We speak to Chinese-Australian artist Chai Chang about changing careers, his inspiration and why the golden age is now.
Reality is an abstract way of describing everything there is and everything that will be. Is social media a real world or is it just a fabrication of who you are? These are the themes tackled by Chang in his debut single, New Reality.
There is a traditional way of thinking in Hong Kong which impacted how Chang grew up and discovered himself. He believed he had to study hard, achieve great results, graduate from university, work for a large organisation, and climb the corporate ladder. So, for 6 years that is exactly what he did. At the age of 29, in 2020 Chang was seeking a change so he moved to Melbourne to pursue further studies, however, we all know what happened in 2020; COVID-19.
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You know what they say, ‘every cloud has a silver lining’, ‘snatch victory from the jaws of defeat’ and so on.
“During the lockdowns and restrictions, I spent most of the time hiding in my cave – which is more like my small apartment – and I started to lose confidence and communication skills,” Chang says.
“So there was a moment where I realised I needed to step back from this situation, so I took an initiative to start a modelling course to build some self confidence. I also took a course to learn more about fashion and styling, which is an area that I always had interest in. So after taking these courses I started to do some modelling as a stepping stone towards my goal to become a solo dance singer.”
Although he never had the opportunity to formally learn to sing or dance in his youth, Chang believes that everything he learned in his corporate life is crucial for facilitating the process of becoming an independent artist.
“In my six years of full-time work life I just worked day and night and sometimes even on weekends. I would say my organisational skills and multitasking skills are quite strong. I believe this can help with my debut as an independent singer because I have to start everything from zero; concept creation and then looking for a suitable composer, looking for a dance crew, music production, and marketing.”
Chang credits his dream to release his own song to singers from C pop, K pop and English-speaking countries; CoCo Lee, BTS and Nicole Scherzinger inspire Chang. However, his first experience with music began at the age of 12 before Spotify and YouTube.
“There was a music television show at that time in Hong Kong that was called Jade Solid Gold, which broadcast new music and music videos each week. So each week, I always watched this TV show to learn about new music at that time. I always loved listening to strong beat dance music and strong beat electronic songs. Also I really admire the singers who can dance in music videos.”
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New Reality is described as an electro-pop dance song, it has a strong beat and a dance break. The song marks a new milestone in Chang’s life by showcasing how he can integrate English and Chinese music so it can be enjoyed by audiences from the East and West. The song is fun and catchy, it also explores topics that are thought-provoking and very much prevalent in today’s society.
“Nowadays, I think people spend lots of time using and swiping their mobile phones. Sometimes I think it’s really hard to tell whether the information is actually valid or whether the information tells the full truth. So the concept of perfection on social media also changes how we think. We do everything to look good on social media. Then we can attract our peers, or even family or friends to like our photo and to follow us. Just like what the lyrics say ‘if I blurred my face until I’ve got no pores, maybe they can see that I’m beautiful.’
“And then there’s the line ‘You know that I would do anything it takes to get my five seconds of fame’. Sometimes it’s hard to decide what’s right and what’s wrong. So here I’m open to the audience to analyse the good and the bad times using mobile phones and I want to point out that this is the new reality.”
New Reality was released on October 27 and Chang left us with some words of wisdom about changing your own reality – 30 is the new 20, it is never too late to follow your dreams.
“I would say probably 10 years ago, I was still very timid and probably not mature enough to start something like this, but now I’m older and I’ve got more courage and life experiences to share, so I think it is very good timing for me. So, no matter if you are young or old, I think the best time to do something new is now, which is the present, the golden age is now”.
Chai Chang’s debut single New Reality is out now.
This article was made in partnership with Chai Chang.