“Everything was really good. But I knew I needed to go out and get my ego smashed and explore,” explains Xuan Nguyen on her “safe and uneventful” time growing up in the Dallas suburbs. The indie-pop artist’s need to get her ego smashed resulted in Xuan traveling around Southeast Asia, Australia and eventually moving to Ireland. Deriving from a need to make money while in Ireland, Xuan took to the reins of songwriting and didn’t quite polish the edges until returning back. As time progressed, Xuan captured it all while exploring her sound and range. With her debut album, Have Some Fun, gearing towards release in Novemeber, Xuan’s first single, “We Were Just Talking” — which is streaming on GUM before its official release date July 20th — is a quirky sample of living in the moment that fully illustrates Xuan.
Delightfully opening with innocent banter and magical synths, “We Were Just Talking” is the epitome of inner dialogue and wishful thinking when merely talking to a crush. Fluorescent tempo switches dance alongside Xuan’s joyous, yet sotto voce delivery, sweetly nestled between jangle-pop guitar chords. Primal drumming provide a simplistic approach, allowing a centered focus on Xuan’s story. Adding a touch of college rock, the track is an adolescent ode smothered in pop.
Regardless of Xuan’s pop products, noting Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera as influences, Xuan heeds to the greats in song writing, such as Neil Young, and aims to open up further on her full length. “This record is totally me,” says Xuan, “Even the things I don’t like about myself!” Anticipating the album’s closer, “Night Drive,” which touches on self-acceptance and finding herself as a first-generation Asian-American, Have Some Fun heads towards showcasing all angles of Xuan, luckily presenting playfulness as our first introduction.
“People are always growing and changing and making mistakes. This record is a snapshot of where I was at that point in time. I don’t want to forget that. I want to appreciate it for what it is.”
Have Some Fun comes out 11/16/18 via Palo Santo Records.
Cover photo by Casey Pinckard courtesy of the artist