Kid Cudi Invites Us Into His World in ‘A Man Named Scott’

Kid Cudi performing on stage

Ragers around the world, rejoice, Kid Cudi‘s A Man Called Scott documentary is finally on its way to Amazon Prime Video, and the first trailer is everything we wanted and more.

Kid Cudi can truly do no wrong. A man whose melodic humming has been cited by a generation of fans as the cure to their depression, the hugely influential artist behind The Man On The Moon album series, and the man Travis Scott notes as one of his biggest inspirations in music.

Scott Mescudi shifted the landscape of music for a generation, and through his open battles with addiction and mental health, has played an important role in destigmatizing the subjects.

In the first full trailer for A Man Called Scott, friends, and fans of Cudi can be heard detailing how his music changed their lives. In the same breath, we hear Cudi explaining his artistry, “everything I make has to help people in some way. How can I make something that calls out to the broken and the lost? I needed to feel something with the music.”

He goes on to explain why he shared his story with such transparency, “people look up to me, but I’m not a happy person.”

Admittedly, I am biased. My experiences with Cudi’s discography are similar to that of those featured in the trailer. Within the hip-hop space, few were so candid about their mental health struggles before Cudi, he was able to share his struggles in a relatable way and sound amazing while doing it. Without songs like “Soundtrack 2 My Life,” I’m not sure that we’d have some of our favorite tracks from later Mac Miller projects, Juice WRLD, 070 Shake, and more.

Judging off the trailer, these types of feelings will be central themes as we dive deeper into the artist’s mind, exploring a more intimate side of his life over a decade.

“A Man Called Scott” arrives on Amazon Prime Video on November 5. Personally, I’d describe my excitement as Adele in the below video.

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Singer-songwriter Lesley Chiang on her mental health journey and how music saved her life

The artist, actress and mental health advocate opens up about her music, heartbreak and sharing her journey to help and heal others.
You may know Lesley Chiang the actress and singer, famous for records like “爸爸放心我出嫁” (PAPA)” or “Until We Meet Again“. You may even know her as the daughter of a famous Hong Kong actor. But I first knew her as Lesley, depression survivor. Before we spoke, I was already deeply moved by her sharing on YouTube with local mental health awareness organisation Talking Mental on accepting and loving herself. It can be easy to put on a face and act like everything is great because other people expect us to be, especially in a high-pressure place like Hong Kong — something she addressed in her video, openly and honestly. And when I had to chance to interview her, I jumped.
“Most people have this misconception that Lesley’s good now, but they don’t realise that depression is truly a lifelong battle,” she tells me. “It just depends on when it comes back, how heavy it is this time, your brain chemicals and what’s triggered you.”
Next year marks the 10th year of Chiang’s battle with depression. After a difficult breakup in 2013, she thought her feelings were normal symptoms of sadness and heartbreak. But after a few months, she began to realise that her thoughts were getting more dangerous and scary. And that’s when she decided to seek help, and was diagnosed with severe clinical depression — starting her journey toward a healthy and happy state of mind.

One thing that’s clear when speaking to Chiang is how much she wants to spread positivity and raise awareness when it comes to mental health issues. As someone who’s gone through depression before, I’m touched by how open she is to share her own experience.
“Understand that there’s no hate involved, there’s nothing wrong with you and it’s not your fault. Everybody has their own timing and journey when it comes to this tough topic. We just need to be more aware, patient and kind because there’s no blaming, no comparing. It’s not a game. It’s just simply a sickness,” she adds.
Lesley Chiang, Singer-Songwriter and Activist

When did you first realise you had a talent for music?
I feel like I came out of my mom’s body and was just [singing] ‘ahhhhhhhhh’. I was born a singer. My first memory was dancing and singing in front of the TV, imitating Janet Jackson and Madonna. I told my mum I wanted to be a performer when I was 3. I cannot imagine life without that idea, and thank God, I’m 36 and this is still the biggest passion in my life.
What shaped your musical tastes?
I was deep into the ’90s, so I loved Britney Spears, NSYNC, 98 Degrees, Mariah Carey. When I started writing songs, I was super into J-pop like Aiko and Mr. Children. Even up until today when I’m writing, there’s a hint of that ’90s girl in there that I love. I’m also the first Chinese songwriter to ever write a first theme song for a K-pop group, so I’ve also gotten my swag from that.
Are there any Hong Kong artists who have inspired you? 
I love Joyce Cheng’s journey. I’ve known her since I was born and we grew up together in Vancouver. To go from having imaginary concerts in the basement to seeing her having her Hong Kong Coliseum concert, that’s both inspiring and touching for me because I know how destined she is to live this amazing life she’s living right now.

