two performances at Trocaderos for the Laotian New Year’s Celebration and at the University of Minnesota campus for a crowd upwards of 1,000.

Her debut album entitled "Underground Pop: Xposed", will combine her passion for Hip Hop, Pop, and Soul and blends her soulful sounds and rich tones into a new creative vibe all her own. The album will be slated to drop July 7th, 2007 on Blood in the Water Records. Her debut album showcases Birdie's ability as an artist, and will capture audiences worldwide as she reaches out to her Laotian heritage.

"Underground Pop: Xposed," is the eagerly anticipated first release from the Blood in the Water Records group. The label is launched by Disraeli Arito, in-demand producer, author, writer, creator and musician.

Songs like "Without You" highlight her range, while the rhythmic beats of "Til the End of Time" and "Sexy" showcase her natural talent. Her anthem, the single "I'm a Bytch", is available on her myspace page,


"Wanna Be a Pop Princess"

A small-town Minnesota girl has her sights set on being the first Laotian-American breakout pop star.

Becoming a successful pop singer is a one-in-a-million chance. And that's being generous.
Birdie wants to be one, even though the 19-year-old with long dark hair is an atypical candidate for American pop stardom. She's Laotian (real name: Souphak Xaphakdy), and in this country, there has yet to be an Asian pop queen on the level of a Beyoncé, Britney or Christina. Asians and Asian-Americans abound in the classical arena, but are scarce on the pop scene.

Born in the United States just months after her parents left a refugee camp in Thailand in the late 1980s, Birdie grew up in Magnolia, a tiny town in southern Minnesota (population about 225). After her recent move to the big city, she cut an all-English, independently released album called "Underground Pop Xposed" and her first big solo show is Saturday at Trocaderos.

Birdie knows she has her work cut out for her: First, "underground pop" is an oxymoron. Second, she has no one of similar background to look to for precedent. "But I try to think positively," she said.

Birdie's parents -- father Kaemphet and mother Somphiane, both factory workers -- liked living in Magnolia right away, she said. It reminded them of their village in Laos. But she grew up shy, self-conscious about her used clothes and leery of small-town racism.

"All the other Asian people there were my relatives," she said.

But she did have her cousins. "We would play in the cornfields," she said. "If you looked north, east, west or south, you could see the end of town and cornfields."

She also had music. Her father always had music on or would play music himself, Lao tunes in the folky/country style of back home. He wanted Birdie to sing it, too. But as a teen, she preferred top 40.

"So I got bored and started liking Mariah Carey," she said. She joined her high-school choir and competed in talent shows doing 'N Sync covers.

Last fall, she moved to the Twin Cities to attend North Hennepin Community College. "But in the back of my head, I knew I wanted to do music," she said.

By chance, she met Disraeli Davis, a former musician looking to get back into producing. The two clicked and Birdie decided to leave college to work on a debut album full time with Davis.

Besides pop, Birdie also grew up influenced by the electronic bombast of techno. Davis has fused techno's big synth sounds with Birdie's tales of love and loss. The result has her fitting right in with some of pop's current tastemakers, such as Timbaland and Justin Timberlake. Add in a voice always set to sultry and she sounds almost like a more serious Gwen Stefani.

Breaking out

While most pop singers shop their demos to major labels and hope for the best, Birdie is going the indie route. Hence the album title, "Underground Pop." Like the Twin Cities' army of underground rappers and rockers, she sells her music herself. For now, she's hoping to gain a foothold in the metro's large Asian community -- selling her music in the grocery stores and restaurants of St. Paul's Frogtown and Minneapolis' Eat Street.

Lucky for her, there are subscenes within the country's Asian communities that support pop-styled singers. Take the national Hmong music scene, which the boy-band Paradise ruled for almost a decade, selling out shows around the country before disbanding in 2004. Lead singer Phong Yang said that after the California-based group won the support of its community, it flirted with going mainstream. But it wasn't to be. Some group members weren't ready for the commitment and truthfully, he said, there just isn't a lot of major-label interest in Asian singers.

"It was the same thing for African-Americans before they had Motown; until somebody steps up and says they're going to produce Asians, it's going to be really hard," Yang said by phone recently.

But even before Birdie can worry about mainstream politics, she's finding that the indie route has its bumps, too. In the month leading up to her show Saturday, she's had to find a new backup band and a new choreographer. Then her show almost got double-booked.

"That's the reason we do stuff with contracts now, instead of just handshakes," she said.

She's also gotten the blessing of her parents, who were "a little disappointed" that she stopped going to college. "But now that I have an album, they're happy," she said.

Of course, her father Kaemphet said Birdie quitting college is "just for a while."I'm happy to hear her sing English," he said. "For Lao music, she has to practice more. Some words she doesn't understand."

Birdie said now that she's older, she's thinking more about singing the music her father grew up on, but on the side. Pop stardom is still her dream.

"But maybe we'll put a couple songs that are in Lao on the next album," she said. "I have to respect my culture, too."

"Birdie on Asia based VOA"

First All-English Album Released By Lao-American Birdie Xaphakdy: Underground Pop Xposed
By Vannasone Keodara
Birdie, 4.33 MB
Listen to Birdie, 4.33 MB

Birdie or Suphak Xaphakdy
US-born Birdie or Souphak Xaphakdy wants desperately to make it in the mainsteam of the American music and entertainment world. The 19-year old, self-made artist of Lao descent grew up in the small town of Magnolia, Minnesota. She later moved to the Twin Cities to continue her higher education. But, she told VOA, “Back in my mind, I want to become a pop singer, I want to sing, to be successful like many great pop singers like Byonce, Mariah Carey, and many others, to make it up there some day”

Birdie quit college and devoted herself fulltime to a singing career. She found a small recording company who signed

Another side of Birdie

her up for her debut album “Underground Pop: Xposed.” She and her producer co-wrote the songs on this album together. “Txt War” is one great example of the many songs that she co-wrote. They’re all about her, her true story, the environment and the people around her.

