Tell us a bit about your musical and personal background. How did you get into singing in the first place?
I grew up on everything from Michael Jackson to Journey. My dad played the drums and sang when he was younger. Ironically enough, the drums were the first instrument I learned how to play as well. I played the drums in many bands growing up, both locally and nationally. Eventually, it led me to want to spread my wings creatively even more which manifested itself into singing. I had sung off and on throughout my career in music but about five years ago, my passion for being a vocalist blossomed so big that I couldn't ignore it any longer.
One of the very first songs I wrote for vocalkitchen was a song called "Coming Home" which later was released with some amazing producers, Envine and Inverze on Scantraxx. One of my absolute favorite parts about what I do is how international the collaborations are. You can write a song in your bedroom in Phoenix and a DJ from Amsterdam can pick it up and release it globally. You never know where your songs will end up or in whose hands they will fall into which is extremely exciting for me.
How did you first end up getting picked up by vocalkitchen (VK) and could you tell us how it has changed your day-to-day operations?
After I collaborated with Nino the first time, I went through sort of a trial period which is basically to make sure that my singing and songwriting were consistent and line up with vocalkitchen's vision of where they want to take things. Working with Allan and Alex from VK has been the most amazing experience of my life and has truly made me fall in love with being an artist more than ever before. They are truly like family and have helped me become the best possible version of myself. As far as changing my day to day operations, life for me has completely changed since joining the roster. Since starting with them, I've written over 200 songs, both my own and for other singer-songwriters. I try to write, record and produce at least 5 songs of mine a week so that I'm constantly growing as an artist and collaborating with as many amazing producers as I can.
What was it like working with KAAZE on "Better Than This"? Walk us through the creative process and timeline for the whole track.
I was in the studio with Nino and one of our best friends and fellow vocalkitchen singer-songwriter, Bryant Powell when I had an idea for the chorus. I remember I immediately left the room with an acoustic guitar to focus on refining it while they were working on another track. I came back in the room to show them the idea and they loved it, so we just took it from there. We ended the day with a fully written song and had even recorded my vocals for the first half. The original version of the song was just acoustic guitar and vocals, but I knew that we had something very special in our hands. I remember telling my manager Alex that I wanted to collaborate with KAAZE and asked if he could send him some of my available songs. Literally within 24 hours of Alex emailing him, I got a DM from KAAZE asking for my email to send me the first draft of "Better Than This."
How was your first experience at Dancefair and Amsterdam Dance Event?
I went to Dancefair with vocalkitchen in February of last year and it was such an awesome time! The place was filled with so many kind and talented DJs, producers, and industry professionals. It was hard to pick which of the moments stood out most to me. I remember thinking that Dancefair really started to put into perspective how global this genre really is. In October, I attended ADE with VK and it was absolute madness in the best possible way. We would be out from 9:00am to 2:00am every single day, meeting and connecting with as many people as we possibly could. I couldn't believe how much talent was out there and even more so at how many DJs were looking for singers to collaborate with. I remember leaving ADE so encouraged after having met producers that I had done songs with or ones that wanted to work together in the future. It was an awesome experience and I cannot wait to go back to ADE this year.
Where are you hoping to go from here? What goals do you have for 2019?
My main goal of 2019 is to collaborate with more producers than ever before and in doing that, hopefully have even more incredible releases under my belt. I have so many releases on the way already so I cannot wait to see what the rest of year holds and where this amazing journey will take me. I'm a true believer in hard work, consistency, and dedication to your art. If I continue at this pace, I feel like there is nothing holding me back from having all my dreams come true.
A huge thank you to Chad Kowal for taking the time to answer our questions! Please go and check out his social media pages for all the latest updates and new music!
Chris W. Lao
Writer, DJ, and Student.
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