LA-based Cambodian singer-songwriter Satica revisited her hometown — Long Beach — for her latest music video, “Ode to LBC.”
Off of the seven-track album “Dear April, ily,” Satica said the song is about her hometown and Cambodian heritage. The video highlights various locations around Cambodia Town, where she grew up.
One of the video highlights includes scenes at Poly High School, where Satica went attended. Satica said the school is special because of its diversity.
“The thing to me about that school that makes it so special, obviously, Long Beach is super diverse, but like Poly isn’t in a nice neighborhood, it’s in the ’hood,” she said.
Although the school may not be located in one of the more desirable areas of Long Beach, its academic and sports program are well-known.
“We get people from all sorts of socio-economic backgrounds, coming through because of the magnet program, sports program, jazz band, everything is so good there,” she said.
Being a person of color, Satica said she appreciated the diversity of students at Poly.
“Growing up, it was always a mix of people from all different backgrounds and races. And I thought that was really special because I would forget there was places that don’t have that,” she said.
Another highlight includes shots of Satica performing the apsara dance at Khmer Arts Academy.
According to the organization, apsara is a classical Khmer dance, similar to western ballet. The dance is technically complex but aesthetically beautiful, refined, and often follows a storyline. Often, stories include myths about gods, kings, demons, and mythological beings.
Satica said she wanted to incorporate the apsara as part of her music since it was already part of her logo.
“I’ve always wanted to do something that incorporated the Apsara because I’ve always used that as like an outline for my logo and the Cambodia I wanted to represent,” she said.
After being contacted by Mea Lath, director at Khmer Arts Academy, about a possible collaboration, Satica said she was immediately interested.
She said Lath reached out expressing concern about the younger generation losing interest in traditional Khmer arts such as the apsara.
“I was kind of already planning out this video, and I was like, this is perfect,” Satica said.
The R&B singer-songwriter said her music is shaped by her upbringing as the daughter of Cambodian refugees who fled the Khmer Rouge. From a young age, she used writing as an outlet to express her feelings.
“So, I’m the youngest of 6 and I needed a code way to express my real feelings. Otherwise, I’d just get like punked on my brothers or something would read it and make fun of me,” she said.
Satica said she often uses metaphors in her writing so no one would understand it.
“I started writing and putting out written stuff since I was 13, and doing YouTube videos putting out my own originals at 16,” she said.
Satica said although she went to school for her parents, music was always her passion. By age 20, she was signed to a label and started working on her music full-time.
“I got my first publishing deal last year,” she said.
For young singers and songwriters pursuing music today, Satica said she would advise them to work hard if they want to be successful.
“Hone your work, meet as many people as you can, be open to criticism, and keep hustling," she said. "Honestly, the more rooms and the more places that you’re in, the higher the chances are, and keep being diligent about your work and read a lot, and be hyper aware so you can get inspiration.”