What you need to know
Mei, a vivacious vocalist and trumpeter of punk ska-rock outfit Go Go Rise, passed away in May. In her final days her band received a coveted grant from Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture, and Mei was posthumously recognized at the Golden Melody Awards this year. The band will hold a farewell concert on Saturday, November 27, 2021.
Brash, bold, bodacious — tempered with a rare, genuine warmth and irresistible enthusiasm, the punk musician Mei was known for infusing her music with a brassy brilliance that lingered with her listeners. Mei’s persona, like her music, will live on in this space after her sudden hospitalization last May that resulted in her death at the age of 38.
Look to the sky without a word
We can grow up bravely, no need for fear
Look to the sky and release your hands
Grab hold of your dreams and head towards the rainbow
- From “Look to the sky without words” 看著天空不說話, Go Go Rise
Mei, who was a skilled lyricist, filled her verses with encouraging messages, beckoning her audience to pursue their dreams and live life out loud, which she embodied to a T.
She founded the band Go Go Rise, which rose to prominence in Taiwan’s indie circles with almost meteoric speed. In 2019 they toured Japan extensively and showed their mettle alongside heavy hitters like Emerging From The Cocoon and Roadside Inn. They were featured by in a campaign, which highlighted their unique sound, combining brass instruments with punk rock for a ska-inspired grooves that breathed fresh life into the local music scene.
As a person, Mei was a brilliant presence wherever she went.
Despite the challenges of providing for herself and family within a rigid societal system that undervalues creativity and the contributions of women in the workforce, friends and family remember her sunny disposition and optimistic nature well. “We hope to commemorate the warmth she conveyed to the many people she has touched,” the band noted in a private interview. “She was the heart and soul of the group.”
In addition to being the frontwoman and driving force behind Go Go Rise, Mei was a woman of many talents, playing with other bands at various venues around Taipei and working odd jobs to support her creative pursuits. She also co-owned a juice brand “Baby Juice,” which made the rounds at music festivals and celebrations of all kinds nationwide.
She is remembered fondly as a radiant and uplifting spirit to those around her. David Frazier, Urban Nomad founder and program director noted, “If there was one person that I always looked forward to seeing at every single festival [...] it was Mei. She was all huge smiles, fully infectious to everyone around her.”
“[We] will miss her. But this is how I’ll always remember her, with a huge smile on her face and making everyone happy around her.”
The entertainment news site Star News that the singer was hospitalized on May 2 and passed away on May 15, after successfully completing an organ donation. The band’s social media pages at the time were filled with well wishes from fans and fellow musicians, including the bassist from the Taiwanese band .
To give their fans a farewell, Go Go Rise will bring together a variety of female vocalists in the punk and indie music scene including the singer , Go Go Rise producer Elisa, singer-songwriter Airy, and Popcorn Band frontwomen and current full time mother .
All four have addressed Mei’s legacy on social media posts announcing the concert.
“I believe Mei had left behind what she wanted to say in Go Go Rise’s songs. The love and warmth in her music is her gift to us, lifting our souls from sadness to courage.” -Chagi
“I’m honored to be the producer of Go Go Rise, and for the opportunity to get to know Mei’s work and every band member. Making music with Go Go Rise is a part of my life that I’ll never forget.” -Elisa
“We went through the beginning together. We changed and grew together. And we have climbed out of the trenches together. It was an honor to have met you in this life, and we will reunite in music.” -Airy
“Thank you for your support and hard work to share this music with everyone. I’ll listen to Go Go Rise until I am 80 years old!” -Anny
TNL Editor: Bryan Chou, Nicholas Haggerty (@thenewslensintl)
If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more story updates in your news feed, please be sure to follow our Facebook.