Dailymotion Elevate: Alex Wong - "Dangerous Time" live at Cafe Bohemia, NYC
Alex Wong w/ Megan Slankard sit down for a One On One Session at Cafe Bohemia in New York. For more info visit: https://www.highceilingsmusic.com/music Audio & Video by: Ehud Lazin
The walls of Alex Wong’s intimate recording studio in Nashville, Tennessee are coated in chalkboard paint. Though they are wiped clean at the moment, they will soon be filled with a jumble of words and ideas that gradually forms the map of a new creative journey. A multi-talented artist, songwriter, instrumentalist, producer, and sometimes-chef, Wong has an innate inquisitiveness and introspection that lend him a unique ability to thread a story through seemingly disparate creative expressions and experiences. He patiently peels back the layers of each and charts his way to a common core.
Though he has a new full-length solo album, The Elephant and the Seahorse, and a two-act musical (The Paper Raincoat) forthcoming in 2019 – as well as a Latin GRAMMY nomination, multiple song placements in film and TV (The Last Song, The Lincoln Lawyer, Ray Donovan, and True Blood, among others), and a growing list of production credits with artists such as Delta Rae, Elizabeth and the Catapult, Melissa Ferrick, Ari Hest, Megan Slankard, and Vienna Teng – Wong still feels that it’s taken him a long time to learn what “feeling like him” actually means.
He tackles that very question on his forthcoming solo LP, The Elephant and the Seahorse, which finds Wong grappling with his complicated relationship to memory as it pertains to his identity. To bring the album to life in an authentic way, the artist had to mine his own fears of memory loss, experiences, and even cultural conditioning throughout the writing and recording process.
In making The Elephant and the Seahorse, Wong found himself directly addressing his upbringing as a second-generation Chinese-American for the first time in his artistic career – something he had been hesitant to do, partly because his cultural conditioning discouraged him from wanting to stand out too much.
On the new record, Wong offers the line, I miss the sound of my father’s Chinese fading in the suburban breeze. He admits it was one of the hardest lines to write, because he didn’t think anyone would understand that feeling. “Growing up, there was a lot of shame surrounding the idea of losing your culture to that of America, that somehow it was your fault for not holding on tight enough, when at the same time, there was a lot of pressure to assimilate,” he says. “We were taught that our experience as second- generation immigrants was not ‘the norm,’ and therefore not ’marketable’ in popular culture. Learning how to talk about those things and showing up as myself, without apology, felt absolutely necessary to moving to the next phase of who I am, both as an artist and as a person.”
For Wong, everything is fair game when it comes to creative discovery. He has synesthesia, which leads him t