Singer-songwriter Ang Low returned with his first new music after his two year hiatus, which, he told me, wasn’t much of a hiatus at all.
“I needed time to find out who I could be as a songwriter,” Ang Low said after I asked him why he would stay out of the spotlight for all this time after his first EP, Life Goes Down, received a huge response. He told me that he had felt trapped within the music industry, saying: “I had worked with a lot of labels and they took away a lot of the creativity and I had gotten to a place where I didn’t know what I wanted to do so I had to go off and do this one myself, that was my inspiration I think, trying to do it all myself without relying on other people.” Taking a break was therapeutic for him and the growth shown on his comeback song, “Let Go”, is evidently clear.
“I know it’s more organic than my older songs, but that was on purpose, I really wanted a clean slate. Everything was just connected, but in a purposeful way.” That clean slate is important for Ang Low as he has felt like he has been bogged down by labels and genres and titles. He doesn’t define himself as an electro-pop artist like most outlets refer to him as, and he spent a good portion of his time over the last two years trying to break that notion. He did a lot of musical experimentation , saying: “I only tried to make things a little out of the ordinary from what I usually do. I stayed mostly in the R&B world but I explored music that was a little more Pop-dancey, some World music, lots of vocal layering and experimenting.”
“Let Go” definitely shows a change in style for Ang Low.
The music has a different overall feeling to it than his previous work, and, there’s more like this to come. Ang Low plans to release an EP at some point next year which he is considering to be more of a passion project than a commercial release. But the music won’t convey Ang Low’s true vision– at least not without the visual aspect. He is also planning a tour and says that the upcoming EP is truly meant to be experienced live, saying that “that’s where you really feel the EP,” continuing, “I had this journey and it’s like, I’ve done everything else and now I just have to add this live show. So I’ve been working and working trying to get my stage presence down and just get the right sound and make this an experience.”
Ang Low truly has been on a “journey”, as he puts it. The former Michelin chef now lives in Brooklyn but he was born in Tacoma, Washington on an army base. Since his dad was in the Army his family moved around the country a lot when he was a kid but he was always involved in music, just not the way you might think. Ang Low didn’t listen to anything but gospel music for the first seventeen years of his life. It wasn’t until he picked up a John Mayer CD that he was exposed to other genres. He then quickly moved on to Janet Jackson, dancehall, and then, as he describes it, “sluttier dancehall.” His story is an interesting one, which he took the time to record over the last two years as well for the making of a mini-documentary about his journey.
All in all, Ang Low has come a long way, and it shows. This newest single and music video are undoubtedly his best work to date and there’s only more to come. So, I’ll leave you with this wonderful quote from Ang Low that he said after I asked him about why he wanted to make music:
“Music is therapy. Listen to it and you can become someone else.”