Don’t be thrown by the retro look—jazz and neo-soul singer 9m88 is at the forefront of style and has all the trappings of a true fashion and music icon. Her taste-talent combo has won her a solid fanbase—and it is steadily expanding through her string of high-profile collabs with the likes of Sodagreen frontman Wu Tsing-fong and Golden Melody Awards-winning rapper Leo Wang. Born in Taiwan in 1990, 9m88 completed a degree in fashion design in her home country before journeying to New York, where she eventually followed her passion for music to the jazz program at The New School. She first developed an indie following with a string of viral music videos, and eventually blipped on mainstream radars after lending vocals to Leo Wang’s jazzy hip-hop track “Weekends With You”. But it was the release of her bizarrely mesmerising single “Nine Head Hinano” and her remake of Japanese pop icon Mariya Takeuchi’s city-pop classic “Plastic Love” that established 9m88 as a retro-fashion trendsetter. Moving effortlessly across the musical spectrum in her debut album Beyond Mediocrity, she flows seamlessly from the retro aesthetics she is known for to her jazz roots and K-pop/alt hip-hop beats. And for anyone curious about her digital name, 9m88 (pronounced Jo-m-baba) is based on Chinese homonyms for numbers—a combo of her English name Joanne and childhood nickname, Xiaoba.