“Music is the one place where I can simply be me. When I’m singing my lyrics, I don’t have to be feminine enough, strong enough, American enough, or Asian enough—I can just be a soul that yearns to feel free.” Music has and will always be a sanctuary for MILCK.
MILCK’s life took a 180 degree turn after a cell phone video of her performing her song “Quiet” with a choir of 25 strangers at the 2017 Women’s March went viral. Soon it was being echoed and interpreted by groups around the world, from the US to Sweden to Ghana. “Quiet” was named Billboard’s #1 protest song of the year and earned distinction as part of NPR’s “American Anthem” series. And in 2018, it brought MILCK to the March’s main stage in New York City, where she performed alongside the legendary Yoko Ono.
Having “cemented her status as one of music’s voices for the women’s movement,” MILCK continues to use music as a means to work towards social justice.
Written amidst protests for Black Lives Matter, MILCK’s new song “Somebody’s Beloved” (Ft. Bipolar Sunshine) honors those we have lost too soon to causes fueled by systemic racism. In partnership with writer/director, Tom Shadyac and his Tennessee-based non-profit, One Family Memphis Foundation, MILCK has created a deeply moving narrative video that premiered alongside the song on October 15, 2020.
“As an Asian American woman who is a perpetrator and victim of systemic racism, it’s imperative and a privilege to be an active part of the United States’ healing towards racial justice. As I researched Tamika Palmer and listened to her talk about the memory of her daughter Breonna Taylor, verses for 'Somebody’s Beloved' started coming through me. Once the verses were finished, I knew the song was bigger than me. I reached out to my previous collaborator Bipolar Sunshine to see if he connected with the verses and wanted to collaborate with me to bring his perspective as a Black man."
“Because this song is so intensely vulnerable, I wanted to produce it myself. I kept the piano and strings to a minimum and focused on the power of vocals. To highlight other heritages as a symbolic way of showing support to Black lives lost, I brought in a choir of beautifully diverse voices that range from indigenous to Latinx, from white to South Asian and Black heritages. The result is a dynamic and haunting song.”
“Somebody’s Beloved” follows MILCK’s Into Gold EP which arrived earlier this year, and follows her journey as a woman leaving a safe relationship in search of her authentic place in the world. Working with GRAMMY Award-winning producer Malay, the EP is a lesson in honoring her voice, even if it meant leaving the familiar behind.
The lead-off track, “If I Ruled The World,” also involving Bipolar Sunshine, imagines a society with more empathy, more justice, and more joy. TIME named “If I Ruled The World” one of the best songs of the week. MILCK went on to perform “If I Ruled The World” on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and during her NPR Tiny Desk (Home) Concert.