Taiyo Na

Taiyo Na


Hailed as 'undeniably soul-rootsy' and 'storytelling through music at its finest,' Taiyo Na's debut album Love Is Growth (March 2008, Issilah Productions) is a blend of gritty N.Y. hip-hop and classic American soul.


Taiyo Na, a 25-year old renaissance man of word, sound and action, released his first full-length solo album Love Is Growth in March of 2008 through Issilah Productions.

Influenced as much by Curtis Mayfield as it is Nas, Ben Harper or Chris Iijima, Love Is Growth is a blend of gritty New York hip-hop and classic American soul. Featuring collaborations with singers Vudoo Soul, Conchita Campos and Emily C. Chang, rapper/producer Koba, jazz violinist Jason Kao Hwang, guitarists Minimum Tek of Outernational and Mark Concerto of P.I.C. and more, the album is composed, arranged and produced entirely by Taiyo. Socially conscious, often funky and always personal, the album showcases the artist's urgency, scope and depth through songs such as the champion's anthem title track, the pulsating introduction 'One More Time' and the ethereal rock-soul ballad 'Take My Breath Away.'

Born and raised throughout New York City, Taiyo first started writing rhymes at age 13 with the encouragement of high school and neighborhood friends. This passion for language, heart and rhythm led to an early journey into spoken word poetry, performing nationally with the New York-based feedback poets' collective (2000-2003) which featured acclaimed poets Beau Sia and Ishle Park. By the time he was 18 years old, he had shared stages with Maya Angelou, Jessica Hagedorn and Janice Mirikitani, and was selected as one of the '25 Best Emerging Artists Under the Age of 25' by New World Theater's Intersection Conference in 2002.

Increasingly driven by melody and groove, in the next few years Taiyo found himself building a name as an emcee, singer and songwriter within New York City's independent music scene. Having performed for festival crowds of over 10, 000 to intimate venues throughout the East Coast, notable accomplishments include a guest performance for Helen Zia's Asian American Renaissance Conference, a featured night at Lincoln Center, two appearances on Kevin So's celebrated album A Brighter Day, and an opening performance for 9-time Grammy Award-winning Eddie Palmieri.

Like the Latin American soul music of Palmieri and La Lupe generations before, Taiyo Na's Love Is Growth marks the emergence of an Asian American soul music, most notably in songs such as 'Lovely To Me (Immigrant Mother)' and 'Kasama.' It is a distinct American music--African and European in its roots--and now Asian in its perspective. In an American pop culture that often doesn't see Asian people as performing artists, time will only tell if the mainstream is ready for more diversity. Two things, however, are for certain: Taiyo represents an entire movement of young Asian American musicians creating a voice all their own, and Love Is Growth is the latest charge forward.



Lovely To Me (Immigrant Mother)

Written By: T. Ebato, J. Hwang, K. So, C. Vu, M. Yamagata

Lovely To Me (Immigrant Mother)

Verse One:

I got an immigrant mother, ain't no one like her
She struggle everyday so she's something like a fighter
See her on the streets carrying loads of groceries
See her on the streets carrying loads of broken dreams
It takes a whole lot to leave your homeland
And raise a few children with your own hands
She couldn't read well, but she could feed well
With a few hustles on the DL
Overworked, underpaid, so much my mother gave
It's through her, how I learned love is brave
Working to the evening, then cooking & cleaning,
But they straight ignored her at school meetings
Straight dissin' her, cuz she speak with an accent
But under the accent is a heart full of passion
You went through the fire to be a mother to me
Thank you for being so lovely to me


You've been lovely to me
A dear mother to me
Like no other to me
Lovely to me, lovely to me

I got an immigrant mother (Lovely to me)
Immigrant mother (A dear mother to me)
Immigrant mother (Like no other to me)
Lovely to me, lovely to me

Verse Two:

She on the subway trying to learn English
Wishing for her son to be distinguished
There lots of things she don't know how to say
So immigrant mothers they know how to pray
But they ain't perfect, and that's what hurt me
They need some damn help when they all by themselves
Cuz they'll break down, see my mom was single
Raised us alone since we was real little
She worked her ass off, Man, I saw it every night
Passed out on the couch, I tucked her in tight
But working all the time will make a woman crazy
And compromise her time with her dear babies
She got lonely, so she fell for stupid men
Like alcoholics, and I felt ruined then,
So I stepped up, said, Ma, you acting ugly
You deserve better cuz you so lovely


Verse Three:

She smell like cumin, smell like garlic
Smell like adobo, smell like an artist
INS tests don't know nothing about this
About babies on your breasts and giving 'em happiness
About holding your own despite a broken home
She had no degree but she gave me poetry
Living through the struggle and giving cuz she loves you
I got an immigrant mother, I sing this cuz I'm humbled


She wakes up in the morning when the birds are loudest
Something about her feels like Mary
She needs strength just like anybody else
So when I see her in the kitchen I offer her my help



Love Is Growth (March 2008, Issilah Productions) (Available everywhere online and select stores; select independent radio play.)

Set List

20-45 min. sets

1. One More Time
2. Love Is Growth
3. Kasama
4. Troublemaker
5. Lil' Tookie
6. Moonlight City (Reprise)
7. Lovely To Me (Immigrant Mother)
8. 4 Your Love
9. Take My Breath Away
10. Let's Go Back
11. Is This Love? (Bonus Cover)