We had the good fortune of connecting with Sino Chino and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sino, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
This question really speaks to me because it’s one that I’ve grappled with intimately this past year. I’ve been pursuing a music career (songwriting) since college, but with the combination of 2020, growing older, and dealing with negativity and rejection, I found myself asking myself this same question. Like many things in life, I think it depends on the person and differs situation to situation. For me, I first had to figure out what is my intention. Is my goal a publishing deal, to have my songs on the radio, or to win a Grammy? Will I only be satisfied if I’m making eight figures? What do I want and is it worth all the sacrifice, pressure, and anguish I’m putting myself through? Then I thought about what my life would be like if I did walk away from music- and this is where I found my answer. I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t creating. Music is so deeply imbedded in my soul that I can’t quit it. It would be like if I said, “I quit being Asian”. It’s just not possible. It’s a part of me. Nothing lights me up like writing a song- creating a melody and turning silence into music. All the other things I can live without. I’ve arrived at a place where I would be okay (although not ideal) if I never received any outside recognition or made a cent off my music- so long as I stay true to that person who just loves to make music. I don’t want to get so caught up in the pursuit that I forget the passion. I realized I was unhappy and questioning myself because I was longing for external recognition and rewards- something that’s now only an afterthought. So in a way, I did “give up” certain dreams but only so I could keep going and keep the original intent alive. 

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Although music is an auditory experience, I feel like it’s incomplete if it doesn’t have any visuals paired with it. I’ve always been drawn to musicians who put a lot of effort into their visuals and live performances (Madonna, Michael Jackson, Gaga). For me, it completes the storytelling process. I put as much time and effort into creating the imagery as much as I do the music. Speaking of imagery, I am very passionate about pushing for more Asian (American) representation in entertainment and creative roles. One of the biggest reasons why it took me so long to even allow myself to pursue music was because I didn’t even think it was a possible route for me. Growing up, I couldn’t name one musician, let alone a creative professional, who looked like me or resonated with me. I never realized, as a kid, how much I needed that representation. And even though now there are a lot more Asians finding mainstream success in music and entertainment, I’m still not connecting with anyone the way I want to. I take that as a sign that I am my the only one who can tell my story. That’s my life’s purpose (I know, I’m very dramatic). And if I’m lucky enough, it will resonate with someone else.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Little Tokyo is one of my favorite neighborhoods in the city. I practice zazen at Zenshuji so would probably kick off the day there with some meditation. Then there are a plethora of amazing restaurants, eateries, and shops around (Marugame Monzo, Suehiro, Pasta e Pasta, Tea Master Matcha Cafe & Green Tea Shop just to name a few). The neighboring Arts District is also a great spot for a night out. You can check out some cool artwork by local artists at Art Share L.A. (I’ve had my work displayed there once upon a time) and then have a drink (and play games) at Arts District Brewing Company or EightyTwo. When I use to live in Mid-City, I would always take visitors to LACMA and then The Grove/Farmer’s Market. It’s pretty basic, but hiking up to the Observatory is always nice. For some beach time, I would take them to Playa del Rey cause it’s less crowded and easier (and free) parking. A picnic at Echo Park. Most of my favorite restaurants are just outside of LA in San Gabriel Valley or the 626. It has some of the best Asian food outside of Asia (Chinese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Indonesian). Some of my favorites include Lu’s Garden, Savoy’s, Boston Lobster, Golden Deli, Salju, and Bon Appetea just to name a few.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My cousin, Danica Wong (I wouldn’t even be included in this article if it wasn’t for her Shoutout). Danica is also an amazing artist and we both shared this passion for art since we were very young. She’s always been extremely supportive and encouraging of me ever since we were kids. As a creative, it’s always comforting to know you’ll always have someone who will support you no matter what. My friends- I would name them, but I’m afraid of leaving someone out (but they know who they are). They showed up to my performances (and sometimes were the only ones), they’ve shared my music, they supported my art, they listened to me, etc. All of it has meant the world to me and I am endlessly grateful. And as a diehard Little Monster, Lady Gaga. As a teenager, she inspired me to be brave and helped me to believe in myself.

Instagram: @sinochino
Twitter: @sino_chino
Other: Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/39NRCOBjG27sXaliWvNaDr?si=3k_I1WAWTj2S7I7zPSUoew

Image Credits
Jordan Wong

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.