Zemin Wang conducted this interview with Yen Chou on February 14, 2018. Yen is a musician living Shanghai who is active in spreading popular music culture.
Yen Chou was born in Chongqing which is a big city in midwest of China. He moved from Chongqing to Shanghai for more open and free music atmosphere few years ago. Now he is sometimes involved in some commercial performances, but much of his time is devoted to music teaching. He is trying his best to spread music culture and encourage more young people to pursue their musical dreams.
ZW: Yen, Happy Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day! Thank you for accepting my interview invitation.
YC: Thank you Zemin. Happy Chinese New Year! It’s my honor to be interviewed.
ZW: If you could describe Shanghai’s music scene and China’s music scene, what would you say about that?
YC: As we can see from these years’ development, the music atmosphere in Shanghai and throughout China is constantly improving. Whether the entire music industry or pop music, the future will have very good development prospects. From the year I moved to Shanghai, the state culture department began a wide range of support for the music industry, especially in Shanghai. There have been many outstanding pop singers in recent years. At the college I teach, more and more students choose music major.
ZW: Which characteristic do you think is the most important for an artist?
YC: I think adhering to do what you want is the most important characteristic for an artist. It is easier to experience failure for people who are in music industry. Compared with other industries, there are too many uncertainties in the music industry. Due to the output value of the music industry is lower than other industries, music practitioners will face greater risk of failure. Hence, keeping the faith and adhering to work hard are necessary for people in this industry.
ZW: How do you usually teach at your college?
YC: I was just a visiting professor before, but now I spend most of my time teaching music. At the beginning, I was trying to let the public fall in love with music through my performances and distribution of albums, but the entire market atmosphere was never formed. Hence now I think the best way is to teach more people to learn music and then they will spread music in their ways.
ZW: Many Chinese teenagers like music from an early age and want to chase their musical dreams. Meanwhile, however, many parents do not support this practice and want their children to receive more education in knowledge. What is your point of view on this issue?
YC: Exactly. This situation is very common in China. Many teens love music, but too many people want to work in this industry as well as too much competitive pressure. Both of them have led some people to give up their dreams. I think the key to deal with this issue is to achieve a balance between knowledge study and music. Making an objective assessment of yourself to see if you are talented in music is very necessary.