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Honored by Governor David A. Paterson and the State of New York for his “legacy of leadership to the Asian American community and the Empire State” in 2010, Taiyo Na is a musician, writer, performer and educator. He was seen as "Min" in Dennis Kim's play Tree City Legends, which was directed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, enjoyed a 3-week sold out run at San Francisco's Intersection for the Arts in Spring 2012, and showcased at the National Performance Network in Philadelphia in December 2012.

Taiyo's debut album Love Is Growth (Issilah Productions, 2008) established himself as “a multidimensional talent with a unique creative voice that fuses the rhythms of the city that raised him with the soul of the Asian immigrant culture that birthed him” (OkayPlayer.com). The album features the song “Lovely To Me (Immigrant Mother)” with jazz violinist Jason Kao Hwang. Heralded by MTV Iggy as “the realest thing seen in a while,” the music video and short film to the song was directed by Gary San Angel in 2009 and screened at film festivals around the world.

Taiyo’s second full-length record Home:Word (Home:Word Sound, 2010) was a collaboration album with California-bred hip-hop group Magnetic North and includes the singles and music videos “Summertime,” “I Got My," “New Love," and “Home:Word," which was directed by Wong Fu Productions. In March 2011 the title track was released in Japan as part of the compilation In Ya Mellow Tone 6 (Goon Trax), and the song hit #2 on Japan's iTunes Hip-Hop charts. Home:Word was re-released as a deluxe album--remastered and repackaged with 6 additional songs including “Fukushima”--in November 2011, correlating with the release of the Japan edition of Home:Word which hit #3 on Japan's iTunes Hip-Hop album charts.

Other recent music releases include “Just Like You” with Magnetic North and Acro Jazz Laboratories on Acro Jazz One (Goon Trax, 2012), “Tree City Heights” with Wonway Posibul, Denizen Kane, Rachel Lastimosa and Ayentee (Secluded Journalists, 2012), and "All On The Table" with Magnetic North on the #1 Japan iTunes Hip-Hop chart-topping On the Rainbow album by Robert de Boron (Goon Trax, 2013).

Magnetic North and Taiyo have also collaborated to produce the Holla Concert Series, an inaugural concert series that has raised over $40,000 in charity since its founding in 2009. The concerts' proceeds were donated to Aid for Children Without Parents (ACWP), an organization devoted to the fight against human trafficking in Southeast Asia through creating schools and orphanages. Magnetic North and Taiyo recently produced and released Home for the Holla’Days Compilation Album Volume 1 (Home:Word Sound, 2012) which featured various artists from the Holla Concert Series with all album proceeds donated to ACWP.

Born and raised throughout New York City, Taiyo first started writing rhymes at age 13 with the encouragement of high school and neighborhood friends. This passion for language, heart and rhythm led to an early journey into spoken word poetry, performing nationally with the New York-based feedback poets’ collective (2000-2003) which featured Def Poetry Jam on Broadway’s Beau Sia and Former Queens Poet Laureate Ishle Yi Park. By the time he was 18 years old, he had shared stages with Maya Angelou and Janice Mirikitani, and at age 19 was selected as one of the “25 Best Emerging Artists Under the Age of 25” by New World Theater’s Intersection Conference in 2002.

Notable accomplishments also include a guest performance for Helen Zia’s Asian American Renaissance Conference (2005), two featured concerts at Lincoln Center (2007 & 2008), two appearances on Kevin So’s album A Brighter Day (2007), an opening performance for 9-time Grammy Award-winning Eddie Palmieri at the Beyond Race Conference (2007), an appearance on Cynthia Lin's album Microscope (2010), a promotional song for Paul Griffin's novel Stay With Me (2011), featured sets at the Powell Street Festival in Vancouver, CA (2012), a collaborative performance with Noel Paul Stookey for Music2Life at Ogilvy NY (2012), an improvisational performance curated with avant-garde artist Min-Xiao Fen at the Museum of Chinese in America (2012), and a First Saturdays performance at the Brooklyn Museum commemorating the Ai Weiwei: According to What? exhibit (2014). Taiyo was also Artistic Director of the Sulu Series as well as Entertainment host for Asian America (WNYE), a weekly Public Television show syndicated by PBS.

Photo by Brian Cleaver

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