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Dive into the sweet luscious vocals of Taiwanese artist 9m88 in her new 11-track sophomore album 9m88 Radio.

With lush, emotive vocals and introspective lyrics, artist 9m88 is bringing a new meaning to genre defying. Working alongside producer starRo and rapper Oddisee for the release of her single Friend Zone, 9m88 brings a deft touch to the song, mastering the art of showcasing one’s passion and talent.

1883 Magazine chats with 9mm8 about her new album, working with starRo and rapper Oddisee, and more.

You released your sophomore album, ‘9m88 Radio’. The album has 11 tracks. What are some of the themes or concepts that tie the tracks together?

The songs are big and small fragments of life. Some heartbreaking moments were emphasized in songs like “Tell Me” and “Dark night/ Sunlight”. I also enjoy depicting intricate feelings between big emotions, like “Love Is So Cruel” (the annoying phase of a just-broke-up situation)and “Friend Zone”(the excitement of flirting) . The album also represents my transitional mentality from carefree 20s to early 30s adulthood.


What are some of the songs you love from the record and what is it about them that makes them your favourite?

The album has many elements and genres. I love “Sleepwalking” because the arrangement is so fresh and dreamy, which echoes with the title itself. I also like the way “Dark night/ Sunlight” shows my delicate side of storytelling; “Star” is a song that speaks my truth and aspirations.


‘Dark Night/Sunlight’ in particular is a standout track. Can you tell us a bit about it?

I went through a break-up last year. This song is a therapeutic session for me. Mentally, I felt I was somehow trapped in the polar night and couldn’t see the sunlight anymore. By accompanying myself to undergo the low ebb, I believe recovery will be at the other side of the tunnel waiting for me. This song carries this vision.


You just released ‘Friend Zone’ ft. Oddisee. Can you tell us a bit about the track and the inspiration behind it?

‘Friend Zone’ is a song that documents the excitement of flirting and confessing affection to a crush. It’s the moment full of possibilities and not caring too much about the result. We have extraordinary bravery before really being committed to someone, which is so interesting to me.


You worked with producer starRo and rapper Oddisee on the release. What was the collaboration between the 3 of you like?

Working together in distance means discipline and commitment. It took us a while to communicate back and forth, but both starRo and Oddisee are so easy to talk to! I simply told them the concept of the song with some key words like ‘summertime party’ and ‘a bit tipsy’, and let them improvise with it. I love how the song came out effortlessly.


Your work touches a variety of genres, from jazz-influences to R&B, neo-soul, hip-hop and pop. Why is it important to you to not stick to just one genre or type of music? 

The interplay between genres will make music not only stay in a box.  Plus, most of those genres came from the same root.


What did you learn about yourself while writing and recording ‘9m88 Radio’?

I learned to appreciate my own voice more and more. I had many doubts about it before, but this time I tried to fully embrace different aspects of vocal texture and I wrote with honesty. I didn’t try to pump up anything that didn’t feel genuine to me.


This album was created as a way to reconnect after the pandemic. What was it like connecting with your fellow artists and creatives again? What can people expect from your upcoming European tour?

It’s an amazing feeling that we, as musicians, all share common interests and passion even though pandemic sucks. I hope to share ‘9m88 Radio’ to the audience along with some old songs with a decent 3-piece band setting.


What 3 songs would you choose to soundtrack your perfect day?

-Moonlight in Vermont by Dorothy Ashby


-Cherries by Hope Tala


-BMO by Ari Lennox


Lastly, if you could manifest something for yourself this year, what would it be?

Try not to overanalyze everything, especially my own works!


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