Leaving the Lights on: Day in the Life Victor Woo
- Artist: Kevin So
- Format: CD
- Release Date:3/10/2008
A 32 track double CD. My Asian American 'Songs In The Key Of Life' - my 'Kwan-drophenia.' Influences: Stevie Wonder, Springsteen, Tupac, Michael Jackson, Tom Waits, Marvin Gaye - with a little bit of Richard Pryor thrown in. Confronting identity, sexuality, history, family, and racism. It took me over 2 years to complete this. A day in the life of Victor Woo - my alter ego I suppose. 'I guess to know where you're going, you must remember where you're coming from.' A artistic response to my Dad's sudden passing in 2000. 'This is an EPIC MASTERPIECE.' -iTUNES about KEVIN SO ... 'Kevin So is beginning to do for young Asian-Americans what Woody Guthrie did for Dust Bowl refugees and Bob Dylan for the '60s generation. Carving his songs from sweet r&b, hot rock, hip-hop, and folk-pop, he presents his life and times in brash strokes of insight, all underscored by a deeply felt pride in being both Asian and American.' That's what Scott Alarik of the Boston Globe says about Kevin So, one of the most exciting and powerful singer/songwriters to emerge from the Boston music scene. In a decade of performing his original music around the country, Kevin So has earned the respect of his fellow musicians (Keb' Mo' and Amos Lee, for starters), won over members of the press and radio (the Boston Globe, WFUV, many more) and built up a substantial fan base coast to coast. With the sky still the limit, he has spent more than 15 years giving free rein to his musical imagination. Born and raised in Boston, So channeled his early passion for singing and playing piano and guitar into the start of a career in music with his appearance, in 1990, on a nationally broadcast Fox show hosted by Natalie Cole called "Big Break." In 1994, So toured the country as a member of a pop/r&b cover band that later had some of it's musicians moving on to Britney Spears' band. When not playing keyboards with the group, he spent a considerable amount of time listening to the recorded music of Bob Dylan early in his career and to the Delta blues of Robert Johnson. By 1995, So had quit the cover band and was a regular on the open-mic folk scene in Boston. His strong musicianship and natural showmanship as a solo singer-songwriter caught the attention of Boston Globe pop critic Steve Morse - who wrote that Kevin was "unusually talented." The next year, Kevin took to the interstates for his first road work. At the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas, an Austin Chronicle's music writer took notice, writing that So was "the big discovery." The release of Kevin's first full length CD, Pendulum, in the same year signaled the arrival of a top-flight storyteller who kept his every blues, folk or pop stylistic flourish in the service of his melodically rich music. The release of So's Individual album, in 1997, was accompanied by a sold-out performance at Club Passim. So emphasized the plaintive clarity and maturity of his tenor voice and the cool compassion of his guitar playing on Blackout Road, a limited edition EP released earlier in '97 that saw him making a convincing turn toward electric folk blues. So moved to Chicago in late 1999. He booked his own gigs, performing shows in the Midwest and elsewhere. Busking on the street at SXSW time in Austin, Texas, Kevin was "discovered" by the big-league talent Agency Group. Subsequently, he opened for venerable pop-soul belter Joe Cocker, then toured as the opening act for visiting English agit-rocker Billy Bragg. On the down side in the new millennium, Kevin's ever-supportive father passed away suddenly due to a heart attack. In 2001, So moved back to Boston, encouraged by the renewed affirmation of his standing as one of the most popular performers in New England with two SRO nights headlining Club Passim. Musically, he was shifting from folk in a pop/r&b direction. The day after September 11, 2001, Kevin hooked up with popular bluesman Keb' Mo' in Los Angeles to collaborate with Mo' in writing the wonderful song, "Talk," which Keb' would eventually record. So continued touring in 2002, becoming a favorite performer/speaker for dozens of Asian American student organizations around the US. The double-disc Leaving the Lights On, stylistically based in contemporary r&b, appeared to an avalanche of praise in 2003. In August, Kevin relocated to Brooklyn and got busy on the vibrant NYC music scene there. His next CD, The So Must Go On: Live in Concert, appeared in 2005. Always making new friends, So continues to tour the country at a vigorous clip. In August 2007, Kevin was the proud recipient of the 'Overall Excellence Award' (Outstanding Music & Lyrics) for his work in 'VICTOR WOO: THE AVERAGE ASIAN AMERICAN,' a musical production loosely based on his life and times, which debuted at the 2007 New York International Fringe Festival to packed houses. The release of So's new album, A Brighter Day, quite possibly his most compelling work to date, is supported by concert dates in 2008.