What’s the first song people should listen to when they’re getting to know you?
If you want to know my journey, you should listen to “Until We Meet Again”, it’s my love letter to heartbroken people. I hope it reaches people going through bad breakups and heartbreaks to let them know that they are not alone and it’s normal to feel these emotions. Or “Tonight”, and then go on to listen to my new song “Papa” — hopefully that can encourage the listeners to believe how things can change.
Where does your inspiration come from when writing?
Ever since I started professionally writing songs at 16, I can finish a song within 10 minutes. I would say 90% of my song ideas come from my dreams. I have had very musical dreams since I was a teenager. The other times would be when I’m in a mood; whether I’m happy, sad or angry, I like to sit on my piano and jam it out.

How has music helped you through your mental health journey?
My music has become more layered, deeper and more meaningful after my depression, in a positive way. People do say, with something really sad comes beautiful music. I released two of my favourite songs at the height of my depression: One is called “Until We Meet Again” and the other one is “Tonight”. This is the song that saved my life. “Tonight” was going to be my final goodbye letter to the world. I was writing on a balcony and all of a sudden I thought about what chords would go with this song, so I ended up going back into the house to complete it.
I hope that through this terribly sad song, people not only feel not alone, but they hear it ’til the end because I recorded the last few seconds of the song years later and it was much happier. It’s a sad song, but at the end, it still has a very uplifting message.

What systems have you developed to support yourself emotionally?
My first method is to humanise my depression, so I named him “Borat”. When you give your emotions a personality — of being an asshole, a compulsive liar — it’s easier to brush off the nasty thoughts in your head. “Oh that’s Borat talking”, “that’s Borat’s personality”. When I feel that I’m not worthy, I just go like, “Shut up Borat“. My second system is that everyday, I write down a number. “0” means I’m totally fine, “10” means the apocalypse. When I’m not in the mood to talk about my feelings, I can just send a number to my friends and say “Sorry it’s a 4 today”. Then my friends will immediately understand.
How has your family supported you through depression?
Being Canadian, I’ve always been open to mental health. At the beginning of my journey, I was a bit worried with worrying my father — a traditional Chinese man in his 70s — to let him know that I was struggling. After opening up, I realised how accepting my father is, because his love for me is so big. I also come from a multi-racial, cultural family, so that helps because thinking back to my grandma’s generations, they’re already quite vocal about their feelings. And that’s hard to come by.
Anything else you want to add?
I really hope that schools all over Asia and Hong Kong will open up their budget a bit more for mental health education and awareness. Because for the past two years, the suicide rate with students went up 44%, which is the scariest number. It should be both a serious topic and a topic that can be talked about casually, normally, and regularly, as if it were talking about a pimple. It’s the most healthy thing on earth to be aware of where your mind is at, so I encourage the schools to prioritise this.

If you are struggling with mental health, there are a number of resources that are available to help, including the Suicide Prevention Services 24-hour hotline (+852 2382 0000). For a full list, click here.
The post Singer-songwriter Lesley Chiang on her mental health journey and how music saved her life appeared first on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong.

Tuning In: kiyu on being a “genreless” artist and how Hong Kong shaped his sound

In his free time, kiyu is just like any other 20-something-year-old, preferring to spend his hours playing video games, rock climbing or even cooking on occasion. But when he’s working on his music, he’s all business — and it shows. With over 40k spins on Apple Music and 20k on Spotify, as well as numerous live shows under his belt, we talk to the “twentyone” and “overthinking” singer about refining his sound and capturing the hearts of his fans in the process.
Like many of us, kiyu is still figuring life out — except unlike many of us, he takes it one step further and turns his troubles into tunes. Fully self-taught, the Hong Kong singer-songwriter combines alternative pop with the “personal touch of an early 2000s cassette”. Aside from his music, though, kiyu simply wants you to know he’s just like you.
The singer, who goes by his real name, Jackie Chan, to his friends and family, had an unconventional start to his musical journey. He began experimenting with different sounds while recovering from a concussion from playing rugby in high school. Now, (fully recovered) at 21 years old, kiyu is helping his listeners navigate anxiety, loneliness, depression — you know, the whole shebang — through his songs.

