Dru Chen has been making waves in America, Singapore, and Australia for the past year. Now that he'll be back home in Singapore soon, it's time to re-introduce him, and for him to share what he's gained over the past year. With a funk/soul masterclass coming up (with Thunder Rock), here's a little about what he has to say about it.
1. Why choose to conduct a funk/soul masterclass?
D: Funk/soul is a genre often relegated to the past. But as Questlove (drummer from The Roots) once said, "funk never dies, it just smells a little different from time to time". Funk/soul has changed our popular music landscape forever, from 1970s blues-rock, 1980s dance-pop, 1990s new jack swing, 2000s neo-soul through to today’s indie/alternative r&b. This masterclass breaks down funk/soul from the past and it’s connections with today’s hits, dissecting musical and production techniques and how to apply them to our own works.
2. Over the past year how have you changed as a musician?
D: Over the past year, I've felt the pull of Asia as well as the pull of America. I've felt the influence of fresh new sound while at the same time being inspired by music from the 1960s and 1970s. I've updated some of my old gear with new synthesisers, drum machines and pre-amps, conjuring up fuller and fatter modern sounds. I'm coming up with a sound I can truly call my own - a fusion of everything I love, plus everything that I've gotten from growing up in Singapore and Australia as well as being inspired by American soul music.
I believe in constant evolution. Soulfest (Melbourne), School Night (LA), Music Matters (Singapore), these are all important showcases which have made me hone in on my live skills. Songs are snapshots of where you are at certain points in your life, and I've learnt to accept that and allow myself time to grow. I've become more patient with myself, to create work that is memorable and emotive. I've also become more aware and sensitive to how different markets react to music, for instance the indie crowd will go for one thing, while the soul/r&b crowd and the musician crowd will prefer something else, etc... My favourite artists like Prince and D'Angelo have always crossed boundaries and that's what I try to do as well.
3. Any upcoming performances or new music?
D: I am performing at Music Matters in Singapore from May 20 to 23, and I will be releasing a new single and music video as well!
Dru Chen | Artist
Thunder Rock School
227A Upper Thomson Road, S574359
T: 6456 8722
43 East Coast Road, 2nd Floor, S428764
T: 6348 7203