TaiwaneseAmerican.org’s Ho Chie Tsai recently caught up with singer-songwriter Charlie Chang. In 2010, he was featured as one of our 100 Passionate People in the community. This month, he launches a new album with beautifully-inspired tracks and will be donating a portion of the sales from this CD to V-day, an organization dedicated to ending violence against women around the world. We talk about the inspiration behind this project.
H: Hi Charlie! It’s really nice to catch up with you again! For some of our readers who don’t know you, tell us a little bit about yourself.
C: Thanks so much, it’s been awhile since we last got time to chat. I’ve got a similar story like most Taiwanese Americans I know. As a kid I was raised with one foot planted in Taiwan, not just culturally but literally since I lived there for a few years before my family moved to Southern California where my mom raised me and my brother while my dad worked in Taiwan so we flew back and forth multiple times a year until I was in college. Everything I have is because of my parents who sacrificed to make sure that I would have the best opportunities in life and they supported me even when they were had doubts such as me going off to be a music major instead of a doctor or an accountant. Everything turned out okay and that’s what I used to always tell them!
H: We do owe much to our Taiwanese parents! And, yes, it does seem like everything turns out well in the end. So, update us on what’s been going in your life the past few years?
C: First, I married my college sweetheart, her name is Nicole and we met each other as music majors in school. We were serendipitously assigned to stand next two each other in a really large choir so I think it was meant to be. I still find time to write, sing, and perform whenever I get the chance and during the day I work at Amazon.com doing online marketing for digital comic books on Kindle. I live in Seattle, WA now but still fly down to California (L.A. and San Diego) often, I’m addicted to In-N-Out.
H: Congrats on the marriage and career changes! How very exciting! Tell us a little about this new album and inspiration behind it. It has a connection through your wife, right?
C: The new album is titled “Rebecca” after the song of the same name on this record. I wrote the song about this amazing girl who my wife mentored through a youth theater organization in San Diego and who my wife truly adored. When I met her she was a teenager, about 15 or 16 and I was so humbled by her love for my music and her passion for life. She stayed in touch with me and my wife and we watched her grow into a beautiful young woman and I was even lucky enough to dance with her when she got married. Without going into details, it was heart-breaking and devastating to learn that she had been a victim to domestic violence. I’m not great at processing emotions but this song is what came out of me for Becca. The song and the album are dedicated to her for her birthday in October because it’s truly been inspirational to watch someone rise out of something terrible and still be joyful, passionate, and beautiful.
H: So, part of the proceeds from this album will benefit V-Day, an international charity? Give us the brief scoop on the organization.
C: Yes! V-Day is an organization and activist movement dedicated to ending violence against women and girls. Their goal is to generate broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, and sex slavery. There are some startling statistics about violence against women and I believe that it’s going to take not just women standing up for themselves but as men we have a responsibility to care for, support, and protect not just the women around us but women around the world living under violence.
H: What’s your fondest memory of creating this album?
C: The best part about doing this album was the opportunity to work with all of my friends who played and worked on my first album, the Charlie Chang EP. We recorded at a studio in Glendora, CA, E’Studio and it was like getting the band back together again. Everyone has grown and matured so much over the last few years that listening to the first CD and this new one, you can really hear how each musician has evolved in their style and technique.
H: What’s next on the horizon for you?
C: I’d like to get out and play live as much as possible whether it’s here in Seattle or in California. If anyone wants to host living room shows, I’m there! There were also a number of songs that didn’t make it onto this new album due to time that I’d still really like to share with everyone so hopefully I’ll be able to do a new record next year.
H: Well, maybe we can host one sometime. That would be really cool. In the meantime, where can our readers check out your album and follow your work?
H: Thanks for taking the time to chat with me today!
C: Anytime! Keep up the great work!