We had the good fortune of connecting with Corey Bao Nguyen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Corey Bao, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
The work/life balance is something that I have always battled with, especially starting out. We glorify the ‘grind’ and ‘hustle’ so much, we sometimes forget to simply take a moment to appreciate how far we have come and what we have accomplished. I didn’t notice how unbalanced I was until I started to feel burnt out. I pressured myself to constantly be producing something. Whether it was artwork, music, to starting my brand, I just kept pushing. With that, I found that my heart wasn’t in my work as much as I wanted it to. For my mental health, I simply took many steps back and dialed down. In doing so, I found that I was actually happiest not constantly creating. I made more time for my family and friends. I made time to take better care of my physical health. Instead of waking up and immediately responding to emails and messages, I am now taking my mornings to enjoy the moment. I would never make myself breakfast because I’d wake up already thinking of the next thing I can do. Now, making breakfast is something I look forward to most in starting my day. With all of this being said, taking time to regain my balance has allowed me to put my heart into my work again. I have found more joy in writing music. With finding this proper work/life balance that works for me, I have come to find more peace in my life.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started out in portrait photography and eventually found my way into making music. I found what I love the most about photography is that I genuinely enjoy the connection with whoever I am shooting with. I have always loved people, and so getting to be a part of their lives and learn their stories teaches me so much. With that, I get to truly capture them for who they are, and that allows the final photo to speak for itself. I am most proud of teaching myself how to shoot along with how to produce music. It was not an easy ride getting where I am today. The best part is, I’m still not where I want to be! In terms of where I am now, it took a lot, and I mean a lot of believing. Believing in my work and believing in myself. Right out of college, I had to go straight into working a desk job to make a living. I’m not knocking the 9-5, but that was one of the roughest times of my life mentally. It was then that I had decided to take a chance on myself and go for it. The thing I learned most along this journey so far is patience. It’s hard when you see people on the internet living your dream, but you have to be happy for them and understand that your timing is different. What I want the world to know once it’s all said and done, is that it was all out of love. I have never created to be in competition with anyone but myself. The music and the photos I leave behind was created all out of love and in hopes to inspire someone else who was in the same shoes as me.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Easy! I grew up a little in Honolulu, Hawaii so that is where we are headed. Once we land, we head to Palolo Valley to visit my grandparents, grab some snacks from the local Manapua (food truck), and head to Ala Moana Beach. Once we build up an appetite, we head to the greatest restaurant of all time, Gina’s BBQ. The hot fried chicken plate lunch combo there is something I dream of each day, no joke. For the rest of the week, its just driving all through the island! Visit the beaches, buy fruit from roadside fruit stands, go hiking, eat the best food, and drink every single Hawaiian Sun flavor we can find.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This is what it’s all about! First off, I would not be where I am without the support and love from my Mom. She supported me and pushed me to pursue my happiness, but most importantly, she always reminded me to slow down, find my peace, and enjoy my moment. My friends are everything to me. They have supported me from day one and they know exactly who they are and what they mean to me. Last but absolutely not least, everyone who has supported me on social media. The love they have given me through these years allowed me to live my best life. I wish I could hug all of them.