Last weekend, Mochi staffers attended one of Clara Chung’s recording sessions for her debut album, an event open only to sel.ect media at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, CA. Artists such as Jay-Z, the Goo Goo Dolls and John Mayer have recorded at this famous studio, a hole-in-the-wall place you could easily walk past. However, tucked behind closed doors lies a stylish, quaint world-class recording studio buzzing with media and Clara’s recording crew.
Getting to chat with Clara and her production team about the upcoming debut album made for an entertaining, fun and eye-opening afternoon. Phil Yu, the mind behind Angry Asian Man was also present, representing his blog.
First, we viewed a not-yet-released commercial Clara shot for the Department of Education. Next, we were treated to an exclusive listening session of Clara’s first single, quirkily titled “The Camel Song,” which I instantly loved. While it was only a rough cut, the acoustic-flavored song highlighted Clara’s amazingly clear and angelic vocals, which were set against the rhythmic strumming of a guitar—a sound effect that resembled hands clapping and the melodic interjections of a violin.
Clara’s upcoming self-titled debut album is, in her own words, “fun, real, legitimate and quirky.” Carving a niche in the pop-folk genre, it will offer listeners a snapshot of this very important moment in her life. The songs are about familiar topics such as having loved and lost, but they also concern issues close to Clara’s heart—such as going through life and getting knocked down, but most importantly, being able to get back up.
“They’re about promising myself I can get through everything, and not letting people tell you that you can’t do anything,” Clara explained.
“You can hear everyone’s fingerprints all over the album,” added Will Pong, the mixing engineer for the album, on the collaboration the whole production team puts into each song. “But at the end of the day, it’s Clara that matters. It’s very important that we capture who Clara is.”
Following the media interviews, we were treated to a live recording session of Clara playing a few pieces on the piano and singing sel.ect vocals from a few of her songs. While her musical talent continues to blow me away, I was probably most impressed by Clara’s spunky, down-to-earth personality. This girl could easily be anyone’s best friend.
When asked to sum up her album in a sentence or two, Clara took a moment to pause.
“My baby has all the things I want to say, all in one little package,” she said with a smile. “The key word—is listen.”
Come September, when the album is slated for release, there’s no question that people will be.
Photos courtesy of Elaine Low and Jasmine Ako for Mochi magazine