At the very beginning of BrandNewNoise, I listed a job posting at NYU, hoping to find a student that might want to be on a team of two. To my suprise, the first person I interviewed, and hired on the spot, was a Tisch School of the Arts, Experimental Theater Wing, student named Stephanie Hsu. 

We met at Think Coffee in the Village, and, immediately, I knew it was meant to be. Stephanie and I talked about music, art, coffee, woodworking, dance, electronics, and the downtown theater scene, but hardly even discussed BrandNewNoise. It was an experience both of us would describe as "cosmic." 

I could wax lyrical about how magical this time was; we were all growing up together, transitioning from one stage to the next. I could tell you how we came up with the idea for our Zoots kalimba, how we listened to the Dirt Projectors for hours on end, or how we made "F*#! You Frog" for Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips. Stephanie would leave BrandNewNoise, shortly thereafter, to work again with Wayne on SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical.

I sat on the balcony one night to see her slay in Be More Chill. Then, her face began showing up more and more on both the small and the big screen. There was the time I was cooking dinner, and my wife and daughter started freaking out that Stephanie was in the opening number of the Tony Awards. When we watched Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, there our girl was, speaking from our living room TV. 

Her roles started getting bigger; she played Mei in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, one of our family's favorite shows. We've watched it at least five times by now, and still we're just as excited to see Stephanie pop onscreen as the first time around. Everything Everywhere All at Once was a game changer, both for Stephanie and for multiverse movies. We watched in excitement as it won a host of Critics' Choice awards, as Michelle Yeoh won the Golden Globe for Best Actress and Ke Huy Quan for Best Supporting Actor, and as our Stephanie was nominated for a SAG award. 

So, when she texted me that Pitchfork had interviewed her and she slipped in a little mention of dear old BrandNewNoise, I couldn't help but grin from ear to ear, tears of joy in my eyes. Is there anything better than seeing someone be the best version of themselves?

Read the full Pitchfork internview here.

Stephanie, I am beyond proud of you, and BrandNewNoise is thankful you were with us at the beginning. 



Richard Upchurch