CELEBRATING CREATIVITY

A Conversation with Rosey Chan


Throughout her career as a multimedia artist, pianist and composer, Rosey Chan has been fearless about exploring the boundaries of what music can do. A classically trained musician, she has embraced collaborating with creators from all different backgrounds and disciplines, from architecture to spoken word, working with the likes of Zaha Hadid Architects, artist Marina Abramović and photographer Nick Knight.

 

We visit Rosey at home in London, where she has spent the past year trying to be as productive as possible, finding new ways to connect to people through her music, away from her familiar environments of live performances and concert halls. Having enjoyed honing her craft through multidisciplinary projects, focusing on what music can do at its aesthetic and acoustic limits, she began to fully realise its potential as a mindful tool to help heal.

 

What started off as playlists for friends and family during the challenging past few months, developed organically into her next album project, a reflection of this time. Set to launch later this month, Sonic Apothecary is about optimising music to induce different emotional states, giving the listener a better experience, aiming to help them relax and recalibrate. “I really feel the kind of music I’m making has more of a direct connection with the way people are feeling right now,” she says. 



CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR NEW ALBUM?

 

Before Covid, we had infinite numbers of communicative tools that we used and when you’re deprived of this, I guess you start looking for other ways to interact, especially now, when a lot of people are in need of help. Previously, music always felt like an aesthetic voice, but this period has made me realise, for the first time in my life perhaps, how it is also a vital therapeutic tool.

 

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN KEEPING UP CREATIVE MOMENTUM?

 

I’m all about creating new multi-sensory experiences in my live performances, I love collaborating with people from different disciplines, whether its dancers, electro musicians or even architects. You can learn so much from each other’s crafts. Although my music hasn’t changed, during the past year, I’ve been forced to look more inwards. Being limited in collaborative projects has forced me to be even more creative, and that’s the direction this album took, as a reflection of what I’ve been feeling. It’s been an interesting process of turning the mirror onto myself.



YOU’VE BEEN DOING A SERIES OF PERFORMANCES OVER LIVESTREAM, HAS THIS ALLOWED A MORE EXCITING WAY FOR YOU TO CONNECT WITH YOUR AUDIENCE? OR ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN-PERSON CONCERTS ONCE MORE?

 

It’s amazing that the technology to enable live streams is in existence, it allows people to feel like they’re not alone and still offers a great connection but without a doubt - and I’m sure I speak for all musicians - we’re all looking forward to getting back into a room full of people, no matter how large or tiny! Experiences can be enhanced by digital media, but never replaced. There is a special magic in the acoustics of a room which is shared by both performer and audience, in the same way as when you’re in the art gallery you want to be next to the paintings. That’s the very essence of musical connection.

 

YOU’VE WORKED ON SO MANY PROJECTS PEOPLE WOULDN’T NORMALLY EXPECT, HOW DID THESE COME ABOUT?

 

It’s just an obsession I’ve always had because I’m interested in different things and I’m not really ever afraid of a “no” or a rejection. I’m always in that mindset that if you don't ask, you never know and maybe it’s a naivety I’ve always had, to kind of always put myself out there, experiment and try to learn.



WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE WAYS TO RELAX AND RECHARGE?

 

I do meditation, breathing exercises, yin yoga and most importantly I sleep, and I try to sleep well. To re-charge I go into creative mode, which is self-perpetuating because once I’m into it, my energy increases incrementally. Sometimes it gets to the point where I need to relax again, so the whole day is spent in this kind of flow.

 

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE LITTLE THINGS WE CAN DO TO TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES BETTER?

 

The new album is a lifestyle album, the music can be used across all different emotional states, whether you’re at home or outside for a run. However, there is one particular track, the last one, which has been specially designed for sleep. I’ve turned my attention to sleep a lot lately, working with neuroscientists and tech apps backed by science, it’s such a great tool to relieve stress and anxiety. My music is a meditation of myself, I’ve had to heal myself through it, and knowing it’s helping others is extremely energising and rewarding.

 

WHAT ROLE DOES FASHION PLAY FOR YOU IN YOUR PERFORMANCES?

 

As a pianist, you sit down and you’re static, so a big consideration is how to create a beautiful silhouette with the pieces you are wearing. I gravitate towards brands like Self-Portrait because the silhouettes are beautifully structured, it’s already created for you.

 

Photography by Trisha Ward

Sonic Apothecary will be released on 26 March.