Photo: Levi Walton
The fabric of our identity spools from so many sources, weaving our genetics, family, cultures, and traditions into a tapestry that is then dyed, colored, and embossed with our individual quirks, beliefs, and personas. Accepting the raw beauty of all ingredients, humanity is truly a beautiful potion of both past and present. That can be especially true for the third culture generation, who pull threads from multiple cultures and grow up as a study of contrast to both who there are and where they are.
HIEN is such an artist, a Vietnamese-Hungarian talent who, after navigating a young career in Europe starting at age 15, came to America to study at Berklee on a full scholarship. Here in America, the trifecta of influences allowed for HIEN to process her identity, to begin "a journey to find beauty in that," to make sense of what had been a "confusing world." This coalesced into a more confident artist, better able to express herself, honing her craft, writing, and production as a "bridge to many worlds." Now, on the verge of releasing her eponymous EP, HIEN reaffirms her multidisciplinary talent and scope with the effusively gorgeous lead single, "Bloom."
In "Bloom," HIEN beautifully celebrates several of the threads of her lineage: the majestic landscape of Vietnam, the poetic beauty of its people, and an emphasis on the magic of "young girls in their natural element." The raw wonderment of the visuals has a deliberately cinematic effect, a credit to both HIEN and her collaborator, director Khanh Nguyen, who unobtrusively brings us to the smiling faces of young Mnong villagers dancing, playing, and coexisting peacefully hand in hand.
HIEN chose the village because it’s one of the oldest matriarchal tribes in existence, and it is a portrait of a world where a young woman’s dreams are the least uninhibited. As she states "The Mnong are one of the 54 ethnic groups native to Vietnam. They are also one of the few matriarchal tribes, in which the youngest daughter inherits their family wealth, children take their mother's surname, and women propose to men. The girls in 'Bloom' are precious to me - their magic lies in their infectious joy and pure hearts."
Truly ineffable in its scenery, the humanity pours off the screen, a perfectly poignant accompaniment to an artist set to challenge culture, to create more of it, and to speak loudly not to the confines of what we are constructed of but what we could bloom into.
Watch the "Bloom" video below: