“Are you living life? Or simply just living?”
Fres Thao is an advocate for the Arts; believing Art is direct energy from the soul. As one of the Hip Hop pioneers from the Hmong American community, he has been an active lyricist, producer and performer for more than 15 years.
Founding member of nationally dispersed Hip Hop group, Illegoaliens and Twin Cities based collective, Pupils of the Storm, Fres has released numerous well-received albums, mixtapes and compilations including 2001’s First Album, The Aznraps.com compilations from 1999-2005, Music to Breathe to in 2005, Blank Canvas in 2006, The Thought Bubble Mixtape in 2008, The Cloud 9 ep in 2010, and Storytelling ep in 2011. His full length album Mind Full Of was recently released in July of 2012, and will be available on vinyl this spring. He will be the first Hmong American artist to release a vinyl record album.
With formal education in Communications, Radio/TV/Film from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and Marketing and Creative Innovations from Concordia University, he has been an on-air radio personality for UW-O’s 90.3fm WRST, and co-host on Twin City’s CHAT Radio, 90.3fm/106.7fm, KFAI.
From Wisconsin to the Twin Cities, through his many years as a Hip Hop Artist, Fres has garnered respect from Hip Hop enthusiasts to Art lovers alike. He was privileged to be a cohort member of Mu Performing Art’s 2011 New Eyes program resulting in a Hip Hop theater piece based on time travel. He was also a recipient of the Minnesota State Arts Board 2011 Artists Initiative grant, accessing funds to create his “Mind Full Of” vinyl project. He is currently in the process of writing a children’s poetry book.
Fres is also the Program Director at the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent.
Through his struggles, principles and aspirations he hopes to motivate the community to continue pursuing, supporting and valuing the arts.