Local R&B singer using music to tell story of where she came fro - KMOV.com

Local R&B singer using music to tell story of where she came from

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Mai Lee uses R&B to tell the story of where she came from. Credit: KMOV Mai Lee uses R&B to tell the story of where she came from. Credit: KMOV
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

R&B singer Mai Lee is hoping to be the next big music star out of St. Louis.

Her newest single "low key" has reached over a million streams on Spotify and thousands of views on Youtube, but she wants to use her music to tell the story of where she came from.

“People don't understand your story. People don't understand why I sing the music that I sing. This is why everything I sing, I'm emotional,” said Lee, “Because I’ve been through a lot growing up.”

Almost four decades ago, Lee's family immigrated to St. Louis after the Vietnam war.

“My dad was in the war and so was my grandfather. They went through hell and back,” said Lee, “My dad's brother didn't make it in the war.”

In St. Louis, her dad took jobs as a janitor and mechanic. Her mom eventually saved up enough to open Mai Lee restaurant, the first of its kind in the St. Louis area.

When she's not making music, Lee still works in the family restaurant.

“I do to-gos, I pick up the phone, put to-gos in the bag and I run the restaurant,” she said. .

That work ethic is something her brother knows just as well.

“We immigrated to the states in 1980,” said Qui Tran, manager at the restaurant, “I was 3 years old.”

Tran said his family fully supports his sister’s music career, and wants to see her do well.

“This is a country you can come and pursue your dream, and she's pursuing her dream, and we hope to see her on a billboard soon,” Tran said.

Seeing her family achieve the American dream is something that drives Lee.

She said it inspires her to never give up on hers.

“I just have to show the world my gift, and my story. Because my story is everything.”

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