MILLI explains the personal meaning behind her viral Coachella song ‘Mango Sticky Rice’

88rising initially thought the Thai rapper was “joking” when she told them she planned to eat mango sticky rice onstage at Coachella, she tells NME

MILLI has explained the personal meaning behind her Coachella song ‘Mango Sticky Rice’, which turned her into a viral sensation when she ended the performance by eating from a bowl of the Thai dessert onstage.

The Thai rapper delivered the now-iconic performance as part of 88rising’s Head In The Clouds Forever set at Coachella, inspiring skyrocketing sales of mango sticky rice in Thailand as well as a movement to have the dessert recognised as cultural heritage by UNESCO.

In an interview with NME, MILLI said the creation of the song was prompted by 88rising. She explained, “The idea for the song came up during one of our online meetings with 88rising. They wanted us to make a track that represents Thailand, so we settled on mango sticky rice, which is my favourite dessert.

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“Sticky rice also symbolises the bond between me and my family because we always stick together.”

MILLI also revealed that 88rising initially thought she was “joking” when she told them she planned to eat mango sticky rice onstage at Coachella. “When I pitched the idea of eating it during my performance, they thought I was joking at first. Then they were like, ‘It’s your own show, you do you.’”

MILLI also shared her thoughts on about being thrust into the role of de facto cultural ambassador, explaining that the term “soft power”, which Thai politicians had used when discussing her Coachella performance, had never crossed her mind.

She told NME, “When you look at Thailand travel brochures, it’s always either giant statues, temples or floating markets. I’m not here to represent the conventional ‘Thainess’; I’m here to represent who I am as a Thai person.”

“There are other aspects of Thai culture that often get overlooked and I want to make sure that my music reflects the essence of that.”

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MILLI is gearing up to release new music soon in the form of a single she aired on the second weekend of Coachella. The song is “based on these community aerobics dance sessions you see everywhere in Thailand”, she said, and has a “message of self-love behind it”.

That single will follow up her most recent solo single, this February’s ’17 mins’ featuring indie pop duo mints, and will also appear on her upcoming debut album.

Read the NME interview with MILLI here.

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