Chai Chang talks ‘New Reality’, social media and the price of fame

With a stellar debut single under his belt and the promise of more music in the wings, Chai Chang is just getting started. 

There’s something effortlessly infectious about Chai Chang’s latest single New Reality. Released late last month, the dance-pop single stands as a masterclass in sonic confection, brimming with sugary tunes, dazzling synths and pristine production. 

So earwormy are the ascendent melodies and EDM rhythms that New Reality has been humming in this writer’s head for weeks, with the track’s incisive commentary on social media serving as the cherry on top of a technicoloured cake. 

Chai Chang interview

Fresh off the release of New Reality — and with new material in the works — we caught up with Chai Chang for a deep dive into the new single, technology, and the influence of K-pop bands like BTS.

Catch our full interview with Chang below, and scroll down to listen to New Reality. 

HAPPY: What are you up to today?

CHANG: Finished my dance practice and now just in the middle of working on my uni assignment.

HAPPY: Tell us about where you are from? What’s the scene like in your neck of the woods?

CHANG: I grew up in Hong Kong and I have been passionate about music and fashion since my childhood. My cultural background affected my development and how I formed my own identity.

There was a traditional thinking that we had to study hard at school, achieve good results and after graduating from the university, we had to look for a stable job in large organizations and gradually climbed up the ladder.

So at that period, pursuing a career as a singer had always been just a dream, something that was not achievable.

Chai Chang interview

HAPPY: Describe an average day?

CHANG: I start the day off by having a breakfast, followed by exercising in a gym. I normally eat take away for lunch like a healthy burger or beef with rice.

In the afternoon, I would either work on my uni studies or music-related tasks. I would cook for dinner at home and after that it would be a great time to surf the internet, watch Youtube or play video games. 

HAPPY: Congratulations on the release of your debut single, “New Reality”! Can you share the inspiration behind the song and what motivated you to explore the theme of technology and social media?

CHANG: Nowadays, people spend lots of time using and swiping their mobile phones. But sometimes it’s hard to tell whether the information is actually valid or tells the truth. The concept of ‘perfection’ on social media also changes how we think and do.

We want to look good on social media so we can attract peers to like us. Just like what the lyrics in the song state: ‘If I blurred my face until I’ve got no pores, maybe they can see that I am beautiful’ and ‘You know that I would do anything it takes to get my 5 seconds of fame’. 


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A post shared by Chai Chang (@chaichangofficial)

HAPPY: Can you walk us through a typical day in the studio when working on this debut single?

CHANG: I never had the formal chance to learn about singing and dancing when I was young. Before stepping into the studio for the first time, I created a concept and wrote a music proposal.

Then I invited my song writer and producer to work on the song’s arrangement and direction collaboratively. I would say the process was very tough with lots of challenges because “basically everything was new to me’. After all, it was worth all the effort!

HAPPY: The song incorporates a wide range of electronic elements. Were there any specific artists or genres that influenced the sound and style of “New Reality”?

CHANG: I always loved listening to strong beat dance and electronic songs and I admired singers who could both sing and dance in music videos and on stages. Therefore I had been inspired by them to release a dance song and came up with “New Reality”.

Chai Chang interview

HAPPY: You mention drawing influences from both K-Pop and C-Pop. Can you share some of your favourite artists or songs from these genres that have impacted your music?

CHANG: I am always inspired by singers from C-Pop and K-Pop such as CoCo Lee and BTS. Coco Lee has been one of my biggest musical influences for years. She was the first Chinese pop singer who performed at the Oscar Award back in 2001.

She devoted her entire music career to bringing music of all kinds including both English and Chinese songs. She was an amazing performer on stage, both singing and dancing.

This impacted me to pursue a career in music, and to integrate English and Chinese music, whether the audience are from the East or the West.

HAPPY: “New Reality” delves into the omnipresence of technology and the pursuit of fleeting moments of fame. How do you personally navigate the balance between your online presence and your authentic self?

CHANG: “Being real” is what I have been doing and what I will continue to do. As I am a new independent artist, it is very important to be authentic and sincere about bringing my music to the wider audience.

There is no need for me to look perfect on photos or videos as no one is indeed perfect. Just be myself and real.

HAPPY: The track’s production is notably polished and dynamic. How did you work with the producers to achieve the specific sound and atmosphere you envisioned for “New Reality”?

CHANG: Specifically, for my debut song “New Reality”, I would like to have a strong dance and electronic beat with a rap part and a dance break.

We discussed and decided to sing in both a softer and harder tone throughout different parts of the song to make it sound more vivid.

Chai Chang interview

HAPPY: What message or feeling do you hope listeners will take away from “New Reality” after they’ve experienced it?

CHANG: Sometimes it’s hard to decide what’s right and what’s wrong on social media so after listening to “New Reality”, it’s a good timing for the audience to pause and think about it.

And I want to point out that this is the new reality and the song ends with the line “welcome to the new reality”.

HAPPY: Looking ahead, do you have any specific musical goals or aspirations for the future? 

CHANG: I am currently working on my second and third singles. The second single would be a Chinese ballad song and the third one would be a dance type song in English.

I am happy to keep releasing singles in the coming year and my longer-term goal is to release a full album, with a mix of both English and Chinese songs.

But for now, first I have to gain more experience in the music industry and develop a clear music direction for my target audiences.


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A post shared by Chai Chang (@chaichangofficial)

HAPPY: Lastly, what makes you happy?

CHANG: Having a good sleep every day, staying healthy and spending time with family and friends make me happy. And of course, music and fashion too!