Published Feb 06, 2013Thao Nguyen's solo work was again put on hold for much of 2011 when she teamed up with indie songstress Mirah to write and record Thao & Mirah. Equipped with a new sense of introspective songwriting, Nguyen releases her third album, We the Common, her first in four years. This is Nguyen's strongest work yet, with the aforementioned songwriting taking a leap forward, while gradually perfecting her melting pot sound of country, folk and pop. Whether collaboratively or on her own, Nguyen has spent the past few years gearing up as folk-pop force and has left us selfishly wanting even more.
How has your songwriting changed since your last record?
I just grew up a bit, so the songwriting and narratives reflect that. It's a lot less about my problems and more about how I could be a better participant in my life. There's a sense of revival and gratitude throughout the record that adds to this vitality of it.
Has working with Mirah influenced the way you write music?
I have such respect for Mirah as a songwriter. I just love how her songs are beautiful, but also critiques over things she takes issue with in the world. I think she has a big heart and it shows in her songs. That was very influential, to me.
Joanna Newsom makes an appearance on the record. How did that collaboration come about?
We were both invited to this songwriters retreat and that's where we met. All of us would just hang out, talk shit and have a good time. I asked Joanna if she would sing on this song that I had just finished and she agreed. A few months later, we recorded it and it was just amazing to have her on that record.