Everyone knows that when travelling to new places, the best spots to visit aren’t the ones easily found on the web. It’s all about local favourites – those true hidden gems that make the place unique for its own inhabitants. In our Hometown Hotspots series, we’re catching up with musicians around the world to find those gems on a personal tour through their own cities.
Hailing from Newark, California, singer-songwriter thuy has been serenading us with R&B-charged tunes with her dreamy vocals. It’s very apparent that the creative of Vietnamese descent is inspired heavily by music from the ‘90s; though she adds her flavour to the mix with invigorating and luscious melodies that are perfect for listening to at any time of the day.
The rising indie pop star first emerged into the scene like a breath of fresh air. thuy quickly gained attention for her 2017 single “All Night Long”, featuring Lil Kev, which also samples “Gangsta Lovin’” by Eve and Alicia Keys, quickly becoming her biggest song thus far with over 21 million streams on Spotify. She went on to release multiple incredible singles before dropping her 2021 album, titled i hope you see this, while giving us the deluxe edition this year. thuy is undoubtedly hitting her groove in music, and we can’t wait to hear what else she has to offer.
The singer-songwriter some time out of her busy schedule to share with us her life in Newark, her favourite local spots to perform, and the places she wishes won’t ever change.
Life in Newark, California
Credit: Emmanuel Ogbonnaya/Unsplash
I loved growing up in Newark. I lived there for most of my adolescent years and some of my adult life as well. Being from Newark and the Bay Area in general has contributed so much to my career. The Bay Area is a melting pot of so many cultures and this environment has helped me to really be myself.
An eatery you’d feel homesick for: Tasty Pot
Tasty Pot was a restaurant I always missed when I moved to LA. I love soup in general and I always found myself craving it!
Whenever I drive by Tasty Pot, I remember just being super hungover and eating here with my friends the next day. It was always a place we would go and recap the night.
There’s no particular song that comes to mind here, but this place would always play cover songs. My friends and I would always joke that if they didn’t play cover songs and played the actual track instead, the food wouldn’t be as good.
Your favourite place to perform: Brick & Mortar
I’ve actually never performed in my hometown but I really hope to soon! However, my favourite place I’ve ever performed in the Bay Area was Brick & Mortar because it was my first-ever headlining show and the entire spot was filled with so many supporters, friends, and family!
My song “i hope u see this” reminds me of this place because I remember being so emotional singing it. My parents saw me perform for the first time ever here and when I sang this, I just saw the proud looks on their faces.
Your go-to for live music: The New Parish
I loved going to The New Parish in Oakland, CA to discover new artists. Most artists who performed here usually went on to become really big so it felt like you were one of the first to find out about them.
Any Kehlani song would suit this place, to be honest. She’s originally from Oakland and I remember her selling out her New Parish show.
Your secret spot for new visitors: The Tortilla Factory
The Tortilla Factory is a must-go! They just celebrated 50 years so you know the food is good.
Selena’s music reminds me of this restaurant. This place is extremely authentic and true to its roots. I’ve definitely caught Selena playing in this restaurant on numerous occasions.
The one place you hope will always stay the same: Newark Memorial
I hope that Newark Memorial will always remain the same. This place is important to me because this was where I experienced so much life: my first kiss, my first time singing at a concert, and so many other memories!
To soundtrack this spot, I would pick T-Pain’s “Can’t Believe It” featuring Lil Wayne. This song would play at all the school dances and we honestly had no business singing and dancing to this song.
Hometown Hotspots is created in collaboration with Secret Signals.
Cover Credit: Edgar Daniel
Writer | Kevin Yeoh
When he isn’t making sure Sound of Life stories are published in a timely manner, Kevin enjoys wandering aimlessly in Kuala Lumpur city, going down the YouTube rabbit hole and discovering new music.