Now releasing his passionate and emotional music video for his hit single, "a ballad for u," singer-songwriter and producer Chris Yang is sprinting down his path to success after finally finding his voice.
Making music for about five years now, Chris Yang began his artistic career merely through entertainment and to pass the time. After finding the inspiration to take it seriously with help from friends, family, and industry vets, Chris Yang is now on track to release his forthcoming debut concept album entitled 'The Martian.'
Highlighting the emotional music video for his lead single, "a ballad for u," Chris Yang takes his broken heart and flees to the planet Mars, where he later sinks into the depths of despair after letting us into the song's broken-hearted theme. "I hope the song becomes as therapeutic to others as it was for me, but most importantly, I hope they feel a genuine connection to my ballad for you," states Yang.
Opening the music video for "a ballad for u" is a slow zoom-in shot of Mars and its radiant red glow. As the modern and jazzy instrumentals make their way in alongside Chris Yang's delicate and emotional vocals, the scenes make a switch into the desert landscapes of Mars, where Yang is seen in his dress shirt and tie while exclaiming his hardships within a broken relationship.
While clutching his dress coat near his chest and delivering his spoken-word flow, Chris Yang truly holds any viewer in awe of his powerful emotion with help from his intense and tight delivery. As the song comes to an end with Chris Yang's calming and serene harmonies, we're truly impressed with the concept and desire in this song/video, as Chris Yang opens his heart for listeners to find a piece of themselves and relate.
Introduce yourself to the powerful stylings of Chris Yang through his emotionally intense music video, "a ballad for u," now available on YouTube.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, Chris Yang, and congratulations on the release of your single and music video for "a ballad for u.' When did you begin feeling inspired to create the song itself?
Thank you! When I first went to college I never would've thought of myself as someone who would one day pursue music as a serious career choice. Over two years ago I moved more than 350 miles from my home in the San Francisco Bay Area and I started attending Cal State Fullerton as a Political Science major. Very quickly I realized that I chose the wrong pathway for myself in life and, feeling like my life was falling apart, began to gain a lot of weight. At the time I was experimenting with music but I never took it too seriously so I began to make songs using the Garageband for iOS app on my phone and recording them with the iPhone earbud microphone that came with it. With that came two albums that were poorly mixed and recorded, Yin Yang and Vision. I felt unable to be motivated in my classes until I realized that I was in a mental cycle of doubting myself. Not yet knowing what I wanted to do with my life yet, I began to drag myself out of this low point of my life and started dieting and working out. Within the course of a year, I went from 233 pounds to 165 pounds. One day, I threw out all the pants that were now too big for me and grabbed the pants I had from high school that once grew too tight for me to wear. Happy that I was finally able to wear these again, I reached in my pocket and in there was a stub to a movie ticket for the last time I had been able to wear those jeans. That movie ticket was for a showing of "The Martian" starring Matt Damon on October 18, 2015. I felt at that moment I had hit an epiphany with what I wanted to do in life and I began drafting a basic concept album about someone bettering themselves with the same running title called "The Martian." I had a 12 song album that I planned to release on October 18th of that year, 2019. Last-minute, however, I decided that the concept wasn't fully delivered and I delayed the release to add on an additional 6 songs. I released three sub-par singles that were all cut songs to show that I was at least doing something musically and found quickly that releasing cut music was the fastest way to not be taken seriously. Hitting a new peak of self-loathing, I planned to just quit music entirely to just focus on school and building a more conventional career out of my life. I remember around that moment, an old friend of mine had randomly gifted me a succulent with a note that said, "'I sit before flowers hoping they will teach me in the art of opening up.' Learn to care for this plant, and yourself in this process. Don't hate the process, embrace your steady growth over time." I ended up letting that plant die over the course of that winter and it wasn't until I was working with another artist on a song where I had a stark change in mindset. Around February of 2020, I had asked an artist named August Kim to feature on a song and, looking through my song notebook, told me, "these songs are better off as poem stanzas or as ballads." It was at that moment I told her that I was planning on quitting music and that these 18 songs were from an album I was going to cut called "The Martian." She had then looked at the dead plant and the note and recognized the succulent and told me that this specific plant can regrow if I cut out a bud and let it lay in the sun. Upon leaving, she read the note and said, "Wow, what a precious thought." I don't know what it was about me learning that I could still save that dying plant, but I began to take care of it again and with that, came me finding my passion to work on new music again. I figured I was going to give this album one more shot. As I was tending to the plant, I looked through all 18 songs and cut all of them. What was left of that project was a couple of sentences and lines that resonated with me and I spliced them together to make one singular heartbreak song. I decided to title it, "a ballad for u." After writing that, I had completely written 9 additional new songs and redid the writing and composition of the entire album in the course of two weeks. I ended up writing a project that began with a dramatic heartbreak song that was "a ballad for u," and told the story of a character struggling to get over a former love interest and bettering himself through that process. After writing the new version of the album, the pandemic struck and places began to shut down and I immediately changed my mind and announced the album's cancellation. Rereading what I had just written, I felt absurdly embarrassed and vulnerable. I didn't want to be coined as a simp and I didn't want to be ridiculed for a project like this. Instead, I shelved my iPhone demos of that album and kept on releasing subpar music to stay under the radar. When June came, my friends had influenced me to at least take what I wrote to a studio for one final shot. I showed "a ballad for u" to the two producers there and they said it was very well-written, but that I was a nobody and that I should sell it to someone else they had in mind to perform the song so that way I could have a songwriting credit on a song that they said would only chart if I gave it away. I turned the offer down, disappointed, and was told I needed to learn to swallow my pride and that I was making a mistake. Somehow, them being so insistent on me selling my song empowered me to keep trying. For the first time ever, I wrote something that other musicians wanted. I took all my iPhone demos of that album and bought a mic and a DAW and began to try my best to professionally record and mix and master the album in my own bedroom. After trying to redo the recordings, I felt frustrated that the performance wasn't as passionate and genuine as my iPhone demo performance. I was mentally so over everything I was going through at the time of writing the project but as a result, was unable to reperform it with the same passion as I did for the demos. I solved this by manually importing each audio track from my phone onto the new DAW I had on my computer, to mix the iPhone recorded audio a lot better. When I finished, like magic, the once-dead succulent that I owned, had bloomed into a beautiful pink and purple star-shaped flower. My plant of precious thoughts had finally fully recovered and for the first time ever, I felt that I had done something that I was proud of.
