Nari is Not Your ‘Pony’ Girl

Narisa Khamvanthong's indie pop project is taking off.

On the last episode of Pony (TV’s hottest dating show), sparks flew when two Kentucky thieves met for veggie wings. The two were in gangsters’ paradise — until a suspicious pair threatened to tear apart the robbers’ rendezvous. That’s when dating expert Dr. Frank popped in…

So begins the music video for “Pony,” the new single by indie pop artist Nari (aka Narisa Khamvanthong). Like an afternoon of stoned channel surfing, “Pony” flips from absurd outlaw romance to Booty Bounce News, NTV, and an inter-band fistfight on carceral-reality show Real Ass Crime.

“I produced and directed it myself, so it’s my actual personality,” says Khamvanthong. “Really, just goofy.”

The video’s slacker playfulness adds a nice edge to the airy pop song, which was also written, produced, and performed by Khamvanthong. Here, as on first single “Julia,” Nari sounds akin to dreamy bedroom pop bands like Crumb, or Sales — though with its sunny melody and bobbing bassline, “Pony” is more explicitly pop than either. (That hushed refrain of “I’m not your little pony, not your little pony girl” has already spent a solid afternoon running through my head.)

Despite many expert pop flourishes, “Pony” is the work of an artist at the very start of her career. The East Bay native only began playing music a little more than a year ago, in January of 2019.

“When I started writing songs I didn’t play the guitar or anything,” she says. “I would just write these ideas down and then put them to a tune that everybody kinda already knew. Later on, when I learned how to play the guitar, I started to put them to my own tunes.”

After going online in 2019, Khamvanthong’s Soundcloud page quickly attracted fans, including Nashville indie band Okey Dokey, who reached out to ask about a collaboration. Shortly afterwards, their management company DMed her on Instagram, asking to sign her. Now, she’s at work on her first full length. Pretty soon, Keeping Up With the Khamvanthongs may be more than just a joke in a music video. 

“I thought I was gonna learn a little guitar, a couple chords here and there,” she says. “Now I just have perma-calluses on my hand.”

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