Korean-American singer-songwriter & producer, Chancellor, has been a part of the Korean music scene for more than 2 decades now (debuting in 2010). The K-R&B singer is since then known not only for his musical versatility and chromaticism but also as a former member of the popular hip-hop group, Oneway. He is also the revered co-founder and former member of the producing duo, Duble Sidekick.
After a year-long hiatus where fans eagerly awaited his return, Chancellor came back with a bang, with ‘Automatic’ and its remixes in 2020. Collaborating with a lot of other talented artists for this, Chancellor showed his listeners a kaleidoscopic view of what K-R&B is all about.
Now, in 2021, the multi-faceted performer is back again with a self-titled album, ‘CHANCELLOR’ which pulls the listeners into a world full of classics, soft tones, groovy melodies, disco dance moves, and the unfiltered love for music that Chancellor has. In his interaction with KHIGH below, the artist shares his vision and passion for R&B, the inspiration and pressure of coming from a musical background, and more about what he hopes to convey to his fans through each release.
“I wanted to capture my memories in this album and show how I fell in love with music.” – Chancellor
Before we get into the interview, here’s a short message from Chancellor to the readers of KHIGH.
KHIGH: After surprising everyone with ‘Automatic Remix’ in 2020, 2021 seems to be a pleasing continuation. What did you have in mind as you worked it?
Chancellor: It’s been a long overdue project. I just wanted to give all I had and finally deliver an album. That was the only thing on my mind. The “Automatic Remix” was a fun experience and I hope to do more collaborations with my fellow K-RNB artists.
KHIGH: The EP is named after your own stage name; why did you decide to title it so?
Chancellor: Since I was young, I always wanted to do a self-titled album one day. So when I made an album that could fully represent me, it only made sense.
KHIGH: You have put emphasis on the need to understand R&B’s history and elements to appreciate and create R&B music. How do you picture the genre’s soundscape as?
Chancellor: You definitely have to understand it, but like anything else in the world, you have to study and learn it in order to improve. It’s a beautiful genre. You can be rough but soft at the same time. It can bring out so many emotions that other genres can’t.
KHIGH: ‘CHANCELLOR’ seems to be exploring a lot of different R&B sounds (infused by funk, disco) which makes the experience all the more enchanting. What is the inspiration behind this?
Chancellor: The inspiration comes from all the music I was influenced by, growing up. It’s really a collection or a playlist of some sort, like a jukebox. I wanted to capture my memories in this album and show how I fell in love with music.
KHIGH: The album has a lot of pre-released hits that resonated greatly with your listeners. Why did you decide to include them in this new EP?
Chancellor: I have 2 songs that came out as singles and they were always a part of this album. I just released them prior so that I can connect with my fans and give them a preview. But honestly, I didn’t think it was gonna take this long to finish (haha).
KHIGH: From the 80s vibes of title track ‘Midnight’ to the 60s vibes in ‘Walking In The Rain’, the intermingling retro aspect shines through. Is there a reason why the “Classic” appeals to you so much? What other styles would you like to try in the future?
Chancellor: I think it is always fun to bring back sounds from the past. After all, its styles are what inspired what we hear today. I am a bit of a traditionalist (although these days I try not to be) keeping a classic touch means a lot to me. But I definitely want to discover more styles and mix them up with my musical taste. By the way, my stepfather is from India and he is a musician. He always shares many sounds and different instruments of Indian music and I definitely enjoy them. Maybe I can collab with him on my next project 🙂 ?
KHIGH: The music video for ‘Midnight’ makes it just perfect to dance along to. How was it like dancing for an MV after so long? What were the reactions of your friends and fans like?
Chancellor: Surprised, without a doubt! It was a blast to shoot the video and I had fun dancing, even when I was practicing. It was so satisfying to see that you can actually get better and better with practice.
KHIGH: You have worked with a lot of different artists like Taeyeon, Younha, Gaeko, JUNNY, G.Soul, etc. How were those experiences and what is the one thing that you look for before joining forces?
Chancellor: My experience with any other artist is always a learning experience. Each time I learn something new and when the magic happens in the studio, that is probably the best feeling in the world. I think I seek some kind of a connection before collaboration. That always worked out for me.
KHIGH: You come from a family of musicians, with your father being a famous bassist, how would you say that influenced/ inspired your own musical journey?
Chancellor: There was always a pressure of that. And my family takes being a musician very seriously. It inspired me to work hard in order to get my respect. Having that professional attitude quickly helped me adapt to the real music world and stay focused.
KHIGH: Can you share with us any upcoming plans or future projects you are working on after this album? How are you thinking of wrapping up 2021, now that winter is upon us?
Chancellor: There were a lot of features and projects that were waiting for me. So now that I have finally released my new album, I think I’ll occupy myself with finishing them one by one.
KHIGH: Any message that you would like to convey to your fans?
Chancellor: I just want to, first of all, thank each and every one of my fans for waiting for the album, and always giving and sending me positive energy. My fans make me into a better musician every day and for that, I am blessed! Thank you for being with me on this journey.