Be Alright is out now!
North London creator Sam Tsang recently shared his debut single under his new musical project, Congee. We caught up with the musician to chat about Be Alright, the songs visual, his artistry and so much more!
Having written and collaborated with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Sigrid, Maisie Peters and Griff, Be Alright showcases the musicians own talents not only as a writer, but as a vocalist and rapper. The track navigates Tsang's relationship with his mother, playing out atop a textural soundscape heralded by minimoog synth lines.
Could you tell us a bit about your background in music and what led you to pursuing a career in music?
When I was younger my mum used to take me to her church where everyone spoke Chinese. I had no idea what was going on because I didn’t understand what they were saying. I would get so bored the only one part I enjoyed was when everyone started singing together and the guitarist would play. I begged my parents to get me a guitar which eventually they did and i would sit in my room for hours trying to play songs off ultimateguitar.com. A few years after I went to college for guitar. I found myself in a production class. The idea that you could make your own music on the computer blew my mind. I downloaded a cracked version of Fruity Loops and started producing my own songs (they were very bad), I’ve never really stopped from that point on.
Your debut single Be Alright explores the relationship between you and your mother and the reassurance she provides. What prompted you to document that relationship dynamic on the track and how important was it for you?
My mum was born and raised in China. I was born and raised in the UK. I don’t speak Chinese and my mum’s English isn’t great. There’s always been a language barrier in our relationship. I know so many people that have similar experiences like mine and I wanted to write this song to connect us all.
The song exists within a textural, dynamic alt-pop realm. What led you to the sonic exploration we hear on the track and can you give us some insight into your creative songwriting process?
Usually how I start songs is I would go on a hunt for sounds or textures that I find interesting. With Be Alright, I was borrowing a minimoog synth at the time and was playing with it for hours. Eventually I made the sound for the synth lead at the beginning of the song then put some chords under it and went from there.
The track arrives alongside an official visual. How important are the visuals for you in terms of representing the thematic exploration of the song and the visual identity of your music?
Hugely important. It's all about world building for me.
How involved are you when it comes to conceptualizing and developing the visuals?
Very.. I can be a bit of a control freak. I worked with my close friend and amazing illustrator Calum Heath on the visuals for “Be Alright”. We went to school together and he has seen me through this whole journey. He was actually the first person that encouraged me to start my own artist project. It made sense to me that he would be the right person who could help realise what I had in my head. For Be Alright we would sit for hours going over concepts and ideas.. After many bad ideas we came up with the concept for the “Be Alright” video. I ended up directing and editing the video.
What’s your favourite scene from the music video?
I love the last scene before the credits. It’s the one where the camera zooms out revealing the board in the space.
What’s one line from the song you find at times can be stuck in your head? Or a line that you come back to?
“I know you used to pray that we could speak without the barriers”
If Be Alright was a piece of pre-existing visual art, which artwork would it be?
The Great Wave - Hokusi
You’ve produced and collaborated with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Sigrid, Maisie Peters and Griff. How have you approached working on your own material that may differ to working on songs for other artists?
A lot more overthinking.
What can we expect from you in 2022? An album or an EP perhaps?...
6 track EP.
Frank Ocean, Bon Iver, Kanye, Tyler The Creator.
Album that has had the most impact on you?
Frank Ocean - Blond.
How do you define your musical style in 3 words?
Explorative, introspective & honest.
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
Any Studio Ghibli film.
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
What was the first song you loved to sing?
Radiohead - Weird Fishes.
A song you would love to cover on tour?
Godspeed - Frank Ocean.
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
Bon Iver - 22, A Million .
First concert you went to?
A friend’s band.
Would you rather be a Spice Girl or a Backstreet Boy?
If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?
Most memorable show you’ve ever performed?
Probably my first show which hasn’t happened yet.
Guilty music pleasure?
Sound of Music soundtrack. Was my grandad’s favorite musical.
If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.
What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?
Take each day as it comes.
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
When I produced my first song.
Be Alright is out now!