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Michelle Zauner explodes into media scene

Makenna Norman

Media is constantly evolving to consume unique and groundbreaking content, with many music artists exploring different genres of entertainment in order to establish an identity to the masses. Michelle Zauner, also known as the music artist Japanese Breakfast, has taken this media storm head-on and worked to pave her way into notability. 

As a music artist, author, grammy nominee, screenwriter and soon to be director, Zauner proves she is a multifaceted woman tenaciously growing as an artist.

Originally starting her music career in 2011 with the band Little Big League and the release of it’s two albums These are Good People and Tropical Jinx, Zauner separated from the band in 2013 after her mother’s cancer diagnosis. She then began work on a new album titled American Sound under the name Japanese Breakfast.

Zauner’s band, Japanese Breakfast, has produced three albums, multiple singles and a soundtrack for the video game Stable, which was released in 2021, according to artist biographer Matt Collar on the website AllMusic.

Zauner takes the listeners on a journey by transforming the concept of each song into lyrical strings that tie together throughout the albums. 

The album Soft Sounds from another Planet reshapes the idea of mourning and grief into a sci-fi vibe which explores the ins and outs of humanity and the concept of living, according to Zauner herself in an interview with the NPR host Bob Boilen. Zauner applies aspects of her Korean culture, such as referencing Jeju island in her song “diving woman,” and applies more electronic and experimental music to combine a sci-fi ambiance with real life stories and experiences.

Not only have Zauner’s previous albums taken risks to explore different stories with unique musical production, but her most recent album, Jubilee, released in 2021 follows a more fantastical and positive storytelling narrative, with the songs containing less sorrow and grief, which her previous albums had thrived on.

“I was able to begin this new chapter. I have written two albums about grief…I finally feel like I’ve said everything I need to say about loss and grief and my mom in this way. I felt ready to tackle a new scene,” said Zauner in an interview with social media editor Alexa Lee from VOX.

On top of her music career, Zauner dived into literary media in 2021 by releasing her memoir titled Crying in H Mart, which quickly rose to No. 2 on the New York Times Nonfiction Best Sellers List.

Following her mothers cancer diagnosis in 2013, the book is written through Zauner’s recollection of the six months leading up to her mother’s death, dealing with the struggles of being a Korean-American and how she attempted to reconnect with her mothers Korean culture through cooking.

“It was a way to compartmentalize everything that had happened in such a whirlwind of six months and to really investigate and process the emotions that were tied to that… putting them under the microscope made me realize how much impacted my character and my relationship with my mother,” said  Zauner in an interview with online news editor Ellise Shafer from Variety Magazine.

Crying in H Mart has been confirmed for a live action adaptation, with Zauner screenwriting and directing the film. 

“I think it’s a real opportunity to get to show how delightful a character my mom was and be more in her vantage than it was in the book,” said Zauner. “I’m just really excited to create a new ecosystem for representation in Hollywood.”

Michelle Zauner shows no signs of slowing down her conquest of the media industry after two grammy nominations, “best alternative album” and “best new artist,” she has proved that her artistic exploration is a fresh and creative perspective for the modern age.

“So often artists function on a level that is more and less than fully conscious. Inspiration is mysterious and magical, often exceeding our intention,” said former filmmaker Mickey Friedman with The Edge.

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About the Contributors
Andy Lynch
Andy Lynch, Opinion Section Editor
they/them Hey y'all, I'm Andy and I'm the Opinion Section Editor of The Arrow! Maybe I got the gig for my strong opinions, stunning personality, impeccable interview talents… or because no one else applied for the position. When i'm not taking an unreasonable amount of time to edit a story, you will most likely find me hiking until sunset while blasting a thrilling audiobook, rock climbing with my bestie Cash, or tucked away in Barnes and Noble reading just about any type of book I can get my hands on. In class, I love to spend my time avoiding work with my pal Junior, as we often spend the period looking up weird cowboy slang, creating dances, or making niche movie references. This staff is like a family to me, excluding the weird supervisor who I'm DEFINITELY not related to…Love ya Mom- I mean Mrs.Lynch. Oh and Junior? Don't call me, don't come by my house, we're done.
Makenna Norman
Makenna Norman, Co-Editor-In Chief
she/her Hey besties! I’m Makenna and I’m Co–Editor–in–Chief of The Arrow. I’ve been on the staff for three years, and have previously been Web–Editor–in–Chief, Feature Section Editor, and Featured Columnist. I joined journalism because I love writing and I am informed and interested in current events and issues. I love being able to write about important topics and share my passions in the newspaper and on our website. Outside of journalism, I play the violin and am in WHS’s Chamber Orchestra, and my hobbies include creative writing and crocheting. My favorite songs from Midnights are “Maroon” and “You’re On Your Own, Kid.” 
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Michelle Zauner explodes into media scene