While he is categorised as an indie pop artist, kiyu prefers not to be labelled and strives to deviate from any one genre. He has, on occasions, described his music as “genreless” as it is continuously evolving, with each song different from the one before it. But if he had to put it in a box, he would rather sort his music by what it sounds like and or by the emotions it evokes.
Tuning In: kiyu

When and how did your interest in music begin?
That is a question I wish I had a definitive answer to! I think it may come as a surprise for many people but I wasn’t involved in “proper music” until grade 11 in high school. I listened to music growing up and went to karaoke with my friends, but it was never something I considered long-term. In fact, I was a visual artist, like a watercolour painter, for a really long time. I started attending this institution called Choeng Mei Art when I was three years old to practise calligraphy, and I thought it was going to become my career someday.
Anyhow, I was a huge rugby guy in high school and one day, I got a concussion while playing. I was placed on leave and during that time, I started doing theatre, and then musical theatre, and eventually found myself immersed in the world of music. I began to watch live shows and discovered One Ok Rock live shows, The Script shows, Coldplay, stuff like that. I saw the stage from their point of view, with the large crowds singing their lyrics, all the flashing lights and decided that was something I wanted to experience for myself. So I guess that was when I was like: “this is what I want to do”.
Did you grow up around music? Does it run in your family?
My parents aren’t really musically inclined. I will say though, I grew up with music in the sense that both my parents loved listening to music so we always had something playing at home, listening to Beyond, Eason Chan, Beatles…
My brother actually shaped a lot of my sound because he was the one to show me a lot of new music, which then shaped my preferences. He and I also tried a lot of instruments together like taking piano lessons as kids, picking up the guitar, the drums, the trumpet and the French horn.
When did you realise you were musical? Can you pinpoint a formative moment when you realised you were good?
I don’t think I’m good! In fact, I think I’m very far from where I want to be. I listen to artists like Keshi, EDEN, Jeremy Zucker and I think their music is art. And I think with me, I’m still creating songs. But I think Hong Kong, culturally, brings so much. And it’s a shame that these sounds aren’t really shown to the world when I think they should be.

How have different cultural influences in your life shaped you as a musician?
Hong Kong is like this amalgamation of cultures and traditions. Growing up in an international school, I only experienced the “western side” of Hong Kong — it was like living in a bubble. After graduation, I realised there is so much more to the city. There’s a melting pot of cultures right in front of my eyes.
People are always trying to bridge the world and its cultures and find a way to learn about each other. I think Hong Kong’s music can be that. New artists in Hong Kong have a distinct flavour or sound that’s eastern and western. And I just want to share that more. I think I’ve rambled enough but to summarise, Hong Kong has shaped me as a musician because I’m culturally aware and understand both western and eastern sounds.
What’s the first track we should listen to that best defines your sound?
Every new song that continues to come out. I’ll be really honest, I think my sound is still continuing to develop and I don’t think it will stop. You look at Keshi, EDEN, Jeremy Zucker and their sound changes with every year as they accrue more knowledge and get closer to what they want to sound like. It’s the same with me. Honestly, it’s really cool, listening to an artist’s first songs and sequentially listening to their newest release. That way, you really get to know an artist. Especially since I haven’t hidden anything from my fans and listeners, you can go back and listen to the very first thing I made and you’ll see my journey.
At the end of the day, as a singer-songwriter, we’re like a life story that fans subscribe to. Every time we release, we share a bit of our life. So if you want to know what’s the “definition” of me in the form of a song, listen to the most recent one. And if you want to know more about me, listen to the first song to the newest to know my story.

What song, album or performance had a really important, lasting impact on you, both personally and as an artist?
The album “Science & Faith” by The Script. I’ll say it and I’ll say it again: longest-standing album and one of the greatest of all time. The lyrics, the melodies, the voicing, everything. I still listen to the album for the millionth time looking for inspiration or to observe how they did certain things and how they conveyed certain emotions. Personally, it helped me get through some tough times in school.

