Thao Nguyen is the lead singer/musician of the folk rock band Thao and The Get Down Stay Down. They’re on tour now performing songs from their latest album We the Common. The album is inspired by the time Thao spends working with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners. The lead single, Valerie Bolden, is based on a real woman by that name who has been incarcerated for 17 years at the California Institute for Women. Valerie is serving a life sentence without chance of parole as “a direct result of domestic violence.”
When Thao told Valerie that she inspired the song her reaction was: “maybe people will write letters!” Thao encourages fans to learn more about Valerie and to write to her. Thao and The Get Down Stay Down will perform the song on Austin City Lights, Saturday, November 8 at 10pm on PBS.