Speaking on the music video for "a ballad for u,' how did you create the concept of performing on Mars amid the lonesome and dusty landscape?
The concept of Mars came way before any visuals went into fruition. I had written an album about getting over a former love interest, so I began with fleshing out the concept of drug use and the alcohol abuse that comes with the unhealthy methods of getting over a heartbreak and played on the trope of "hey, I'm so high I feel like I could be on Mars or another planet!" As the album progresses and the story solidifies, our character finds himself being more "down to Earth" as he is lost in space and trying to find his way back home so that the album could end with the character arc completing, the protagonist finally being over their past as they land their starship back on the home planet of Earth. This skeleton of a story I began to flesh out more and more. I used influence from dramatic space stories from "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Interstellar" all the way to sci-fi film franchises like Star Wars and Star Trek. In a way, I guess it could be said that I started to make music really to hide the fact that I'm actually just a huge fucking nerd, but for my own self-comfort, I would like to think otherwise. But I do wish I was lying when I say that before making the music video of this song I binge-watched all of the original Star Trek series and all of the Star Wars saga, films, shows, and all. It's just too good, you know? This tangent went on for too long, I'm sorry. I think performance-wise, I made sure I did everything I could to be in character. It was kind of weird for me at first to pop into the headspace I was in a year ago, but to acknowledge the difference gave me comfort because, by that point, I knew I had grown.
What was it like working with director Huxley Matthew Berg when formulating/executing your music video, "a ballad for u?" How did he help make the shooting process easier for you?
Working with Huxley is an absolute blast. He was a randomly assigned roommate in college and I've never had a better stroke of luck. I loved his YouTube channel, HuxleyBergStudios, which boasts over 125 thousand subscribers. I met him when he was a stop-motion lego animator and aspiring musician and seeing him work on his music greatly inspired me to keep going, personally. His having all this online credibility constantly pushed me to make something that he could fully enjoy since he is really the person who has made all my favorite albums. His bands, Hocus and Vegan Coats, are some of my most listened to artists and it's really a blessing to have this dude as a roommate and as a friend. Nothing made my day more than hearing this guy get really excited and happy for me when he first heard the demos for The Martian. We would both spend days on our balcony discussing visuals for it and at times it felt like he was even more excited for the album than I was. I honestly think the music video and the way the project turned out would've been nothing without this guy. I remember the day before the music video I began to panic and thought I wasn't prepared and Huxley really came up with an organized shoot in five seconds off the top of his head. He's really the person that was able to bring my ideas to life and I could not have done this without him.
Seeing that your music video for "a ballad for u" takes place on Mars, should we expect more celestial and out-of-this-world themes throughout your forthcoming album, 'The Martian?'
The whole album is going to feel very spatial and cinematic. When I wrote the project, I had also written a short film script to go with the project in the hopes of possibly making it a visual album or a short film. Without spoiling too much, I'll just say that every shot and scene is carefully planned out and will all be revealed in the end. I recommend following my Instagram, @chrisyangmusic, to stay caught up and be immersed in this world and go with me on this journey. I'm doing what I can to make the album rollout feel as cinematic and as much of an experience as I can. I figured for the first time ever, I'm going to go all in. With visuals, sounds, and world-building, I'm going to tell a story in a way that has never been told before. Over time, I've gained a small following, and while I acknowledge that I may not have the most influence, I cannot wait for the people that follow me to experience this story, go on this journey, and grow with me.
What's next for you?
I think after this I'm still going to persevere and make sure that I get this degree no matter what. I don't know where this album will take me but it personally doesn't matter that much to me. I had a blast growing and evolving with this project and, in retrospect, I do not regret any of it. It's time for me to own what I make and that's what I plan to do. If you want you can follow my Twitter, @dachrisyang, or my Instagram, @chrisyangmusic, and come let me know what you think of it! I'll regularly be posting updates about the projects so it's definitely a place to check out if you're interested in staying tuned. You can also check out my website as well at chrisyangmusic.com for regular updates.