Storyteller Chet Lam spent his childhood in Hong Kong’s gritty, inner city housing complexes with very little resources. As a gay kid growing up in a humble environment while trying to figure out where he fit in, he found solace in the poignant and poetic outlaw and brokenhearted narratives of 1970s Americana and country artists.
Chet also saw in USA roots music similarities with Chinese pop, as both brimmed with strong melodies, sensitive stories, and careful attention to lyrical detail. Now, after becoming a highly-respected artist in the Asian market, Chet hopes to bring a heartfelt fusion of East-West pop sensibilities to the Western Hemisphere.
“From a young age, I knew I was different, and it felt like music was a way out. Songs by Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, and Emmylou Harris were my escape and my education,” the globally-based artist says. “I noticed their theme of thriving in the face of hardships to also be very present in Chinese pop music.”
The globally renowned Asian pop and folk singer/songwriter recently released his newest folk pop album Back to the Stars Again, inspired by the world renowned and deeply loved classic book The Little Prince. The book turned 76 years old in 2022 and has been published in 250 languages. To this day, it remains poignant as it tells the story of a young prince who comes to multiple planets throughout the universe including earth and it touches on themes of love, loss, loneliness and friendship.
“I was always fascinated by the simplicity and the depth of this French classic,” says Chet. “I wrote these songs from the perspective of each character. The Little Prince is a romantic, of course, The Fox is simply a drama queen, The Rose is spoiled, The Ghosts are actually everyday people, The Snake is innocent… all characters coming together will be a life lived to the fullest.”
His unique and signature sense of storytelling draws from Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell, but it’s also quite similar to James Taylor or Simon and Garfunkel, the latter can also be heard in his voice. He blends folk tradition with pop ideas of synthetic sounds and tones to create a sense of aethereal space and airy melodies. He beautifully tells the story from different perspectives which provides a fresh take on the classic.
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