Featurette with Ch’An

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Photo provided by Cha’an. Photography by Kenny Theysen.

Ch’an is a Barbadian singer hailing from the parish of St. Philip and brand ambassador for local music streaming site Selecta Charts. After giving a show stopping performance as a spotlight artist in 2016’s Mahalia’s Corner season with her rendition of Sia’s “Chandelier”, Ch’an was invited back to perform later that year in the Mahalia’s Corner Christmas Special as the featured artist. There too she wowed the crowd with what we described as “soulful, jazzy renditions of well known Christmas songs with a twinge of Caribbean flavour” in our review of the night. Not only did she give an encore performance of “Chandelier” and her original song “My Story”, she also performed the song that is the topic of discussion today: “Body.”

Last November she released “Body” as a single along with a sensual music video which co-starred local up and coming male model Emmanuel Tyson. To date, the video has over 3400 views on YouTube and the single hasn’t fallen out of the top ten on Selecta Charts since it debuted, even topping the charts at number one at one point. With all of the success the single has seen, we invited Ch’an to talk to us about it. And she obliged.


Zeitgeist: What was the response to the music video for “Body” like?

Ch’An: The response has been great. Very organic. I haven’t really launched my marketing campaign for it as yet. It’s just been thousands of people watching and sharing. That was beyond my wildest dreams.

Z: How did you come up with the creative for the video?

C: I saw the Timothy Bloom video with V Bozeman: ‘Til The End Of Time,’ as well as John Legend’s video for ‘Made to Love,’ and thought that I’d like to do something similar as a central idea but with other visuals supporting that theme. I had an idea for an Adam & Eve concept that evolved into what you see now. When I communicated with the director, Clish Gittens, and the rest of the Movement Film Collective team they took what I had in my head and made it so much better.

Z: How was the production process?

C: This was my first time tackling a music video from concept to finish. Let me say it was a wild ride. If it wasn’t for this collection of people I’m sure I would have fallen way short of my vision rather than surpassing it. My manager Mosi Daniel, then just one of my more actively supportive friends, was like: “No girl, let me help you get this done properly.” He swooped in and outted a few potential fires. I owe special thanks to him and his company Riptide Music Group, Travis Springer and the owners and operators: Roger Moore and Sanna Allsop of Parachute Film Studios who really went out of their way to help make sure the vision came off. I must thank The Movement Film Collective and my LavaLamp brothers for pouring some sweat into the vision too. I know we had Jason Russell pulling out some hair in that editing room!

“Body” video shoot behind the scenes photo.
TOP ROW – Mosi Daniel (Manager), Ch’An, Emmanuel Tyson, Jason Russell (Editor, Movement Film), Xavier Jhon Clair (LavaLamp Media Group), Roger Moore (Parachute Film Studios)
BOTTOM ROW – Clish Gitten (Director, Movement Film), Melanie Grant (First Camera, Movement Film), Vonley Smith (Second Camera, Movement Film).
Photo provided by Ch’an. Click for full sized image.

Z: What inspired you to write the song?

C: All of my writing is based on real life things. I fell hard, it didn’t wind up being something that could work and I was TORN UP girl! “Body” was me focusing on the fact that the pain I felt came from something beautiful – that the ugliness of it all was just the absence of that beauty. I guess I just wanted to feel the good bits again, even if it was just for 5 minutes, you know?

 

Z: Do you usually write your own music?

C: Well I’ve only just recently reclaimed the steering wheel of my career. So now I’m doing all [of] my writing and telling my story the way I’ve always wanted to. Before I had made this giant move, I had the pleasure of working with Rupert Gayle of CRS Music and Bobby and Sammy of Kuya Productions. These guys were the first people to ask me what I wanted to talk about with my music when it was time to write. It was so novel. We’ve kept in touch and they have continued to encourage me to self-express. So now I’m very involved in the writing. I do still collaborate but most of the things you’ll be hearing from me are my own songwriting. “Body” was a 15 minute song at 3 am. I was home, alone in my room. I think that’s an okay formula, no? Lol.

