What is there to know bout &Blue?
We were all actually students at University of California, Berkeley. We met through a Korean language class and had a couple of spontaneous jam sessions together. But it wasn’t until the opportunity of Kollaboration that we actually became a group! Our music mostly encompasses a stripped-down/acoustic style with an emphasis on rhythm & blues (hence the name: &Blue).
How has being part of Kollaboration helped you?
Given the amount of limited spotlight that Asian Pacific-Islander musicians receive today, Kollaboration provided an incredible platform for us to connect with other artists and perform in front of a live audience. Not only that, but it gave us the opportunity to sing what was in our souls and our songs. Even though it’s been two years since we debuted in Kollaboration San Francisco 4, Kollaboration continues to support us till this day.
Who inspires or influences you as artists/performers?
We all have a great number of musical influences. To name a few:
Johnny: Bon Iver, James Vincent McMorrow, DMB, Tommy Emmanuel, and Eric Clapton.
Patrick: Tori Kelly John Mayer, John Legend, Gabe Bondoc, Sam Smith and Jeremy Passion.
How as being Asian American affected you as a performer?
Considering that all memories and personal experiences influence every aspect of art/work, the multi-cultural lens through which we all have come to understand such experiences (by being Asian American) definitely shaped our content, style, and originality in Patrick’s writing. Culturally, we honestly wouldn’t have had it any other way.
How do you feel the music scene has changed since you first performed for Kollab?
Based on what we’ve heard on the radio, it seems like all you really need in a song is a good beat and a catchy hook to get people to listen. Unfortunately, we feel like heartfelt lyrics are harder to come by these days. However, artists such as Tori Kelly and Sam Smith (who give pure emotion through their personal songwriting) give us hope!
How do you feel the Asian American music scene has changed since you performed?
The Asian American music scene has definitely been making its way toward mainstream media. For example, several Asian American YouTube musicians and Asian American actors have recently been catching more mainstream media attention. Not to mention, television series such as “Fresh Off The Boat” have also been widely promoted with a focus on Asian American identity. In short, it’s a great step in the right direction!
What trends in today’s music do you like or dislike?
Johnny: EDM serves as good workout music. Otherwise, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of what I hear on the radio. I’m an oldie at heart!
Patrick: I enjoy the occasional heavy beat and EDM drop, but deep down, I’m much more of a piano-back or stripped-down acoustic guy.
If you could perform with one famous artist, who would it be?
Johnny: Eric “Slowhand” Clapton.
Patrick: Definitely Tori Kelly.
What does it mean for you to “Kollaborate” with other performers?
It gives us the opportunity to see each other’s strong points. The beauty in it is this: As you jam and play with other artists, their styles get influenced in your own music too, which keeps the evolution of music growing and endless. Not to mention, it’s just enjoyable jamming and hanging out with other fellow artists. We always look forward to it!
What can we expect from your “Kollaboration” with MelvinSings this year?
Hehe. Just be ready. You know we’re always gonna bring that “feel good, baby making music.”
How has the Bay Area shaped your music?
It’s helped us connect with “hella” good musicians. Haha! But actually, the Bay Area has always been such a pretty tight-knit community. Therefore, when meeting other musicians, their strengths and emotions have translated heavily into our music and our souls.
What does it mean for you to call the Bay Area your home?
It means getting awesome (but bi-polar) weather all the time! But honestly, the laid-back quality and diversity of the Bay Area make it irreplaceable. We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!
Do you have any words or advice for people who are considering whether or not to pursue their passion in entertainment?
Johnny: I’d say be both optimistic and realistic. Dream big and pursue your passion in entertainment, but be aware of the cost!
Patrick: Don’t be afraid to fail or pursue your dreams. Nothing truly beautiful or truly rewarding ever comes out of an easy experience.
What can we look forward to from you?
Just good music and good vibes!