“HeeSun Lee is a spoken word and hip-hop artist, a mother, and a wife who is trying to change the game up and break stereotypes.”
HeeSun Lee started listening to hip-hop during middle school. “I just loved the music. The whole concept of rhyming was very appealing to me.” At age eleven, she started memorizing and reciting lyrics, even recording them on a karaoke machine.
In her teen years, she started writing her own lyrics as an outlet to express her thoughts and personal experiences. “I just kept on rapping. I kept on writing. I started meeting people and going out there doing shows… it just kept getting bigger and bigger until I am here today.”
On March 8th, Lee released an EP called Flying Cars.
“It’s all about the future: this is who we are now, and this is where we have to aim to be.”
She wants to encourage listeners to try to continuously grow and seek to improve in all areas of their life.
At the start of the production process, she knew she wanted her project to be about the future but wasn’t sure what to call it. She and her team were “just throwing names out there, and someone said Flying Cars.” It was an unusual title, but when they decided on it, Lee noted that “it makes people think. Its a comparison to the future.”
She started writing for Flying Cars in late 2017. At first, it was a slow process, but it kept moving faster as time passed. “I just kept getting motivated. More things that I was seeing made me want to write.”
Lee wanted the album art to express the future not only through an image of a flying car and a cityscape but also through the image of a girl.
“She’s running towards the car. She is [representing] the future and she is what represents hope and the possibility for better days. She wants to get on the car [to] take off and go into the future.”
The girl seeks to illustrate Lee’s message of striving to continually move forward towards the future.
The album’s introductory song, “Future,” addresses how many women in pop-culture that girls look up to are not good role models. “They feel like this is the norm. This is what we’re supposed to be. I’m negating that and rebelling against that.” In the song, she wants to encourage girls that the better way to live is to follow Jesus.
“I want to take what I do and inspire people to live for greater.”
Flying Cars continues with “The Best is Yet to Come,” which was inspired by criticism that female rappers are not as good as their male counterparts. Lee believes that well-known female rappers like Nicki Minaj are on-par if not better than top male rappers, but notes that Minaj and many prominent female rappers do not promote virtuous living.
Lee considers this song to be in-line with the futuristic message not because she is trying to tell listeners who she is and where she came from, but because she seeks to express how much potential she has to make a difference in the future.
Efforts to select an album title also lead to the selection of a song title. “Somebody joked and said, Yo, you should name your album Delorean.'” Lee didn’t think that was a good idea, but then thought “I could put a track called Delorean on there because it goes with the theme of Flying Cars.”
In the well known Back to the Future movie trilogy which was released between 1985 and 1990, a DeLorean car was used as a time machine, bringing the characters into the past as well as the future, to the year 2015, in which everyone had flying cars.
The first verse of “Delorean” shows Lee responding to critics saying that she needs to change her music to be successful. “This is who I am, and this is what I’m gonna do, and you’re gonna see.” In the second verse, she addresses how people do not take their seriously the weight of their eternal future and how their decisions impact it.
“Do you ever think of what’s going to happen to you [when you die]? Do you get worried?” She warns listeners of the unpleasant reality of Hell.
“You need to get your life right because you don’t know how long you have.”
“Lap” was the first song written for Flying Cars and was inspired by Lee’s history as an adoptee. She was born in South Korea and adopted by an American couple as a baby. The song includes three verses, each from different perspectives. The first is her own; the second is from the birth mother and the third from the adoptive mother.
“When you first give birth and have your child, the most secure place that a baby feels is on their mother’s lap. When a birth mother gives up their child, they don’t have the baby in their lap anymore, and they feel emptiness.”
Lee wanted people to “really understand the dynamics and the challenges involved with adoption.” She hopes the song will impact mothers and speak to women who are unable to have their own children.
A key topic HeeSun Lee has addressed in previous projects has been the stereotypes she has faced. “I feel like my career could go so much farther if I didn’t have these stereotypes on me. At the end of the day, I am Asian, and I am female, and I am a mother.” At the same time, she is not ashamed of who she is and receives praise for being able to break stereotypes of what a hip-hop artist should be like.
Flying Cars concludes with the title track, a poem Lee wrote to her two daughters. “I’m just hoping that their future is great and beautiful and all the things that they want it to be.”
HeeSun Lee loves her daughters and loves being a mom. “Once that baby is born, you are so in love with the baby, you literally forget about your own life… You’re so fixated on your child, and you just want to give them everything.” Her older daughter is now seven years old, and she says this has never changed. “The greatest thing I’ve learned through the process of motherhood is being selfless.”
“People in the industry will tell me, ‘You don’t want to talk about motherhood. That’s boring.'” She disagrees. Lee believes that her music can be especially impactful to other moms.
“There are so many women out there who struggle. They’re working mothers. They have a lot on their plate. They come home to their kids, and they’re tired, and they just want to feel like somebody out there understands them. When you put music out there where they can listen and be understood, it makes a world of difference.”
Outside of music, HeeSun Lee loves spending time with her daughters Kayla and Jocelyn and her husband, Tim.
Get or stream Flying Cars here.