Chisun grew up in a small rural town in North Thailand but got to experience the sights and sounds of a multicultural landscape after his parents sent him to boarding school. “Because of the internet, a lot of music and pop culture references that I consumed as a kid were from the US. Naturally, they inspired me to learn English and fell in love with how poetic and relatable these songs are written,” noted the singer-songwriter.
Many of those poetic tracks are available now, including Chisun’s latest, “dance like a rock band star.” We talked about that, the Broadway feels and Disney dreams, and more in this back-and-forth exchange.
Kendra: You grew up around a lot of music, but the gospel aspect is the one I find most interesting because when I think of gospel, my mind instantly goes to the Southern states of the US. Was that the style of gospel you were introduced to as a kid? Would love to know how this genre varies internationally.
Chisun: I appreciate the editorial team for picking up these small details about my music. I wouldn’t say it’s traditional American Gospel music (although a lot of songs are from the Christian Hymn Book). But growing up in a boarding Christian school, I spent a lot of my childhood going in and out of churches. It also allowed me to learn piano and I was exposed to soulful music with wonderful choral lines. These things are embedded in my musical intuition and I believe it has a lot of influence on the way that I write my music.
Kendra: You started releasing music a couple of years ago. What pushed you towards taking that leap into being a musician?
Chisun: It was storytelling! Many songwriters shone the light on my broken soul through words and music. I hope one day I can do the same for other people. This may be a very cliche answer, but it’s something that I strive for as a songwriter. I hope having a different background would allow me to take a different angle to write about feelings.
Kendra: Right now people can hear an array of releases, including your latest, “dance like a rock band star.” Overall, it has this very Broadway feel to it. Have you thought of composing musicals?
Chisun: Oh wow that’s fun to hear, I never intended for the songs to give such a Broadway feel to them, but I was told frequently that my music usually gives out the same type of optimism as Walt Disney music (but electronic-based. I’m still trying to find out how that happened. I believe it’s probably because I’m naturally a hopeless romantic and love telling coming-of-age stories.
It has always been a dream of mine that if anybody ever wants to turn Thai local folklore into a musical, or if Disney itself has a South East Asian-themed musical/animation project coming up, they’d be kind enough to let me contribute. Writing something that paints vivid scenery like Broadway music will always be fun for me.
Kendra: If you were to create a musical based around your 2021 EP, ‘wild and nightly,’ who would you want to star in it as the leads?
Chisun: This is such an interesting question because I’ve never intended to turn any of my music into a musical-like work. ‘Wild and nightly’ is something that kickstarted my career and back then I made music by trial and error in my bedroom, never imagine that people would actually find their ways to listen to it.
To answer your question, I’m thinking of that movie called ‘Sing Street’ by John Carney. I think the protagonist Ferdia Walsh-Peelo would make a perfect cast. In ‘wild and nightly’ I also tried to explore a lot of darker but dreamy-themed music (hence the name ‘wild and nightly’) and I wrote about insecurity, child abuse, infatuation, and unspoken admiration. It’s just a really broad storytelling EP that I hope would be original enough to be adapted for a musical.
Kendra: It’s time for a side note: With it being spooky season, I’d love for you to share your favorite movie to watch around Halloween – could be scary, funny, or a little of both!
Chisun: I’m totally not a horror movie enthusiast, when I think of Halloween I think of parties and pumpkin latte, but to embrace the Halloween spirit I’d say it’s a good time for some thriller/horror. ‘Get Out’ is one of my favorite movies from this genre.
Kendra: Lastly, with “dance like a rock band star” out now, what do you have planned next? More new music before the year’s end?
Chisun: Yes totally! “dance like a rock band star” and my previous release “mint and ocean” are singles from my upcoming EP. The whole EP is themed to be soundtrack-like (it might be why you believe it gives out broadway feels). I am planning to drop the record soon and all the songs on this EP represent different seasons where “dance like a rock band star” is a summer song, and ‘mint and ocean’ represents spring. I hope that you can stay tuned to find out how I write about fall and winter!