"It’s all about the music in the end." (an interview with Dorothy Chan)
Today, we here at Half Mystic are delighted to be chatting with a singer-songwriter and producer whose melodies are simple but infinitely sweet—inventively produced and infused with hope. Please join us in giving a positively effervescent welcome to the lovely and talented Dorothy Chan.
HM: What's a song that never fails to make you nostalgic?
DC: "Eyes Closed" by The Narrative. I could have it on repeat for hours. It’s just such a beautiful, picturesque song. I feel like I’m in a dream whenever I listen to it.
If you could work on a film soundtrack, which film—whether it's a film that's already been released or one that exists only in your imagination—would it be and why?
Probably a Pixar film! I’m unapologetically obsessed with Disney, and I’m also a huge fan of Michael Giacchino’s scores for the Pixar films he’s been a part of. I think it’d be super cool to work on a Disney film, since music plays such a crucial role in storytelling and animation. It’d be so awesome to create something that could bring even more life to such vibrant colours and pictures.
In your SoundCloud bio, you describe yourself as a "singer-songwriter & producer." Which came first: songwriting or producing? With that in mind, how does producing factor into your songwriting process today—or vice versa?
Songwriting came first. Usually, lyrics, melody, and chord progression simultaneously pop into my head, then comes the production and arrangement. So, the raw song itself is like the narrative, and the production is like pictures that help tell the story. But more recently, I’ve begun to see the songwriting and production process as one, and I really like that. That way, the story I’m trying to tell sounds more whole and unified.
What do you feel are three defining characteristics of your music?
Dreamlike, minimal, honest.
If you could peer into the mind of any musician, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Lady Gaga. She seems like a very wise and genuine person, not to mention, an extremely successful business woman, and an amazing performer. I could learn so much from her.
What's a question that people often ask you about your music, and how do you usually answer?
I don’t get many questions about my music, but when I do it’s mostly "who is it about," which I suppose is normal. But I guess depending on who is asking, I usually keep that information to myself. I think I’d much rather be asked why a song was written instead of who it was written about, because the reason, to me, is more important and meaningful. I feel like people tend to get caught up in the surface level stuff or the technical side of how songs should sound and forget that it’s about the music and the message it’s trying to deliver sometimes. It’s all about the music in the end.
You're part of a musical project called Sundial. How does working in collaboration with another person compare with working solo?
When you work alone, you’re in charge of every single creative idea. But when you work with someone else, another person also has a say. It’s definitely different but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Collaborating has definitely made me more open-minded, and broadened my knowledge of approach to making music. I learned that my creativity flows better when I have someone to bounce ideas off of too. It’s all a learning process.
We here at Half Mystic have been loving the first two tracks in Sundial's debut EP, Yours. What was the story behind this EP?
Thank you so much! The idea behind "Yours" is actually pretty personal to Jisu and I! We just wanted to share our experiences through music with everyone, even the small things in life that tend to be overlooked.
Any creative projects in the works—musical or otherwise—that we can know about?
I’ve just recently finished an original of my own called "Daisy." It’s sort of a blend of indie/folk and electronic, and it’s a bittersweet love story told from a whimsical girl’s point of view. And as of now, I’m currently finishing up the "Yours" EP with Jisu for Sundial. It’s been a slow process since we’re not physically together producing. It’ll definitely be finished by the next month, so be on the lookout for it!
Bio: Dorothy is a singer-songwriter and producer, born and raised in Hong Kong. Classically trained at the piano since the age of 5, music plays a huge part in shaping her interests and passion. She discovered her love for songwriting and production in early high school and began producing her own tracks and sharing them on SoundCloud. She is currently studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston, continuing to pursue her career in music.