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Cambodia & Diaspora: SU BLU, "Srok khmer is my home !"

Dear readers, our special series on rising stars continues, and today we’re heading to Long Beach. Because of her presence in Cambodia this week, we’ve chosen the beautiful SU BLU, this artist, composer, singer and DJ, who proudly proclaims ''Srok Khmer is my home'' and wants to show her ''Khmer pride'' in every possible way.

Wearing traditional khmer clothes
Wearing traditional khmer clothes

SU BLU in a few words

Sulina, half Chinese through her Paris-born father and half Khmer through her mother from Phnom Penh, was born and raised in LONG BEACH, California, and now splits her time between there and Las Vegas.

Previously a platinum blonde, it was after a performance at a rave festival where she was supposed to be Marge Simpson that she adopted this look. With everyone calling her Su blu or Baby blu, she decided to keep the nickname too. It's been going on for 12 years now. She believes that blue "makes her better and stronger".

 

Interview

 

Have you ever been told about Khmer history?

As with most Khmer children, no one did, so I took it upon myself to do so from an early age.

How much of your upbringing is Khmer culture?

I could say that half my life is spent in a Chinese environment and the other half in a Khmer one, but I make a point of emphasizing our Khmer values very strongly, even if I'm not fluent... and I love Khmer food!

In particular, I've always dreamed of a Khmer wedding, a ceremony I'd describe as magical in my eyes... and I had it!
In particular, I've always dreamed of a Khmer wedding, a ceremony I'd describe as magical in my eyes... and I had it!

And on that note, I encourage everyone to do so, as it's full of traditions and culture that your ancestors and family would be proud of.

Have you ever been to Khmer Srok? Or do you go there often?

The first time was when I was 4, the second when I was 9. And by the way, I'm in Cambodia this week!

Tell us about the experience

It definitely changed my life. I'm "obsessed" with our magical culture and it was a real culture shock. I was there with my mother, and I remember we were helping the underprivileged. The children were my age and it was also the first time I'd been confronted with poverty. I realized how lucky I was.

The other point was to compare the difference between growing up in an American Cambodian town like Cambodia Town, and suddenly finding yourself in a place where everyone speaks Khmer. The feeling is surprising. Discovering Angkor Wat also got me interested in our glorious past.

Tell us about your childhood and adolescence?

I have nothing but good memories, lots of friends who became cheerleading captains or sorority presidents, for example...

Early years
Early years

So I'd say I had a really lucky childhood, thanks in particular to my parents' unconditional support in all my activities.

When did music come into your life?

My father was a musician who introduced British rock to Long Beach in the '80s, so I was immersed in music from an early age. However, I started singing seriously after graduating from high school.

As a DJ, when and how was your first experience?

It was so long ago that I can't remember... but I can say that every time I play, I still get the same adrenaline rush.

"When I'm playing, I'm so focused on my work that I never drink or smoke. I make a point of keeping a certain discipline to excel in what I do".

Do you think it's harder for women to work in this field?

Some people think they can take advantage of you, but you have to learn from experience, protect yourself and know your worth.

SU BLU at the decks
SU BLU at the decks

And what do you think of Asian representation in the industry?

We're under-represented, especially those from Southeast Asia, but I think a positive change is underway.

As a singer, what are your sources of inspiration?

Everyone inspires me in one way or another. I grew up in a family where my father was a Khmer rock fan, and as a dancer I'm open to all repertoires.

And what are your musical influences?

Because I grew up in the 90s, I'd say pop musicians like Christina Aguilera or Britney Spears and of course Aaliyah, Maria Carey or Céline Dion. And because I also grew up in Long Beach, I love hip-hop, R&B and West Coast music.

With her family
With her family

Do you write your own songs?

Yes, I do! And I can tell you that I've also started writing poems since I've been able to write. I may have over a hundred to date.

What are your main topics?

My poems are the inspiration for my current songs. I like to write about love, and I also draw inspiration from my friends' experiences, because,

"Love songs are timeless''

I also like to write about having fun and being confident.

I've also seen you on a platform called Cyber Kitties Play House, could you tell us about it?

It's a platform that requires membership. I like being part of it, because showing my sexy side gives me confidence. I'm also a DJ on the platform, where I can connect with my fans.

What are your professional plans for 2024?

I plan to release new tracks and new visuals.

What is your major professional goal?

To be able to play music all over the world and collaborate with other artists.

Finally, do you plan to collaborate with Khmer artists in the future?

Yes, I'd really love to collaborate with Khmer artists in the future, because the aim is to come together.

By Chantha R (Françoise framboise)

 

Listen to SU BLU

 

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Merci pour votre envoi !

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