Alan Z

Boston Chinatown Blog had the opportunity to interview up and coming hip hop artists out of Atlanta... Alan Z.

BCB: How would  you describe your upbringing?

Alan Z: I moved around a lot as a kid...England...Singapore..Maryland. When I was in Maryland I was bullied for being the only Chinese kid in a black and Hispanic neighborhood....then when I move to Seattle, I was picked on by the white kids in school for hanging out with the black kids and having a passion for hip-hop (which they found weird and abnormal). Rap was my cathartic outlet sing the age of 12 and later on I began to sing when I was 15 mainly because I wanted girls to like me. And it worked when I moved to Atlanta after I graduated high school.

BCB: So ow did you and your group get into music? Did you know each other beforehand?

Alan Z: I'm not in a group; I've always been a solo artist. If you're referring to Jason Chu and I , we joined forces for the first time this year to make  "Yellow Diddy."

We knew each other for about 5 years, but it was only now that we collaborated on a song. I'm sure we will work on more songs together. But we are still very much solo acts.

BCB: Can you tell me about the story telling aspects of your videos?

Alan Z: With the exception of "Yellow Diddy" I wrote the video treatments and co directed all my music videos. I've always had a knack for storytelling and painting vivid imagery in my songs. Which allow me to translate it onto film. My music video "Distance" for instance, depicted a toxic relationship I shared with an ex-girlfriend. My upcoming music video "Touch and Go" follows my journey "home" to my current situation while encountering old flames on the way... which sparks flashbacks of previous times with each girl.

BCB: What's it like being Asian in Atlanta?

Alan Z: There's not much of an Asian community here and you deal with occasional ignorance. But for me, Atlanta is home. I didn't grow up having many Asian friends anyway, so the lack of Asians didn't stop me from immersing myself in the culture and befriending others who shared the same aspirations. It was actually pretty easy for me to bond wit people in Atlanta over music, film and battle rap. I actually think I faced more racism in Seattle then here. (Atlanta) In places like the Northwest where there are more Asians (and more white people), it seems they're more open to saying slick offensive remarks about us in a passive aggressive manner.

BCB: Ever been to Boston's Chinatown?

Alan Z: I've never been to Boston's Chinatown, but I would love to. To be completely honest, I wasn't aware that Boston had a Chinatown and I've never been to Boston, so I'm interested in visiting sometime.

BCB: What are your plans for the future?

Alan Z: I'm getting ready to drop my first official EP "First Time's the Charm on October *, which is also my birthday.

BCB: (An "EP" is an extended play record.)

Alan Z: Pre orders will be made available soon on the same day that my EP's lead single "Touch and Go" will be released. I plan to film more music videos for songs on my EP and perform in different cities to spread the word, and I have a few acting projects in the works as well.