We have some amazing insights from the multi-hyphenate singer-songwriter, music producer, and mixer Moon Chew. Her passion for music has led Moon to lead a career in her own music as a singer. Starting out with cover songs in 2017, and now releasing her own original songs, she has produced, arranged, and mixed them all on her own. Besides working on her own music, she has also worked with many musicians from all over the world, on music arrangements, vocal recordings, and mixing. With credits such as being the singer for a Chinese version of the song “Rawhide” for Amazon Prime’s Drama “The Expanse 5” and Mixing Engineer for Braddell Heights Symphony Orchestra
When did you first start your music engineering journey?
I actually started learning about music engineering way back in 2007, but it has always been just a small part of my music production journey. It was only in 2017 when I started taking on audio mixing jobs that got me really interested, and I started to learn and explore more since then.
Do you have any advice for those who are too afraid to start on their music?
I believe many people are afraid of what others will think of their music, myself included, but I think the beginning of your music journey is actually the best time to experiment with it. It’s an excellent time to explore many different styles to find out what you like and what you are good at, without attracting too much attention. So just do it and it’s never too late to start!
For those producing their first single, what is the number one thing they need to know?
Do not over-worry about how the song is going to perform in terms of streams/sales, and just enjoy the process. Everyone has to start somewhere, and a music career takes time to build. Since this journey started because of your love for music, as long as you are creating music you love, the rest shouldn’t matter that much.
"Don’t be afraid to fail!"
What is your favorite part about Mixing & Mastering?
What I love the most is how the whole song comes together like magic. From the many different tracks of raw recordings to the final song, it is like building a house. After spending so much time and effort building the structure of the house (song), it is in this final stage of “renovation” (mixing/mastering) that you see all the hard work from writing to recording, all piecing up together.
If you could time travel to Moon at the start of her music journey what would you say to her?
Don’t be afraid to fail! Just like what I have mentioned above in the 2nd question, at the beginning of your music journey, you wouldn’t be attracting much attention yet, so even if you do fail, it’s easy to just stand up again and try something different. The music journey is a really long road, I think that one will need to be both hardworking and very patient before you can reap what you’ve sown.
What advice would you give to singers working with music producers?
I think communication is key. It would be good to know what you are hoping to achieve for your song before approaching a music producer. Communicating well regarding your expectations will definitely speed up the process and it would greatly help with the final result.
"Instead of trying to “perfect” the song, just release it and if there’s any feedback from there, it can be used to further improve future releases."
As a singer, producer, and music engineer do you have a favorite or do you love all of them?
This is a really tough choice! As most people know me as a singer, this might come as a shock. Although I do love them all, if I can only choose one, it would be a music engineer. I am generally not someone who enjoys the limelight, and even as a singer, I’ve kept a pretty low profile, so the job as a music engineer is something that is really comfortable for me.
Do you ever feel the pressure of perfection in your music and if so, how do you move past it?
Yes, definitely! After these few years of releasing music, what I realize now is that there are so many songs out there, with over 60,000 tracks uploaded to Spotify every day, listeners don’t actually scrutinize every detail of every song. So instead of trying to “perfect” the song, just release it and if there’s any feedback from there, it can be used to further improve future releases. And by doing more, you’ll learn more.
How did you refine your skills as a producer and music engineer?
I feel that doing is the best way to learn. So I will try to push myself to create music constantly, and if there is something that I want to do but don’t know how, I will go onto YouTube and search for tutorials. With each song, I start to develop a “better ear” for details, and as I start hearing more stuff, that’s how improvement comes along too.
"The most complicated thing for me about the music industry are royalties & copyrights."
What are your favorite systems to use when creating music?
I have been using Logic Pro since the very beginning, and after exploring a few other DAWs, it still remains my favorite.
Who is a must-have on your playlist?
I don’t have a must-have singer or band on my playlist, but what I must have are different genres/languages of music. This keeps me from being stuck in a specific genre and it helps in generating new ideas.
Who would be your dream person to work on a music project with?
While it would definitely be an honor and a mind-opening experience to work with a big name in the industry, what I enjoy nowadays is actually working with people who are not part of the music industry and simply want to create a song out of their passion for music. The pure happiness that I see in them when they hear the final product often reminds me of the reason I started this journey, and that’s a great feeling.
“If you don't build your own dream, someone else will hire you to help build theirs.”
If you could change one thing about the music industry what would it be?
The most complicated thing for me about the music industry are royalties & copyrights. If there is a way for independent singers, songwriters, and other musicians to streamline the process when they collaborate, I think that would be great!
What is your next project/ what are you working on right now?
I am currently working on the music arrangements of an album for my client, but right after, I would like to jump back into more songwriting, and hopefully release more of my own songs soon!
What is a quote or song lyric that you live your life by?
“If you don't build your own dream, someone else will hire you to help build theirs.” Many years back when I was mainly helping people with the arrangement of their songs, I started to realize that the time I’ve spent working on other people’s songs could have been used to do more for myself. And that was the time I decided to make a change and focus on my own music first, and only if I have the extra time will I take on external projects.
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