Cehryl's new single angels (emily) is out now! We chat to the musician about the release and more.
Image: Jonny Ho.
Hong Kong based musician Cehryl recently released her latest single, angels (emily). The intimate track is raw and visceral, conjuring up feelings of warmth through the tracks sonics. The confessional and conversational lyricism showcases the musicians skill as as songwriter, narrated by her soft and delicate vocal performance. Complete with an ethereal soundscape, the song conceptually navigates reaching our for something, seeking approval and letting someone know you would change yourself to fit their mould.
A talented multidisciplinary musician, Cehryl writes, record, produces and mixes all of her release, also serving as her own engineer. Teaching herself how to play the guitar through YouTube tutorials, the singer bang to write love songs before exploring the production side of music through tertiary education.
angels (emily) is out now! Read our full interview with Cehryl below!
Tell us a bit about how you began your musical journey…
I learnt how to play guitar on Youtube, pretended I knew what love was when I was young and started to write “love songs”. I listened to a lot of folk and singsongwriter pop stuff growing up. Got more into production in college and eased my way (uneasily) into publicizing my music via Soundcloud.
Congratulations on your new release, we’re loving the new single! What prompted you to write Angels?
Thank you! Really appreciate it. Angels is vaguely about… the notion of reaching for something. It felt really stream-of-consciousness when I wrote it. Writing the song felt like asking, pleading the universe/god/whatever force to tell me what it is I had to do for all the things I wanted.
Angels features some stunning visuals to accompany your beautiful vocals. You worked on the editing of the clip, can you tell us a bit about the process of developing the track and the video?
Thanks! The animation actually took me a long time. I’m new to animation and I actually used Procreate to draw out every frame of the animated lyrics. I legit Airdropped myself 600+ hand drawn frames to slot into my Premiere file. There’s probably a more efficient way to animate. My computer suffered the consequences of me not knowing that more efficient way.
We love your remixes! Will there be a reprise or remix of Angels, what would that sound like and how do you go about creating these variations?
There may or may not be a remix of Angels… You shall see!
Overall the visuals that correspond with your work are another layer of detail that adds to your vision. How important are these visuals to you when it comes to conveying the story and meaning present on the track? And how does the evolution of the idea develop throughout its creation?
Visuals are really important for me, but they’re also difficult for me to come up with. I have such a strong mental moving picture of songs when I write them, usually fragments of my memories. So it’s hard to make a video based my memories. I’ve also just been making videos either myself or with one friend only (either Brian Mantra or Jonny Ho), as opposed to a whole crew, so I’m still trying to figure out the best way to communicate my visual ideas and execute proper films to parallel the imagery in my head.
Could you tell us a bit about your creative process when writing and recording songs?
I usually sit with a guitar in the quiet, late night. I have to be alone. I try to figure out a new chord or a new picking pattern. Sometimes, I use my computer as the accompanying instrument instead. But it usually always starts with an instrument, and then I figure some sort of structure out before trying to come up with words that fit the vague melodies outlined on top of the accompaniment. I try to audio record that whole time, so I don’t forget any ideas.
How do you feel your music speaks to listeners?
I wouldn’t really know… to each their own. I think my music is melancholic for the most part, so it probably makes people feel reflective or nostalgic? I hope my music makes people pay attention — either to the words or to whatever the words remind them of in their lives.
You hint that there will be more music coming soon, what can we expect next? Can you give us a hint if this includes a full length release?
EP coming soon. Spring 2021!
With everything that’s been happening in the world touring has changed, what are your 2021 touring plans, what can fans expect from a live show, and is there a chance we’ll see you performing in Australia anytime soon?
Honestly not sure about anytime soon, because of COVID-19. I have no touring plans but am hoping to at least do a couple more creative livestreams in the next few months!
Frank Ocean, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Alex G, Big Thief, Adrianne Lenker, Leonard Cohen, Alicia Keys, Amy Winehouse, Radiohead, The Strokes, Julian Casablancas.
All of the above.
Album that has had the most impact on you?
Placeholder answer: Radiohead’s In Rainbows.
How do you define your musical style in 3 words?
R&B, folk, moody.
Best song of 2020?
heavy focus by Adrianne Lenker.
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
Happy Together by Wong Kar Wai.
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
Is This It by The Strokes
The best/most memorable show you’ve ever performed?
My release party in June 2019 in LA!