Our interview with Ansa GaRangDengZhen (Zen), the Tibetan singer/songwriter and producer featured with the uniquely impactful track “Alaye.”
“Alaye” presents a wholly unique sound, integrating soaring vocal theatrics with a hypnotic rhythmic thump and world music instrumentation. What is the track’s overall themes and/or inspirations?
The lyrics of the song are basically “to praise the mother’s love and the child’s respect for his mother by using the light of the sun and moon to shine selflessly on the earth and warm the world.”
So the theme of this song is: Hope and gratitude?
The inspiration for the creation comes from: the ancient folk melodies handed down from generation to generation in Tibetan areas of China for thousands of years. I like them very much. I myself have been exploring how to combine old classic folk melodies with modern pop elements to create a particularly unexpected effect that can be understood and accepted by people from different cultural backgrounds. So I made this piece, and I’m going to make more like it.
As a Tibetan singer/songwriter, what unique elements of Tibet’s culture, spirituality, and/or general philosophy has influenced your work as an artist?
Yes. There are many elements of Tibetan culture that have a strong influence on me. I am a Tibetan in China. I grew up in Tibetan culture. My parents taught me to be a kind person, to be friendly to others, to be grateful, and to give more. Therefore, most of my works praise nature, advocate peace and tranquility, encourage people to live an active life, face difficulties and setbacks bravely, and deliver positive energy.
Your philanthropic work is amazing; you’ve helped raise funds for stem cell research, earthquake relief, leukemia, the International Children’s Fund, and more. Do you have any particular political ambitions, or are you content as an artist?
Thank you for your affirmation and encouragement of my charity work. I actively participate in various charity activities and use my own music to help people in need. I have gained a lot and I am very grateful.
I am very satisfied with my own pure music creation, hoping to transmit and spread the ancient and excellent Chinese folk music through my music, so that more people can know and like it.
Do you have a specific process or ritual when creating new music?
In fact, in retrospect, there seems to be no particular process or ritual. But EVERY morning after I get up, I will burn incense, chant sutras, meditate, sit quietly, read a lot of materials related to Tibetan culture and music and so on. The creation process of each song is different.
Any favorite artists or albums you’re listening to at the moment?
Now I pay attention to and listen to the new trend pop music, also listen to the music of some very folk artists, and listen to the monthly chart music every year to gain popularity. All kinds of good and excellent music elements are my learning materials.
My favorite singer and musician: Michael. Jackson; Yanni, Enya, and folk artists in China’s ethnic areas
If you could collaborate with any artist, alive or dead, who would it be?
I would choose working with Michael. Michael Jackson, his voice was great and he has a spirit in his music for helping people; I will also choose to cooperate with Justin Bieber and Adele, our different styles of musical expression can create a very special effect.
What do you find is the most satisfying part of being an artist?
The most satisfying thing is that I have fun every day in the process of making music. I am a very simple person, I am really happy to live in the world of music every day. It makes me feel valuable to see that my music can be liked or make the audience feel good.
What is the biggest challenge you find in today’s music industry?
The biggest challenge is that a lot of good music has not been discovered? there are many great artists out there .
Another challenge is the impact of the pandemic on many musicians’ performing careers? it makes it especially hard to start a career in music
What’s upcoming for the project?
I am busy preparing for my solo “Love & Peace concert” in Vancouver, Canada on August 13 next month. A future performance in New York is also planned.
New music will be released in early 2023; Meanwhile, I plan to write a book to record the culture, history and stories behind each of my works.