“Body” Cover Art by Selman Designs. Art provided by Ch’An,

Z: You mentioned on your page that it took two years of work. Why did it take so long?

C: I was mostly kidding with that statement LOL! It was only a year and a little bit. I think because I wasn’t trying to rush the process and honestly, I also had a lot of fear that it wouldn’t be well received. It’s not matching the tempo and energy of current music so I felt like people wouldn’t connect with it but the joke was on me, it turns out this is for the baby makers and those who just enjoy practicing lol!

Z: Denzil “Diggs” Bovell produced the song, what was it like working in the studio with him?

C: Diggz, Xavier Jhon Clair and myself had already created LavaLamp Media Group (a music production and songwriting business) together so the synergy was already there by the time I finally put “Body” down in the vocal booth. I met Diggz for the first time earlier last year through Jody Smith – I was delivering on a promise to do some background vocals for Jody’s song ‘Believe’ – and just liked his energy and production quality immediately. I listened to some other things he had worked on and looked him dead in the eye and said: “You’re my producer now. You know that right?” We’ve probably seen each other or spoken to each other every week since then. That’s my li’l brother now; studio with him is always good energy. Egos stay at the door and it’s all about the music.

Z: How do you feel now that it’s finally finished and out?

C: Honestly, I feel silly for being so scared in the first place. I feel grateful because really it was a whole squad that made the entire thing possible. You can follow my hashtag on [Instagram] to see all of the #BodySquad in action. I’ve got more cool [behind the scenes] stuff to drop on you soon. I also feel excited because “Body” was just the beginning, an introduction of sorts to what I want people to expect from me. I want you to feel the authenticity, the connection, the feel good vibes – everything. And I feel like “Body” was a great place to start. Now that it’s out, I just feel blessed. Scratch that – I know I’m blessed.

“Body” video shoot behind the scenes photos.
RIGHT: Model Emmanuel Tyson, Director Clish Gittens, Ch’An.
MIDDLE: Editor Jason Russel, Director Clish Gittens
LEFT: Ch’an, Model Emmanuel Tyson.
Photos provided by Ch’An.
Click for full size image.

Z: Have you always wanted to pursue a career in music? How did you get into it?

C: I’m every cliche there ever was about a singer: I grew up in the church and sang solos there. I joined my school choir at both primary and secondary school and was a soloist in both places, I sang at just about every wedding and family function, I sing in the shower (this is very therapeutic and I recommend it even if you “can’t sing”) – I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t singing. I would’ve ended up here regardless I think. But I can still thank Steffan Burgess (now of REI Fashion Academy) for giving me my first paying gig; he heard me singing in the hallways of UWI and booked me for the St. Philip Trade Show. I’ll never forget it when he said: “So the budget small so we can only manage $150. That could work for you? And I said “Wait you gonna pay me?” He said “Of course, never ask that again. Always ask how much.” He turned my hobby into a business opportunity – THANK YOU STEFFAN!

Z: Should we expect a new album from you soon?

C: Yes please. An EP though, not a full length album! Keep your eyes peeled for new music dropping on Selecta Charts first and keep an eye on my social media platforms too. There’s a website – https://www.chanbarbados.com/ –  now so you can get news first there!

Z: When next can we see you perform?

I do a lot of private performances at the moment, but I’m always ready to hit a stage near you so check the website which has public performances posted and is super up to speed on everything. My instagram (@chanbarbados) is also another great place to find out where I’ll be. In the meantime though, if you want to book me it’s super easy. Shoot my management an email at riptidemusicgroup@gmail.com. He’s very prompt with answering those emails – it’s like he doesn’t sleep! Lol.

Photo provided by Ch’An. Photography by Kenny Theysen. Click for full size image.

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About The Author

An avid reader who accidentally discovered her love and talent for writing and has loved movies for as long as she has been watching them. Stumbled into film-making and found her second love because she decided to read for a degree in it on a whim - kind of.