Allen Ling's Musical Journey

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Allen Ling's Musical Journey

Saturday, 23 March 2024 | SAKSHI PRIYA

Allen Ling's Musical Journey

Allen Ling and Flipsyde Guitarist Dave Lopez need no introduction. Allen's recent Tour of Asia was a huge success. Despite his music career starting only last year, the American-Chinese artist has swiftly climbed the charts with his acclaimed Heartbreak Trilogy. In an exclusive interview with SAKSHI PRIYA from the Pioneer, Allen shared the story behind his track Closer and his collaboration with Dave Lopez while Dave shared his experience working with Allen

Could you share your experience touring Asia, particularly your recent performance in Mumbai? 

Dave and I, we both love people. We are big extroverts. To see so many people are coming here to watch was great. But I have got to say, the traffic is a little unnerving. Cars were driving super close to each other, yet somehow no accidents happened. It was pretty nerve-wracking but also kind of impressive.

Have you had the chance to explore any Indian delicacies, such as the famous Mumbai street food, Vada Pav?

I did try some Indian cuisine cautiously. I sampled a delicious Masala Dosa, a crepe filled with mashed potatoes, which was fantastic for morning breakfast. However, I am quite conservative with my food choices, so I did not try much else beyond that.

Allen Ling, your recent single, Closer, has garnered significant attention worldwide. Can you share some insights into the inspiration behind the song and its creation process?

I actually wrote Closer 12 years ago, and Dave got to hear it only four or five years ago. Last year, we decided to give it a whole new spin. Dave added layers with his guitar skills, and I re-recorded the vocals, giving it a fresh feel. Dave is not just the guitarist but also the producer behind every song you hear from us, which adds a unique touch to our music.

Dave Lopez, as a member of the internationally acclaimed band Flipsyde, what drew you to collaborate with Allen Ling on his latest single Closer? How was your experience working together on this project?

He is a great guy and it was fun and an easy collaboration because we do not step on each other's ideas. I come up with melodies and also what he is doing because he does play the guitar and I do not have to worry about anything. So it is a very easy and natural collaboration.

Allen, your journey from being a physical therapist to a chart-topping artist is truly inspiring. How do you believe your background has influenced your approach to music?

Being raised by Asian parents, there's a certain formula for life expectations where you are supposed to pursue a career for the family, which does not leave much room for your own self-expression. Now, I feel much more mature and pleased that my parents got what they wanted from me, which is kids, and they see me flourishing as a business person. However, I also have to please myself. Having Dave in my life has helped me channel a lot of energy into creating. He pushed me to a point where I can share more because I used to hide in the studio, tweaking my music and keeping it to myself. Dave encouraged me to perform and sing all my songs. I doubted myself, thinking I am not that good, but Dave asked me to rehearse until I got better. You really need someone like Dave in your life because if you do not have someone pushing you every day to become better at something, you will never improve; you will stay the same.

Dave, Flipsyde has a diverse musical style that blends elements of hip-hop, rock, and pop. How do you see Allen's music fitting within this musical landscape, and what unique contributions do you think he brings to the industry?

For me, good music is the priority. I always try to do what I like naturally; it is not forced. I receive offers all the time, but if I am not feeling it, it is hard to do things just for money or fame. If it doesn't make me feel good, then it's not going to be good, and that's my philosophy. I have never been a rich guy, and I am used to being normal. People say, "If you do this, you'll become famous and make more money," but I think it will make you miserable. So, I don't worry about that. I believe music is timeless. I respect music so much that I believe you have to do something you feel good about and love because even when you are no longer on this earth, your music will still be here, so you will still be here. I still listen to Jimi Hendrix and John Legend. They're not here, but their music is still with us. You can make lots of money with bad music that no one cares about, so you have to take it seriously because that's the only way you leave a mark. Once you release a song, it remains forever.

Allen, with the release Closer, you have also launched not one, but two video versions, adding to the cinematic experience. Can you tell us more about the creative process behind these videos and the vision you had for each?

We actually released a total of four music videos. I chose not to enter them into any festivals, including the music video contest, but surprisingly, the first two videos won hundreds of awards, including dozens in India, which was a shock to me, but also made me very happy. There are several reasons why I chose to focus on India. I believe my art is appreciated here. I have an animation company in Bengaluru that creates my comic book cartoons, and Dave encouraged me. He said that people appreciate me more in India than in the US, so I should start my career here. Since Dave has experience here, I decided to follow his advice. It's important to seek advice from those who have relevant experience.   

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