Joe Kye’s new song “Stick on Me” is a call to action. Built on a lovely and nimble melody over plucked violin, a la Andrew Bird, its day-dreamy beginning yields to an affirmative and insistent chorus, “Stick on me / and go lick your wounds / and we’ll grow together.” As the chorus comes around a second and third time, added loops of violin, bass, and voices pile on top of each other with increasing urgency until Kye is a chorus and chamber group by himself. Joe Kye was born in Korea and raised in Seattle. He’s based in Portland now. “Stick on Me,” is from his upcoming album “Migrants.” It’s about the experience of being an immigrant and viewed as the “other.”
” ‘Stick On Me’ is about the divisions in our society today. How do we engage people who do not share our views? How do we put aside our defensive instincts and act compassionately from a place of equanimity? How do we move forward as a country? It’s easy to dehumanize the other, especially through a screen; we need to engage in tough, compromising conversations face-to-face rather than pontificate to like-minded cheerleaders online.
As an immigrant American and person of color, I deal with comments that highlight my otherness on a daily basis—even in Portland, a place that prides itself on its progressivism. In “Stick On Me,” I’m encouraging listeners to be generous to themselves—recognize your wounds, focus on healing, then tell your story. I believe it’s the communal sharing of our vulnerabilities that will lead to progress for our divided society.
stick on me / and go lick your wounds / and we’ll grow together”
Joe Kye’s release “Migrants” will be out January 8th. He performs at PSU’s Smith Ballroom January 28th.