Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Meet Irish-Hongkongese RnB, soul and jazz musician Chris Wong

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Irish-Hongkongese Chris Wong has been making quite an impression on TikTok. His original music is a soothing range of RnB, soul and jazz, teamed with guitar and vocals which delights audiences at home in Ireland and afar.

Chris Wong was born and raised in Dublin. His Dad is originally from Hong Kong and his Mum is Irish. “The mix of ethnicities is something I have grown to love and be very proud of!” he tells me.

Growing up, he was a big sports fan and wanted to become a footballer. But he also loved singing.

“I wasn’t raised in a big music family or anything remotely like that,” he says. “We all just loved singing and I guess that’s where the love for music grew”. His family did, however, have a few artists and bands that would do the rounds in the house or on the school runs including artists such as Maroon 5, Tom Jones, Don McClean and The Sound of Music soundtrack!

“Quite an eclectic early mix,” he muses. “It’s a weird one, I never really feel like my early influences directly influence my musical style. I’m certain that they subconsciously do though”.

But after school, instead of music, Chris went on to study Business and Law. “I felt as though I couldn’t/shouldn’t do a degree in music since I never studied music or received any sort of formal training,” he says. Despite this, he played music throughout college, mainly with Rob de Boer as part of his band. It was then, he tells me, when he figured out that he wanted to music.

Chris’ early work focussed on guitar and vocals and he says that creating set pieces and songs felt amazing.

“It just felt so simple as that is what I knew. Being able to put words down on paper and match that with the feeling a certain melody can give you brings me a lot of joy”.

Over the years, Chris dove into all aspects of music production, and with his early work, he saw songwriting as a straightforward venture.

“Not saying it isn’t either!” he clarifies. “My passion for music has just led me down some rabbit holes. The first time bringing my songs to life with a full band was euphoric. It’s a feeling I’ll never tire of. I’ve been lucky enough to play with some incredible musicians who always contribute positively”.

Chris tells me that any form of art is such a personal thing. At times he finds himself worrying about what others will think, whether the song is interesting enough from a musical standpoint or even whether his lyrics are good enough.

“I’ve learned to prevent myself from entering that state of mind too often,” he says. “At the end of the day, things can always be changed for better or for worse”. That being said, Chris is also a big believer in not overcooking a song.

“There are tonnes of ideas inside of me that need to come out. I try not to waste too much time obsessing.”

When it comes to actually releasing music into the wild, Chris admits that the whole process can be a bit of a slog and any independent artist will tell you the same.

“You do so much work in the lead-up to release but it’s so important to make sure you keep on posting out about your music once it is out in the world” he explains.

“It can feel like a real fight for space within the music scene. It’s a case of emailing all the major music magazines, blogs and radio to give them a heads up that your music is coming out”.

The issue, he says, is that a lot of those same folks wouldn’t be interested in sharing unless the artist’s streaming numbers and social media following are in the right place.

“This can feel demoralising as it then becomes a numbers game,” Chris says. “It’s important not to get bogged down about it. Making music that’s true to yourself is ultimately what matters”.

Like many artists out there, he is on social media and acknowledges that it’s an “undeniably important channel for any creative”. In fact, TikTok was where I came across him in the first place!

But he tells me that while he understands the need to use it to grow, he doesn’t enjoy the platform itself. “You see the craziest things go viral on TikTok. It’s hard to know what will work“.

Chris says that he loves sharing his work in intimate settings and his favourite show in recent memory was Other Voices in 2023.

“I had always dreamt of playing at Other Voices,” he tells me. “The crowds, venues, locals and scenery just make it the most beautiful festival to play at. Forbidden Fruit 2023 was also a big highlight for me as I got to play on the same stage as a massive idol of mine Olivia Dean. Meeting her at the festival was really a full circle moment for me”.

The songs that Chris has written are both full of heart and meaning and as of writing, his favourite is a song he wrote about his Grandmother who passed away last July. The song, an unreleased track, is called “It’s Not Easy For The Heart”.

“So far, I’ve only gotten to sing it once live,” he says. “Performing that song felt like an extremely cathartic release for me”.

“Out of the songs I have released, I would say “Talents” is the most meaningful song I have. It’s about the death of my great-auntie and speaks to the precious nature of life. It’s a reflection on the kind of person she was and the things I would say if I could spend another day with her”.

Chris says that while he would love to play at big hitters such as Electric Picnic, Glastonbury and Coachella, he would also love to play Clockenflap in Hong Kong since his Dad is from there. “I’ve always wanted to play a big show over there for my family to see!”

For those who would love to begin their journey into songwriting, he offers this parting advice:

Don’t worry about how others may perceive it. You write for yourself first and foremost. Once the music is out in the world, then it’s open to interpretation. However, before this, the entire process of songwriting is deeply personal and therapeutic. Don’t take it too seriously. The main thing is getting those feelings onto a page and sculpting them from there.

Chris Wong

You can find Chris Wong through the following:

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I'm a freelance content creator, author, and journalist who has a strong desire to share interesting content about Irish people and things about Ireland at home and abroad. I am constantly curious.

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