Dance pop singer and songwriter, Red Tan, has cultivated a platform to express herself through the beauty of music. Tan, who is a young mother and widow, has overcome the most unexpected circumstances to see herself compete and win two medals at the World Championships of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, and write songs to encourage and uplift others despite whatever challenges they face.
Having studied and performed music since the age of 16, Tan has performed as a jazz singer in Manila, Dubai, Guam and Malaysia. Although she lost her beloved husband in 2010, it was his encouragement that led her to continue her pursuit of music, to this day. After his sudden passing, she decided to continue what her husband encouraged her to do; she competed against other artists from 60 countries, winning two medals. She also continued her training for musical masterclasses in London, and has performed at the famed O2 Arena as a grand finalist in Open Mic UK.
Tan will release her debut EP, Don’t You Dare, which is dedicated to her late husband, this fall, and she took some time to chat with us about the writing and recording process of it, how music and songwriting helps her heal, working with her engineer and mentors, Luke Adams and Chris Grayston, and her music favorites.
Watch Red Tan’s new music video for her single “Don’t Let Go!” below:
You’re gearing up for the release of your debut EP, Don’t You Dare, dedicated to your late husband. Can you tell us the writing and recording process for it?
“Don’t You Dare” is composed of all my sentiments in the past year put together to create a very honest track. I was alone in a place very unfamiliar to me when I wrote and recorded that song. Luke Adams aka St Luna created the music first. I was there in the River Studios the whole time he was doing it to make sure that he’s getting the sound that I want. He actually surpassed my expectations. His music was stronger than what I have expected and I really like it. I remember being excited writing the lyrics for it.
How does music and songwriting help you heal in life’s circumstances?
I used to sing covers a lot before I had my son and it’s a good way to relax and forget about troubles. After the passing, I started to put into writing all my sentiments and this helps me shut down the world and focus on what lies ahead. Writing, singing and listening to music is a great way to strengthen my coping skills. Music is a salvation to me personally and I would like it to be a salvation to my fans and supporters as well. Especially to those who are ignored, misjudged and rejected, to those suffering from mental health issues, and to those who are fighting their own battles.
How did you get connected with your engineer and mentor, Luke Adams (St Luna) and Chris Grayston, and what has it been like collaborating with them?
At first I was apprehensive. After being in the studio with them, we clicked and worked really well together. We exchange ideas and for me, I had so much fun learning. They taught me a lot about my music and my voice, which is the best route to take, and helped me show my potential. It was a great experience and helped me continuously develop myself and make improvements.
You just recently released your music video and single for your inspiring and anthemic, “Don’t You Dare.” What was the atmosphere and interaction like working on the video?
The filming of the video was so much fun! I was first not sure what to do as it was my first music video, but once I got there, the team was really professional and they made me feel at ease. Lora explained each step to me and the process and I was involved in every step of the way. The dancers helped me as I was very nervous but the result was amazing, I was so self-conscious about my dancing as I am not a natural dancer. They taught me my steps and went through it and felt so comfortable after and I was so happy with the end result.
What do you hope listeners take away from your music?
To be a strong person, don’t give up, to work hard and to follow your dreams. You will hit barriers along the way but keep pushing yourself, keep learning and go outside your comfort zone as it will help you grow and build your confidence. Singing is a passion. If you feel you have it, you need to utilize it and not prioritize thinking about what money you can make but what the music does to the listeners.
As cliche’ as it may sound, I dream that my music would lessen suicidal incidents and help a lot of people as much as it has helped me in my healing process and in gaining back my strength, confidence, and wisdom.
Who was your first concert, and who has been your favorite so far?
I’m not sure if it’s Alanis Morissette’s or Andrea Bocelli’s. I love them both.
What was your first album on cassette, CD and/or vinyl?
I grew up listening to Whitney Houston from my mom’s cassette. I remember she also used to own a lot of vinyls too and my favorite was Andy Williams’ “Moon River.” The first CD that I bought is a collection of Disney songs and Spice from the Spice Girls. LOL! So girly, isn’t it?!
Which five albums and/or artists would you not want to live without?
Spice – Spice Girl’s debut album,
All of Ella Fitzgerald
Frank Sinatra and Natalie Cole’s album
Michael Jackson’s Dangerous.
Who would be the ultimate collaboration for you?
Lady Gaga or Beyonce (woohoo! girl power!)
Do you have a guilty music and/or entertainment pleasure?
(laughs) Backstreet Boys and N’Sync!