The YouTube generation is among us. This day in age, whether you’re a millennial or not, millions of social media goers are turning to this entertainment platform in search of videos of all kinds. The influence of online video is growing, so much so that performers are now making a living off of generating content for it. YouTube Singer and Artist Jason Chen is no stranger to using this tactic to market and make a name for himself and recently, he secured the widely successful guitarist, Teddy Fan, as accompaniment in touring, playing and creating with him.
Originally from Hong Kong, Fan has been playing the guitar since he was twelve years old and as of July 2015, now holds an Associate Degree in Guitar Performance from the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California. “I love to perform,” Fan stated, and was very quick to add, “I always have – I really enjoy being on stage. Growing up, all I wanted to be was a rock star guitar player, so I decided to become a guitarist.”
After graduating from the Musicians Institute, one of Fan’s teachers and greatest mentors, Katsuya Sezaki, hired the musical genius as his recording guitarist. From there, Fan’s professional career took off and he immediately began booking gigs, several of them including Chen.
Fan and Chen have been working with one another since February of 2016, together becoming a viral musical success. “Teddy showed up at the right time,” Chen answered, when asked how the duo initially came about; a mutual friend initially introduced the pair to one another. “I needed a new guitarist, and that’s when Teddy came into the picture. He was a really talented musician whom I enjoyed working with. So, I asked him to be my guitarist.”
With over 1,300,000 subscribers on YouTube, Chen’s international fan base had already been vast. Resultantly, after forming a team with the acclaimed singer, Fan’s network of followers and subscribers expanded as well.
Together, Fan and Chen host live acoustic performances. These performances usually consist of a thirty-minute set where the musicians perform covers of preexisting, popular songs as well as some of Chan’s originals. It is Fan’s responsibility to rearrange these covers into acoustic versions. “The acoustic version of a song has to be simple,” Fan explained. “This is because there’s only one singer’s voice singing live, and I wouldn’t want to over cover his voice. The singer is who should take over more. Usually, I just listen to the song, pick the main rhythm and that’s what I play, unless there’s also an important instrumental portion of the song that needs to be covered, too.”
These talents of Fan’s are skills that Chen greatly relies on in order to ensure a successful and entertaining performance. “Teddy can always come up with a nice rhythm on this guitar to back me up when I sing. Each time I ask him to play a song, he learns it very quickly and precisely. He’s always really helpful with arranging sets and always comes prepared. I just feel really comfortable playing with Teddy. I really trust him,” Chen commented.
So far, the pair has toured in Chicago, Boston and Seattle, booking gigs at Northwestern University, Brandeis University and the University of Washington. They’ve played cover songs such as “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber, “All of Me” by John Legend and “Stay for With Me” by Sam Hunt for their audiences, as well as a one of Chen’s most popular original songs titled “Best Friend.” “We usually play hip, pop songs depending on what’s popular at the time,” Fan shared. “Two of my personal favorites that we’ve covered are “Umbrella” by Rihanna and “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars.”
Following each performance of 5-6 songs, Fan and Chen always hold a meet and greet with their fans. “The first meet and greet we held was the first time I was asked by fans to sign autographs and take photos. That was so memorable for me,” Fan recalled. “There was one time, while we were performing on stage, an audience member was non-stop screaming my name, which was cool because usually fans are screaming out Jason’s name a lot. After the performance at our meet and greet, she ran over to me and told me how much she loved my work and really wanted to take a photo with me. It was such a crazy experience; I didn’t expect it at all. Working with Jason has made me feel like my career is headed to a new level.”
While Fan solely plays guitar for Chen, he also dabbles with singing and song writing on his own. “Working in music means committing to the type of job where you never know when and where your success will come from, so you can never give up,” Fan said. “My ultimate dream is being a singer-songwriter. I really enjoy writing and performing music. That’s all I want in my life.”
For more information on Teddy Fan, please visit: https://soundcloud.com/teddyfan
For more information on Jason Chen, please visit: http://jasondchen.com