A Story of Resilience,
Nook’s journey is a tapestry woven with threads of survival, family bonds, and the unwavering pursuit of music. It unfolds against the backdrop of a daring escape from Vietnam.
Born into a family driven by the hope of a better life
Nook’s parents made the bold decision to flee the constraints of a communist regime when he was two months old. Nook’s father was an educated military man with knowledge of boats and motors. Nook’s mother insisted they bring their infant son. Given the harrowing journey, this was not typical, infants were usually left behind with other family members in the hopes of retrieving them later.
Their journey was a tumultuous one. Their small boat, ill-equipped for the open sea, faced engine failures, hunger, and the vast expanse of the ocean.
By sheer stroke of luck, a Thai fishing boat discovered them, dispelling their fears and offering unexpected kindness. The fishermen conveyed the belief that a happy baby boy on the ocean was a good omen. The fishermen fed them and called the coast guard, marking the beginning of a new chapter, allowing the family to continue their journey towards a brighter future.
The risks taken by refugees fleeing Vietnam were vast. Nook and his immediate family were extremely fortunate. Attempts by several aunts and uncles to escape Vietnam resulted in imprisonment for almost all of them.
Nook and his family spent the next two years in refugee campswhich sheltered immigrants who were fleeing Vietnam. They spent their first year as refugees in Thailand, where Nook’s little brother was born. And they spent the next year in the Philippines. Sponsorship eventually granted them access to America, bringing them closer to the promise of new beginnings.
Nook’s upbringing was deeply immersed in music. His father, a folk guitarist, and his mother, a singer, brought melodies to life at community gatherings and house parties. All four of his siblings learned to sing and play instruments. Despite the financial hardships of immigrant life, which meant living in government housing, they were a happy family.
Within this musically inclined family, Nook and his siblings were steered away from pursuing music professionally.
Poverty dictated a focus on education, with arts taking a backseat. However, Nook quietly pursued his passion through college, taking on dual majors in music and information systems.
Life’s path led Nook to Florida, where he discovered a vibrant music community. What began as casual performances at gatherings where friends would invite Nook up to rap, evolved into the birth of Nookis. He began hosting Florida music festivals taking on the role of MC. As his network and experience grew, he created his hip hop band, Golden Era.