Who’s your favourite musician/artist and why?
I think EDEN would be my favourite just because he makes art. Each song isn’t music, it’s literally art. And he also studied in Hong Kong, I think he grew up here too actually. He showed me that Hong Kong musicians, or people who started out in this city, can actually do something huge and become so big.
What does music, or being a musician, mean to you?
For me personally, I have a selfish goal of wanting to hear fans or an audience sing my lyrics back to me. I just look at the live performances like I previously mentioned and I’m just like: “wow, I want to know what that’s like”. To have the world relate to your insecurities, your life struggles, your happiness, everything and just sing it back to you.
Professionally though, I think I have the goal of really showcasing to the world “this is what Hong Kong can offer”. I want to open that door so that Hong Kong artists can dream bigger than just staying in Hong Kong. That they can show their craft to the world, play shows abroad and really be a part of the global conversation of music.

What’s your creative process?
Honestly, I just make things when I feel like it. I get inspiration from listening to music, listening to others’ works, going about my day and having an opinion on everything that happens around me. Then I put that down on paper, sing a tune in my head and there you have it — a song. Whether it’s good or not is a different story, but I prefer quality over quantity, in the sense that each song is like a curated piece of art. If I were to really put my efforts into finishing a song and giving it my all, I can only do that for a small number of songs instead of making a lot at a time. But I make everything myself — lyrics, producing, playing the instruments, singing, mixing, master, everything.
Do you have any pre- and post-show rituals?
Before a show, I don’t really want to talk to anyone. I think Chris (my manager) can attest to this, I just sit there. I’m trying to empty my thoughts, breathe and get my lungs open.
Post-show, I also don’t want to talk, haha. Usually, though, Chris and I will discuss how the show went and we criticise our work to try and pinpoint areas where we can improve for the next time. But after those talks, I just like being by myself in silence. Take a nice shower, drink some water, just chill for the night.
What’s your favourite lyric, ever?
This might be a cop-out but EDEN’s intro to the vertigo album “wrong” is probably my favourite lyrics-wise. I remember the first time I heard it, I got chills for the whole minute of the opening. There are no repeats in the lyrics but I guess if you want a specific line, I’d just say the opening line of: “But I could be more, isn’t there more?”

What are your personal most-played tracks on Spotify?
Oh God, I don’t know. All-time? Probably either something from The Script, One Ok Rock, Jeremy Zucker or EDEN. Though this year it’s probably Keshi because I’ve looped his new album so many times. If we’re talking like an actual track and not the artist, I think last year on my Spotify wrapped it was Jeremy Zucker’s “Lakehouse” or “Always I’ll Care”.
What’s the toughest challenge you’ve had to overcome in your career?
So far this whole career has been a challenge. I went from not having a career at all and thinking I made a mistake trying this career thing, to thinking I should go do some backstage work instead, then thinking I wasn’t even going to get that and not knowing what I was doing at all. Then I met my manager and found someone to relate to, and now I’m trying to find the best way to tell the artistic story that I want to share.
Obviously, I’ve made strides since the beginning but I don’t think it’s gotten any easier from when I first started. New problems occur, things happen, it just keeps going and keeps you on your toes.
How has your music changed and evolved over the years since you started?
I think it’s changed in the sense that I’m getting more familiar with the tools I’m using and also getting a larger understanding of how music, music business and sounds work. An example would be Itamae, the head sushi chef, who spent like 15 years making sushi. You just get more and more masterful at what you do.
If you listen to “Rain”, my first song, I had no idea what I could do with Logic. Now I’m still exploring, discovering more and gaining a larger grasp on the possibilities of my work. If you listen to my stuff in order, I think it’s pretty obvious.

What’s next? What are you working on?
I have a new song coming up on 15 July! I’m really excited about it and I think it’s a really nice summer-moving-into-fall song to listen to. It’s called “saturday night” and it’s going to show a new side of me to the world. After that… well, I’m not going to ruin the surprise but we’ve got exciting news coming along. If you follow my Instagram, I always keep people up to date there.

(Lead and featured photos courtesy of kiyu)
The post Tuning In: kiyu on being a “genreless” artist and how Hong Kong shaped his sound appeared first on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong.


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