On the latest Drop-in Session, host Cyrus Nabipoor spoke to Joe Kye – Portland-based indie pop violinist-looper, vocalist, and teacher. They spoke about Kye’s journey of finding his voice and unique style as a classically trained Asian-American musician and the prejudice and stereotypes he faced along the way. They also dove deep into Joe’s latest projects.

Born in South Korea and raised primarily in the Pacific Northwest, Kye attended Garfield High School in Seattle – a school famous for turning out many prominent names in music, such as Quincy Jones, Jimi Hendrix, and Macklemore. Kye attended Yale University, where he studied music and culture. He “has toured the United States with performances opening for cellist Yo-Yo Ma, comedian Hari Kondabalu, rapper Warren G, and Senator Bernie Sanders…”

Joe has been staying very busy during the pandemic. He has been working on his latest endeavor Hi Joe Kye– fun kids’ music project, where he combines his experiences as a parent-musician of diverse background, creating a space, where Asian children and families can see themselves represented.

He has also recently recorded “I See Color” with poet, musician Austin Antoine. The project includes two tracks – the original song by the same title, and a candid conversation about race, identity, stereotypes, and experiences of living in white America. The project was made in partnership with The with The Slants Foundation and Rock Paper Radio and will be officially released later this year.

Joe Kye’s next performance will be streaming live through Hillsboro Park & Rec on May 27th at 7 PM. Joe will share his music and engage in conversation of what it means to be Asian-American “…in the current climate of anti-Asian sentiment in the US…”. More info can be found on the event page here.

Keep up-to-date with Joe’s projects, latest releases, and live shows, follow him on his social media channels: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok.

Take a listen to the interview below.

~Drop-In Sessions are funded by the Autzen and Collins Foundations~


Host & Producer – Cyrus Nabipoor

Producer – Asia Wagner

Audio Engineer – Veronica Bisesti

Audio Editor – Cyrus Nabipoor

Photo Credit – Tom Huynh


Asia Wagner
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