Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Q&A: R&B artist Chloe Tang talks classical background, musical freedom, experience as AAPI artist

Manoo Sirivelu
Pop-R&B artist Chloe Tang stands for a portrait at the Austin Convention Center Skyway during SXSW on Thursday.

Hailing from Los Angeles, R&B artist Chloe Tang brings her empowering lyrics and 2000s-inspired melodies to South by Southwest’s Jaded showcase on Friday. The Daily Texan sat down with the artist to talk about her classical background, musical freedom and experience as an artist in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

The Daily Texan: You started classical piano at the age of five and had a formal songwriting education (from the University of Colorado Denver). How has this background influenced your music?

Chloe Tang: Doing the classical thing was a good lesson for me because I was like, ‘Actually I don’t think I like this regimented world.’ I like songwriting and pop form and more contemporary music. … Now I can really appreciate the creativity that I get, and that doesn’t always come from classical music … from what I experienced. I can really brand myself however I want … and in any structure, and nobody can tell me that’s wrong or right.

DT: Out of all the genres, what drew you to R&B?

CT: I have gone through all these different phases of loving music in different genres and then also trying to recreate that. … I love melodies, and R&B is so melody focused. … There aren’t really unspoken rules. You can riff wherever you want to riff, you can say whatever you want to say. … It really is just so free.

DT: What are the ways you seek to display authenticity, whether through your music or overall brand?

CT: I’ve always been in music communities throughout my life. It’s really difficult because I think everybody is trying to find their own authentic selves. … I accepted that there wasn’t really an artist specifically that I was like, ‘Oh, I want to be the next (xxx).’ … I don’t want to hide parts of my personality because it doesn’t fit the brand. I am a goofy person and I’m outgoing but I’m also introverted. In the music that shows. 

DT: Tell me about your latest single (“OPTIONS”). What is the story behind the song?

CT: I was in such an almost crazed phase of my life where I was like, ‘I really cannot stand the thought of settling down.’ … I’m so young. I want to live my life. … I want to experiment and go out with whoever I want to go out with and do whatever I want to do without being like, ‘What would my mom think?’ It was always like that before, so I just want to have options. … I’m the only person that can limit myself, and I don’t want to do that anymore.

DT: What has it been like being a part of the AAPI music community?

CT: Moving to (Los Angeles), I discovered the (AAPI) community within the music community. … It was insane how many people genuinely want to help. It made me open up a little bit. … (Now) I want to be an advocate. I want to be a leader in this community. And luckily, because of all those people I’ve met, I have gotten so many opportunities to represent the (AAPI) community. Even just like this weekend, I’m in the Jaded showcase. … I feel really blessed to be in a position where hopefully one day I can actually make a big impact and give back because people have been constantly giving to me.

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