Best of Both Worlds

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Lauren Jai

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PVHS Junior Sherry Wang signed with a professional music publishing company in Korea this past summer. Wang grew up in a musical family, and singing was always a natural thing to do. In second grade she created her first piano piece, and in third grade she wrote her first song.
“I liked the idea of writing songs and sharing them, and I have been lucky enough to get recognition for it,” Wang said.
Although songwriting was not Wang’s focus growing up, she began to focus on it after her family moved to Hong Kong for her father’s work. Wang’s sister stayed in California to finish high school, while Wang went with her parents to Hong Kong.
“My sister and I have such a close relationship that I felt I lost a part of me when I moved,” said Wang. “I started writing music as a way to cope with the sadness and to keep a spiritual sense of her with me.”
Wang’s music career officially began after her friends suggested that she share her music with the public. She began to gain recognition after the YouTube channel “Sorted Food” used her song, “Runaways,” in one of their videos.
Soon people began to approach Wang, asking if they could remix her music. Eventually, her music caught the attention from a music licensing company in Korea.
Wang’s songwriting is inspired by her own life experiences, people she meets every day, and her thoughts and feelings. Musicians who show a genuine passion for their music as well as musicians who can communicate and connect with the listeners motivate her to do the same. Artists that have influenced Wang’s style of songwriting include George Ezra, Daniela Andrade, Daughter, and Zee Avi.
This past summer, Wang was recognized as an American Songwriting Awards Finalist/Top 5 in the teen category for her song “Like a Hurricane.” Wang also signed a two year deal with a music publishing company in Korea, which she says are her two greatest accomplishments to date.
“The fact that people in the music industry acknowledged and liked my music made me feel even more satisfied of my work,” said Wang.
Wang does not see contracts and awards as achievements, but says that little things, like simple connections which she makes with people, mean the most to her. When a fan emailed Wang saying she had been going through a hard time and that one of her friends had recommended listening to the song “Like a Hurricane,” Wang was touched to find out that her songs have been positively affecting people.
“Little things like knowing that my songs are getting around and affecting people in a positive way makes me feel proud of what I am doing,” said Wang.
So far, she has written around twenty songs, eight of which have been released. Most of the music Wang has produced has been acoustic, but the music she is working on with producers is more electronic dance music (EDM). Wang listens to different types of music in order to gain inspiration for her pieces..
“Listening to a wider range of genres is beneficial when writing music because it helps me accumulate new ideas for songs,” explained Wang.
For example, Wang’s song “Like a Hurricane” has a chord progression that is commonly found in jazz, while her song, “Bouquet of Love,” is more influenced by classical music.
To date Wang has music videos for two of her songs, both of which were student projects. Wang was hesitant about making a music video, but her friend, Miranda Kim, urged her to make a music video out of her song, “Statue.” Although Wang initially did not believe the song was “mellow” enough to make a dance video, Kim reassured her that the idea would work. When Wang agreed to making a dance incorporated video, Kim was very thrilled.
“I rushed out of the studio super anxious to get home and start choreographing,” Kim states.
As soon as both of them were ready, Wang and Kim went to the Slik Studio to film. The whole process of filming and choreographing took more than 12 hours of work. When school started, Wang and Kim decided to tell their friends what they had been doing during the last weeks of summer.
“They were all so supportive and had so many kind words to say about the video, making me feel that all of the time and effort was worth it,” said Kim.
“It was truly a great experience to see something as small as my vision for a piece of music come to life in a fully choreographed video to something as awesome as an original song written by one of my closest friends.”
Finding a happy medium between schoolwork and songwriting has been a bit of a challenge, as “balancing the two really tests my ability to manage my time,” said Wang.
Her weekdays are dedicated to school , while her weekends are for songwriting and recording. If she comes up with a new idea for a song during the week, Wang records the idea on her phone, and then goes back to school work. Wang believes that students at school do not know much about her music/songwriting career, as even though Wang posts her music on her YouTube channel and SoundCloud page, she does not know who is watching or listening.
Wang has never been to Korea, but it is the first place where her music is streaming in a professional environment. “It surprises me that Korea is the first place where my music is streaming in a professional setting because I don’t have any personal connections with the place. Nonetheless, I am very grateful for the people listening to my music in Korea,” Wang said.
She acknowledges that life will always have obstacles and signs that will move you on different paths. Life is not always moving in one direction as there will always be change involved. Wang’s advice is “to embrace change, don’t spend too much time planning, build from mistakes, and specifically for artists: keep creating work. If you listen to my Soundcloud from the first song to the most recent song, you can hear the improvement and progressive complexity of melody in each song. Creating work is the only way you can move forward.”
In the future, Wang will definitely write more music and hopes to reach a broader audience with her music. In Wang’s words, “I look forward to seeing where my music will take me!”

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