Alan Chang, a Clarkliving client and close friend, is one of those people you don’t realize you already know. Perhaps that’s why his first solo album, Say What I Gotta Say, is so significant; we’ve all heard his work, but now we actually get a chance to listen to the guy.
Chang, an alum of USC’s Thornton School of Music, has spent the past decade and a half touring, performing, recording, producing, and writing with Michael Bublé. Chang is primarily a pianist and a composer, but he realized a couple of years ago that not being confident in his singing voice was problematic.
“I’d have a melody in my head that I knew was better than what was being thrown around, but I couldn’t communicate it well enough because when I tried to sing it…it just didn’t sound as good as the guys who could actually sing.”
Though the voice lessons came under the conscious guise of becoming a better communicator, the idea of branching out and doing his own thing was always in the back of Chang’s mind. With a very full career, he didn’t have the time or headspace to explore and produce his own music. But in the fall of last year, when Michael Bublé’s whole landscape changed because of his son’s sudden illness, the machine ground to a halt.
Chang took that time to retreat and reflect and put his energy into what he’d always wanted to do but never really had the time to complete. As a deadline-oriented professional, Chang found himself with no deadlines and plenty of time but had to figure out how to bring this theoretical album to life. A series of demo parties among his friends helped force him to have something to play for them, something to critique, something to keep working on.
Nearly a year later, the catharsis is complete and Say What I Gotta Say is a real live thing. If you’re expecting a Michael Bublé sound though, you may be disappointed.
“My friends have been referring to it as ‘punk piano rock with a budget,’” Chang jokes. He cites Ben Folds and Elliott Smith as the primary influences, but you’ll catch bits of his jazz background along the way, too. Why, “with a budget?” Perhaps because Chang is responsible for nearly every aspect of the album, though not really for monetary reasons. This is the passion project of passion projects and an experiment in becoming an auteur.
Say What I Gotta Say is available via iTunes and Apple Music. We’ve got it on good authority that Chang also has hard copies of the album available; contact us directly if you’re into that. Be sure to follow him Instagram @alanpchang .