CHIN’s album through me for a loop – a lovely loop I may add, but a loop nonetheless. I thought simply because of who he’s worked with (Dr. Dre, Nas, Talib Kweli, Busta Rhymes), his sound would be, well, hip hop. I was wrong. Though there are those hints and undertones, CHIN’s album is first and foremost an acoustic delight; it’s nothing short of beautiful, honest and hopeful.
By Kristin Kent
Kristin Kent: You’ve got an album coming out on April 6, how does that feel?
CHIN I’m really excited; I haven’t been the artist guy in a long time. I’ve been behind the scenes for the last few years producing records, learning the technology and techniques, everything that comes with that part of music. And I loved it, I still love it.
KK: Tell me about that switch.
CHIN When I came to do my record, I put away all that stuff. Usually when I record with people, they want the biggest hook, the biggest drum sound, the biggest keyboard sound, the latest sound, the latest of everything. So for me, when I came to put out my own record, I made a conscience effort to make it me and an acoustic guitar first. What you’re hearing is me with a guitar in my hand and a mic. After that, I put little tidbits here and there. And that’s how I detached my self, detached myself from technology, from mindsets, from what a hit is, what they thing a record should be, how to market it. All of it. To be honest, I recorded this for myself. I didn’t matter to me if people would still listen to my shit, none of it mattered. I was going through a lot in my life. My dad had passed, lots of personal changes and it takes a long time for some artists to find themselves. I’m one of those people. To make this record, I really had to humble myself. I was like, ‘Chin, it’s about a message, sharing a part of your life you never share, it’s about being vulnerable, getting ready to hear people tell you you’re shit and also get ready for people to say they like what you do.’
KK: I always find the best art comes through when you just don’t give a shit and do it for yourself.
CHIN I hope so.
KK: Did you find the courage to lay yourself on the line while making the album, or did it come before and you simply said, ‘that’s it; I’m making my own record’?
CHIN I put the courage into the songs, but I don’t think I would have been about to do it if I hadn’t lived that way, if that makes sense. Some of the people I work with are legendary, some are not. The ones who really affected me are the ones afraid to be themselves, on tape and off tape. So I just put myself out there, nothing to lose.
KK: The end result is beautiful, and hopeful to me.
CHIN You said the word, hopeful. If people get anything from this record, it’s hope. I’m a hopeful dude, you know? I’ve come close to death, I have got a disability, I work a little harder for the simple things like climbing stairs or walking on ice. I’m an optimistic cat and wanted to put that in my music. Honestly, I don’t have a lot to be upset about.