Brooklyn’s indie-pop dreamer’s new song illustrates his idea that “we’re all born as lovers and… love will find a way


I present to you: a Papi Shiitake timeline.

DATE UNKNOWN: The artist, Alex Gruenburg, is born. A bunch of other stuff happens.

SEPTEMBER 2020: Papi Shiitake—the new project of the aforementioned artist—pops up (w/ puppet) via the premiere of “Enjoy the View,” a track that the fun guy (not fungi) told me was “about living life on your own terms and appreciating the little things that most people take for granted.”⁣

He also shares his favorite spots in Brooklyn, including a hangover cure involving Randy’s Chinese Food, blunts and 90 Day Fiancé (if hangover persists: pho + Sprite + “add more blunts”).

MAY 2021: The artist releases his new single, “Born as Lovers,” and writes on Instagram, “I love this song because everyone is born with love in their hearts and keeping that love alive is so important to me.” The single is celebrated with an absolutely perfect show on the roof of The Sultan Room, where I take the song’s message a bit too literally and, after way too many piña coladas, tell approximately 40 people I love them.

TODAY: The new lyric video for “Born as Lovers” premieres—right here, right now, on Bands do BK!

And with that, we’re officially caught up. Now let’s hear from the artist—

While the song is rooted in serious subject matter, the artist wraps the content in Papi Shiitake’s signature breezy, beach-y vibes while serving up silver linings and staying true to a few of his project’s primary themes: love, positivity and being true to yourself (for the record, the most punk-rock shit).

Over email, Alex shared some background on the track and his thoughts on hope and humanity:

“When I was younger I lived in a really small town in Virginia and I was probably one of a handful of Asians living there. Naturally, because I looked different, I experienced a great deal of a racism as a child.

A lot of those feelings came back during the summer of 2020. The world seemed extremely heavy with sadness and emotion. I wanted to create a song that was both nostalgic and optimistic. See I’m always holding on to hope. Looking for the silver lining.

Even though it was extremely painful dealing with so much racism at such a young age I quickly learned that racism is both taught and learned. This changed the way I deal with racists, even today.

No one is born with hate in their heart. We’re all born as lovers and I truly believe love will find a way.”

No one says it, or sings it, better.

<3 <3 <3

Next up on the Papi Shiitake timeline: a full-length record. Break out the piña coladas and get ready to feel—and spread—the love.


Follow Papi Shiitake at @papishiitake, buy the artist’s music on Bandcamp and add his songs to your Spotify playlists!

Feature image provided by the artist.

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