It’s time to get real and talk about Rainbow Chan (no, its not a pseudonym). Rainbow is a Sydney-based solo artist who has just released her debut EP, Long Vacation. She’s kinda like Australia’s answer to Bjork. She’s unusual both musically and visually. Listing Chopin, Steve Reich and Justin Timberlake amongst her influences, Chan obviously has eclectic and varied taste (which I always respect). Her Chinese heritage has also played a part in influencing her sonically, with Long Vacation named after:
a 1996 Japanese soap that the Chan family watched together after moving from Hong Kong to Australia. Unable to understand the Japanese dialogue, and too young at six to read the Chinese subtitles, it was the the show’s soundtrack that resonated with Chan. In fact, she’s got a thing for all kinds of oriental populism; J Pop, old anime theme songs, Chinese folk music – these influences crop up in one way or another in her music – Who The Hell
She’s popped up at a welcome time in the Australian music scene too, and really stands out against her contemporaries. Whether naturally or artificially, successful Australian front-women have been fitting into two molds of late: a) the sweet, floral dress clad song-birds, or b) the dark, sexy, leather clad bluegrass rockers. Don’t get me wrong, both of these styles are legitimately great for women and for music, but its always nice to see something different emerge, isn’t it?
Rainbow Chan seems restless inside the confines of pop music and the traditional hallmarks of folk music. Breaking them is not a wanton action; it is a mathematical conclusion from the melting pot of disparate cultural components Rainbow has obviously been exposed to and exposed herself to. Considering Long Vacation itself was named after a mid-’90s Japanese soap opera, this particular pot is even deeper than it might seem – Mess + Noise
This year has been a big one for Chan, and with one Icelandic festival appearance and one VIVID collaboration with Karen O under her belt, she’s surely got good things ahead of her. I’m looking forward to hearing more from this fresh chick – and let me take this moment to say fuck yeah to paving new paths for female Australian artists.
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