Tell us your real names, country of birth, date of birth and childhood experience.

Chow Mane – Charles Yan; born in Monterey, California in 1994. As a child lived in one large household with my grandparents, until my parents moved out when I was young and then got divorced when I turned 5. My mom came from Shanghai, but the rest of my family on my dad’s side were Chinese refugees from the Vietnam war, who came here in the 70s because of help from the Red Cross and a local church.

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Tell us about your music career, your band name, musical background, experience and skills.

 Started playing piano when I was a kid; started producing hip-hop and electronic music when I was in middle school (about 12 years old) and started rapping around the same time. I studied music theory for a while but have also learned extensively about hip-hop history, sampling techniques, etc.

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Tell us about your genre, concept and idea behind your music video and the song.

 I’m aiming to bring my perspective, which is an Asian American perspective, in front of people through hip-hop. I want to use music to help people have something to relate to, to turn up to, to listen to while walking/doing work/driving/etc. “Mooncakes” are a traditional Chinese pastry eaten during the mid-autumn festival (the same day the EP dropped this year – Oct 4), especially between family. The idea of the music video was for me to travel back in time into my own memory of my grandparents cooking and doing every day things in their own house – only thing is that they couldn’t see me. It’s really more of a reflection on my past.

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Tell us everything that we need to know about you as a musician and the ups and downs you have faced in the music business.

 My music is a reflection of my own experiences, but through it I hope to get across to everyone. It’s a little difficult being an Asian American artist in the hip-hop scene, because people see you through their preconceived stereotypes and can’t see you as an authentic artist. Despite that, I just stay genuine to myself and my culture and hope I can progress that way haha.

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Tell us about other members of your band, music producer, crew or music video director, how the song was recorded and how the music video was shot.

 This video was directed by Ryan Hoang, who helped produce a previous music video for a very different song called “WOAH”. We shot this video at my grandparent’s old home in Seaside, CA.

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Tell us how long you have been in the music industry, your experience and your future goal.

 I’ve been making music and releasing it online through MySpace and Soundcloud since 2008, but didn’t get actively involved in focusing on conceptual music and performing shows until this year.

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Tell us what inspires you to write, compose and sing.

I’m inspired by my every day experiences. For “Mooncakes” and the “Mooncakes” EP, I drew from things I’ve seen or felt in the past. For other songs, I approach it differently depending on what it might call for. I’m really influenced by the datpiff era from 07-10, mixtape Weezy, and the like, so I try to focus on catchy flows and punchlines over sheer lyrical flexing like some rappers do. I also produce most of my own beats, so it allows a little more creative freedom in how I can build them around my verses.

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Tell us the secret behind making a hit song.

I think a hit song needs to be something that resonates with a large majority of people – whether it be “Gucci Gang” or “Kick, Push”. I’m still looking for mine haha

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Tell us the message you will like to pass to your fans out there.

The message I want to communicate is to be proud of yourself, your family, where you came from, and who you are; because nobody can do exactly what you can do.

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Tell the kind of advice you will give to an upcoming artist.

Growing up where being Asian was being a minority, I was exposed to racism and bigotry early on and internalized some as a child. As I got older, I began learning more about my own culture and people who have had similar experiences and began to feel a lot more comfortable with myself. Some advice would be to understand the perspectives of others, even those who antagonize you, and use that to further your own understanding of yourself and the world around you.

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Elaborate on your music careers, albums, songs, tours, recognition or awards you might have obtained.

The “Mooncakes” EP is my first official release and was a big accomplishment for myself. I’ve been going around doing a lot of shows in the Bay Area this year and recently sold one out in San Francisco. I’ll be releasing more songs in the coming year and set up a tour soon!

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List Radio or TV Stations that are airing your songs and blogs that have featured you as well and send message to them via this platform.

I’ve been featured on a few college radio shows: a few times on KZSC and KUSF; as well as a multitude of online blogs and local newspapers when my “Mooncakes” EP came out. I think one I have to thank a lot is Jackfroot, who have been very helpful in expanding my presence in the Asian American community.

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Tell us how you write your lyrics, compose, sing and record in the studio.

I usually produce a beat first and write around it. I try to write an hour every day, but most of what I write is “freestyle” non-topical shit that’s just a collection of wordplay. When I’m actually writing a song, I try to find a topic and use lines from these other sessions to help get points across.

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Name five biggest artists that you like.

Lil B for everything he’s done for the culture; Andre 3k for his incredibly deep verses; Wayne for his punchlines and cleverness; Curren$y & MF DOOM for their crazy flows; I also really like this new wave of hip-hop that’s pushing the boundaries of what hip-hop can be defined as.

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Name the artists you have collaborated with before in your songs or artists you are willing to collaborate with in the future if you have the chance to do so.

I’ve worked a lot with artists in my collective, Forever New Nation – Jordan Garrett, Dillon Daniel and FortuneTeller. I really want to work more with local bay area artists – but I don’t believe in working on features for the sake of having features and clout; I’d rather get someone in on a feature if they would really fit on the song and improve it.

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Give us the links to your website and your entire social network.

 Soundcloud

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

Website

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Give us the links to your various stores for fans to buy your music.

https://open.spotify.com/album/2oM6Oa4GoLe6M61c4loLPv

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/mooncakes-ep/id1290101618

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Tell us about your happiest day and saddest day.

 Honestly I’m a pretty positive person; I’ve never had a really really sad day or a really happy day. Sorry for the lame response, every day is just a blessing to be alive. I really believe that everything happens for a reason so that always cheers me up when I’m having a bad moment.

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Tell us how you will spend a million dollars.

 I’d help my dad pay off the mortgage on his house because he’s really struggling with that right now. Then I’d buy a pair of Tianjin Foams, Bape NMDs, a new chain with a buddha, and a down payment on a house for myself .😂


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