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When the album written to memorialize your mother becomes your
calling card, where do you turn for your second act? For Japanese
Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner, it involved diving deeper into herself to
evolve as an artist. With the release of her sophomore album Soft
Sounds From Another Planet, Zauner expanded the breadth of the
shimmering bedroom pop displayed on her debut Psychopomp. Her
voice and vision came clearer into focus as she used the extended
metaphor of outer space to observe the pain that defined the first part of
Full of gleaming guitars and haunting electronics, Soft Sounds earned
critical acclaim and new fans around the world, quickly making
Japanese Breakfast a household name among the indie rock contingent.
Much of 2018 saw Zauner on the road, further honing her live show and
performing for massive audiences. All the while, she kept busy—not
only as Japanese Breakfast, but as Michelle Zauner: video game
composer, prolific music video director, and author.
Fans eager for new music from Zauner were pleasantly surprised in
summer 2018, when she revealed “Glider” in the E3 announce trailer for
the breathtaking new adventure game Sable. Drawing from her years of
songwriting experience while making new explorations into creating
ambient and experimental music, she composed the entire soundtrack
for the highly-anticipated indie game, which is due out early 2020.
Having helmed every visual for Soft Sounds, Zauner is also well
underway making a name for herself as a sought-after director, working
with longtime collaborator Adam Kolodny to craft music videos for other
artists. To date, she’s brought her visual signatures to artists like
Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst, Jay Som, and Charly Bliss.
Between tours, studio sessions, and video shoots, Zauner has long
been working on a memoir of her early childhood, time spent between
the U.S. and South Korea, and the split heritage that has shaped so
much of her life. An excerpt from that book, “Crying in H-Mart,” was
published in The New Yorker at the end of 2018. A reflection on grief and
a tribute to both biracial and immigrant families, Zauner’s essay is full of
beautifully rendered, heartbreaking detail. The full book, also titled
Crying in H-Mart, will be released via Knopf.
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