The definition of “grace”... “to be given an unmerited favor, to receive a reprieve that is unearned”. An intriguing choice for the title of the new release from vocalist Brian Chang.
“Grace” is Chang’s debut album. But BC (as he is fondly known) is no newcomer to the music industry. Singing and musicianship have always been a part of his life, so why did it take until now to finally record his first album? Perhaps the answer lies in the proverb… “sometimes a journey must be completed before one can take a first step.”…and a journey is certainly descriptive of Chang’s life. Growing up, BC’s musical foundation was defined from a synthesis of multi-culturalism. Born into a Hawaiian heritage while raised on music from vocalists like Nat King Cole to Robert Plant and everyone in between; an eclectic fusion of influences developed BC’s vocals into a style that evaded genre. As he grew older, BC made a name for himself in music. He became an accomplished guitarist, known for his multifaceted guitar work, he was always in high demand. While playing for bands around town, BC would continue to explore his own unique vocal style. Deconstructing Big Band arrangements from Michael Buble and Harry Connick Jr. to create his own versions that he would perform on his ukulele. Singing was his true love and ultimate destiny. But as journeys frequently go, unexpected twists in life often derail dreams. Broken relationships, loss of loved ones, depression and heartache became a very long chapter in BC’s story. Singing quickly gave way to sorrow, and music moved on without him. After years of thinking a career in music was permanently behind him, a broken and weary BC found himself in a friend’s studio; and “just for fun” decided to record one last vocal track. As fate would have it, that short and simple cover song would find its way to world renowned Producer, Derek Nakamoto; who heard something unique within BC’s profound and moving voice. Many conversations later, the beginnings of “Grace” took hold. Was this the unmerited favor? A reprieve unearned? Perhaps Chang gives us his opinion within his opening song titled “Beautiful World”. While a medley of introspective ballads would have been expected, given his' journey, Chang gives us something quite the opposite. “Grace” is a love letter to music and to life itself. A compilation of songs to uplift the soul and remind us of the joy that one can find, even after years of despair. The song “Smile” is impossible to listen to without smiling yourself. “With All My Heart” will bring back warm memories of your first childhood love. Even the song with a title like “Autumn” will surprise you with its light and playful tones, Accompanied by the legendary New York saxophonist Allen Won, BC delivers something so honest and bright, that only a man who has lived through the peaks and depths of life can produce. In today’s music world, the “latest” new artists are often the “youngest” resulting in an immaturity that is reflected in the “shallowness” of their sound. How refreshing it is to enjoy someone of Chang’s experience and depth. If the journey was the necessary ingredient for this first step, then this album was 57 years in the making. For a renewed faith in life and the journey it brings, the album “Grace” is a must-have addition to your playlist. To borrow the lyrics from the song “Perfect”… “this is worth it”.