We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrew Wong and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andrew, how do you think about risk?
Risk has been a big factor into how I live my life today. I feel like I’ve taken a lot of risks as far as my occupation and how I choose to live. As a young person, this is the time to take as many risks as possible because, unfortunately my biological clock will run its course; I will age and lose energy for the what I was once passionate about. Youth gives me time and energy to pursue what really matters to me because if I don’t, I might regret it when I’m older. My first large risk was dropping out of university on my last year, working towards a Business major. And ever since I decided to drop out, my life has been full of risks that shaped my life into what it is today. If I hadn’t dropped out, I never would have fully pursued music like how I am now. I never would have gained the experience of knowing what it really is like to chase something that I’m passionate about to its fullest extent. Not having the plan b of complete reassurance of having a degree gave me the incentive to say that my path had to be successful because if not, I would have nowhere to turn back. As an Asian American, my parents pushed adamantly to get me to go back to college and pursue a degree. I remember the day I told them I had dropped out, they were furious. At the time, I was still unsure about my title as an “artist” so I really took a blind leap. But I had to put my foot down and say no, because I firmly believed that going to college and taking the “traditional” route wasn’t it for me. Now when my parents bring up going back to school, I can confidently tell them that I don’t need it right now. I have created a path for myself that can withstand not having a degree. I make my own decisions and I can live up to what life has in store for me. Currently I live in LA and I think that has been the biggest risk I’ve taken so far. I moved at the beginning of 2020, right before COVID closed everything down. I barely had enough to pay rent and had just moved out of my parents’ house to pursue art. My roommate and I shared a 1 bedroom apartment which was actually pretty nice, but we had to scrape for money to make ends meet. But I think I owe a lot of my drive to being out in LA. The atmosphere is different. Everyone here wants something for themselves and sees something bigger in themselves, which makes me want to push just as hard. The connections out here are also par-none. I’ve met so many talented people I never would have had the chance of meeting if I hadn’t moved here. I’ve met people in the industry as well as people who I’ve learned so much from, making the risk I took priceless.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started music at around age 20, coming from a hip hop dance background since I was 13. I had played music in high school, being lead singer of a pop-punk band called Rumble Pak and being in choir as well. So my background led me to pursuing music naturally. My parents are also singers and my mother is a graphic designer. So I’ve always had creative energy around me growing up. I think what sets me apart from my music is my perspective. I was a young suburbian kid of Chinese/Vietnamese descent who just wanted to create something for his life that was different from what other people in my immediate vicinity were trying to pursue. I saw myself as doing something in the arts, which is what I gravitated to as a kid. I had always danced, acted, made music, so this was the natural route that I went towards. A lot of my early music was me trying to understand what made me different, and I believe that my perspective and approach to how I write music is what makes me unique. I’ve never had formal training in anything; all I have are the experiences that I was brought up in as a child, and the experiences that I’ll be building in the future. Finding my voice in music was never easy. I put in a lot of hours making bad music, going through writing block, having bad critiques of my music. Because I’ve only made music for 5 years, I didn’t start out knowing too much. So everything I learned was through dance or pure intuition. I had to go through a lot of terrible music to find one good piece, which is why I believe that 1. practice is everything, and 2. make as much art as you can because if you make 10 pieces, at least 1 of those pieces will be a masterpiece. And through practice, your odds of finding the masterpiece will only increase. Since creating music and art, I truly believe that I am whatever I set my mind to. For example, I moved out to LA and currently work in industry-grade studios and meet people who are so talented in their craft. That is why I created the motto for myself “Reality is what you make it” because everything in my reality I chose for myself. If I want to pursue something, I have the ability to go all the way.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Out in LA I don’t know too much of the area because I just moved here before COVID and that gave me not much time to explore. But through the time here, I will definitely say that I have found spots that I love going to. Monty’s Good Burger I believe is the best vegan burger – if not the best burger joint in the city. Grand Central Market in Downtown LA is also a historic area for sites and the city life. If the Getty Center was open, we would definitely visit there as well. It is a free entry museum with a beautiful view of the city. A tram takes you to the museum, which is up a hill on the side of the valley. We would of course go to my favorite beach – Hermosa Beach, which is one of the beaches that isn’t infested with tourists and people on the weekdays. The Socal weather also is perfect because even though it’s hot inland, the beaches stay a little cooler.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would love to shoutout my parents for making my life possible. They were the ones who gave me this mindset of hustle for success and I’m living proof of it working. We weren’t the closest family by far but I believe it was their strength that trickled down to me to be able to pursue what I do today.