Birdie is a great example of young Asian-American pioneers who try so hard to make it and live an American dream. She ignores all the negative comments and stereotyping of her music

True side of Birdie
by people who judge her by her skin color and laugh at her music that they think is laced with heavy accent. But all that has not crushed Birdie or her determination She told VOA, “ I am a very positive person, I look forward, I don’t think negative. Yes, of course, I have feelings, I get emotional about those comments. People talk about how bad my music is, especially white and lack people. But I never give up, I look at it very positively and I’m determined to prove them wrong. I even approached people on the streets, tried to sell my CDs to them, The Asian -American community is very supportive and helpful. I think that the reason they bought my CD is because I am Asian just like them. I also sold my CDs

Underground Pop Xposed

to other communities like the white and African -Americans, but they did not buy as much as Asian-Americans.”

Birdie’s debut album, “Underground Pop: Xposed,” was released August 31st, 2007. And she headlined at Trocaderos night club on September 22nd. She is the first Asian female to headline at this club, and is looking forward to representing her Asian heritage and community well.

Birdie most recent performance include her own Underground Pop Xposed Concert at Trocaderos, Minneapolis, Minnesota ICE open Mic - Metro State University - Minnesota The Seven Club - Minneapolis Minnesota

VOA will follow up and bring you updates on Birdie’s future activities.

Please stay tuned. For additional information about purchasing her CD, please contact her site directly at - Voice of America


Underground Pop: Xposed



Humble Beginnings – Birdie is spreading her wings to release her Debut Album Underground Pop:Xposed

Birdie’s parents came to this country from Laos while her mother was still pregnant with her. Fleeing the remnants of a war torn society, the Xaphakdy family came to America seeking a better life for themselves and their soon to be born child.

Birdies young life consisted of her parents moving around the country with her father taking odd jobs to make ends meet. It was a very meager life, but always full of hope and music.

Birdie’s passion for music came directly from her father who, no matter how hard things were financially for the family, kept a song in his heart. When Birdie was as young as 6 years old she began her love affair with sound and performing. Whether she was being lulled to sleep by her mother or brought on stage by her father to sing, Birdie knew at a very young age what she wanted to do.


When her family settled in the small southern Minnesota town of Luverne, Birdie eased into the small community life. Athletic, popular, and friendly, Birdie lived a modest life with ambitions of going to college and living the American dream. Secretly, Birdie still longed to sing and perform. She started listening to soul music and fell in love with the vocals of Mariah Carey and the late Aaliyah.

Birdie pressed on, despite many of her friends and family doubting or frowning at her desire to sing soul music. At 18, she left home to go to college in the Twin Cities, hoping to also find a way to follow her dream. As she began approaching different producers and song writers she faced a cold reality of the industry. Asian American female vocalists were not seen as soul/dance musicians; instead, Birdie was told everything from her voice was too light, her accent was too heavy, or, in some cases, that her talents were better served on the soundtrack to a Final Fantasy video game.

Never crushed, Birdies determination moved her forward, until she finally found a small production company that believed in her enough to build a record label around her abilities. Deciding the give everything to her craft, the 18 year old Birdie quit school and her job to now spend up to 18 hours a day promoting, recording, performing, and fine tuning her craft.

The girl that, at one time, was told that she could not open her mouth is now not only blasting out passionate lyrics on top of hard edged dance/soul retro music, but making decisions about her music beats, venues for performance, back ground vocalists, and dancer choreography.

This summer Birdie went to the Drake relays in Iowa. The track meets, synonymous with in the Midwest music scene and a marketing bonanza for Rap and Soul music, drew young Birdie to promote her up and coming album. She walked down the street, bag of cds on her back and flyers in her hand, talking to as many people as she could. She walked proud amidst thousands of people that might scare most people. Taunted by many, Birdie moved, unwavering, and promoted through the uncharted territory. Many of the women there looked at the slight Asian girl and said,” I can't believe that this girl is out here promoting pop music". A female promoting her music on the streets was a rarity, especially with a genre of music as diverse as Birdie’s. But, she still reached out to her audience as she strives to be to be a platinum selling artist. Birdie’s dream are humble, much the same as anyone’s: to buy a house for her parents, to care for her parents, to be able to let her mother be home with her young baby brother instead of working at Gold and Plump Chicken, and for her dad to continue in his international singing career instead of working 12 hour days at the tracking company.

Even here in the twin cities, Birdie has found mixed support for her dreams. She is new to the scene, has never had vocal instruction, and has just started to perform on a consistent basis. But, when people listen to her music, hear her voice, and see her drive, they can’t help but fall in love with her.

Birdies debut CD, “Underground Pop: Xposed, has released August 31st, 2007, and she is the headlining at Trocaderos night club on September 22nd. She is the first Asian female to headline at this club, and is looking forward to representing her Asian heritage and community well.

Part owner of her business, promoting herself, you will not find Birdie, now 19, at 18 plus night at Myth or Escape, you will find her on the streets in some of the roughest neighborhoods in town, passing out flyers, free discs of her music, and singing on point when asked. People still doubt whether this Asian songbird can really sing. Birdie is happy to oblige them with 16 bars of one o f her ballads. In Birdie’s own words, she just wants to sing.