We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelvin Yuen and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kelvin, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
To me, working in art is a way to explore the impossibilities, create subjects and feelings that may not exist in the world, and inspire many others who are present or yet to come. As a film composer, we always want to bring something new onto the table. Whether it is melodically driven or sonically pleasing, each composer in the industry has their own unique voice and their way of expressing their ideas. So I guess what fascinates me about working in the scoring industry is that we are constantly creating something unheard and triggering emotions that no one may have experienced before. By doing that, the audience would have a whole new perspective to see the world and life, resulting in another form of innovation and creation. I am a strong believer that this whole realization and infectious process is the key to push the development of our society and humankind. We all can be part of this process to inspire others. I just happen to find music as a form of expression.

I love exposing myself to aesthetically satisfying art in this world, whether it is in the realm of music, architecture, film, painting or installation. Apart from the pleasurable sensation and emotional experience, appreciating artwork allows me to realize how small and deficit I am. Since I worked in music and met with different artists and creatives, I have learned that the world is not just about myself. Every individual has their own view of the world. Our collective views contribute towards the formation of culture in a society. Art always reminds me of being humble and respectful. I hope my work can have the same or even bigger impact on others. I choose to work in a creative career so that I can tell my aesthetic to the world. There’s almost no limit in music. It is fun and impactful isn’t it!?

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a professional who works in screen scoring and the music industry. I am a composer who specializes in writing music for screen including film and documentary. My role mainly involves composing original music that pairs with pictures. It requires a delicate creative mind and high level of attention to details. I use my music language to achieve storytelling and to lead the audience’s emotion.

I am also currently working as a music editor/designer at Sony PlatStation Studio Creative Art – Music. My main duty is to oversee the creation and advance the quality of the interactive music score produced for the PlayStation titled video games. Ultimately, we want the players to be placed in an immersive environment and our music be able to continuously interact with what players are doing in the game. From a simple leitmotif to music implementation to the final mix of a game score, my job is to guide the whole process of score creation and provide players with leading edge interactive gaming and cinematic experience.

It is definitely not an easy path to achieve what I am doing right now without the people I met and knowledge I learnt. There’re always creative blocks during music composing and doubting moments while switching to a full-time music career. Sometimes when you have spent countless hours composing a piece that fits the picture perfectly, a 5 second film edit, or scene change in the post production stage can result in another week of extra workload for re-arrangement or conforming the music cue.

Dedication, perseverance and being flexible are the three qualities that I personally find helpful when tackling most challenges. I consider the first two qualities are hard facts and undeniable. Achievements may only be reached by one putting their utmost hard work and grind into their belief. While being flexible is somewhat an arguable quality in this ego-driven music business. Yet, I find this extremely helpful especially working in the scoring industry. Making a film or a game is a truly collective work that requires the combined force of many stakeholders. Directors, scriptwriter, cinematographer, editor, composer, sound designer, every position is filled with artists and talents who always find their own different interpretation on a subject. In fact, the clash of ideas and perspectives is what always makes a film/game such a special and enjoyable art. Thus, being flexible and respectful to others opens the door of communication and sparks ideas that you might not be able to think about before. There’s certainly a fine balance point between upholding one’s artistic voice versus holding down one’s artistic ego when working in the scoring industry.

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.
When I am traveling to a place, I usually like to visit its nature, see some special architecture and get some good local/nostalgic foods! Below are some of my favorite spots in LA!

Topanga Trails: Good hiking experience with a satisfying scenic overlook on the West LA coastline
Walt Disney Concert Hall: A very unique architecture with its mind blowing “cutting edge” steel facade
Big Bear Mountain Region: I like snowboarding! In Big bear you get a nice ski/snowboard resort that is within reasonable driving distance. The trails near big bear lake are equally fascinating during spring and fall. Strongly advised to go to Mammoth Mountain for an even better ski/snowboarding experience if you don’t mind the long drive!
La Fortaleza: Very nice taco truck just parked outside Homedepot in Playa Vista. Best Al Pastor taco!
Delicious Food Corner in Monterey Park: The best place to get authentic Hong Kong style cuisine and iconic street food like the pineapple bun and curry fishball

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want a shoutout to Hong Kong Film. As a film composer, people always asked me the question of what is my favorite film score of all time or which film influenced me the most. While most peers I met in the US talked about classic movies like Vertigo, Star Wars, Space Odyssey 2001, Casablanca, Citizen Kane, etc. My answer is always a bit different from theirs. Hong Kong is the place where I was born and raised. I always grew up watching a lot of Hong Kong local films and dramas which use Cantonese as the main language. Any story about the city, its culture or the language itself has a strong attachment to me. Artistic film like “In the mood for love” and “The Grandmaster” by Wong Kar Wai; action-crime movies like the “Election” trilogy and “The Mission” by Johnnie To; comedic film such as “Flirting Scholar” and “Kung Fu Hustle” starred Stephen Chow; film that discuss intimate story such as “Mad World” by Wong Chun and “Summer Snow” by Ann Hui. These are the films that made me fall in love with cinematic experience and the beauty of storytelling. Without these local Hong Kong films, I don’t think I can build such a strong emotional linkage with cinema or film. And certainly, won’t be able to find my career in screen scoring.

Of course, hands down to all the artists, composers and musicians I have met over the years. Every one of your individualities has shaped my music taste and constituted towards my style of writing. I am glad to see the musicality in every artist and be inspired by them. Some of them have given me valuable opportunities to shine and I won’t be standing at where I am today without their genuine support. Last but not least, I have to thank my family and my girlfriend. They are the ones who gave countless support and encouragement for me to step on this musical journey. They are the safest people to talk about my personal emotions and I feel the most comfortable sharing my vulnerability with them.

Website: www.kyuenmusic.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kelvinyuen_/

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kelvin-yuen-music

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/neuyk.music/

Other: Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5SSazAZX7lt2gKiVW1viAY?si=Gv72rtlXR3WyEodX7pDyFg&dl_branch=1 Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/kyuenmusic

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.