Recently, Los Angeles' very own Kenton Chen released a new single titled "The Times" under the guise of his latest project Bridesmen. He's an indie neo-soul, R&B singer/songwriter who is set out to encourage others to find the power within and to use compassion to enact change in our world. You may know Chen due to his impressive career thus far. He has been performing with The Beatbacks on the show Sing-Off, his other project Scary Pockets, performing with Postmodern Jukebox, and singing with Kesha, Katy Perry, Mary J. Blige, Portugal the Man, Demi Lovato, and Jennifer Hudson.
Although he is known for music, Chen is also an actor on the show Perfect Harmony and an LGBTQ community advocate.
"I want to be very real about just how I'm feeling in my emotions and the things I personally deal with often. "The Overwhelm," dealt with depression and mental health issues. I don't necessarily push for just queer messaging, really. I would hope that any of my music is not so niche that people can't see past what I'm trying to say. The message, especially of 'The Times,' should be very universal." says Chen about his new single to Billboard magazine.
Watch Bridesmen - The Times
"We hurt when we don't understand each other and we hurt when we are unwilling to change. The best thing we can do is be ourselves within the context of what we were given. I want people to know that as I have grown and matured as an artist and a human being, I've come to realize that my specific experiences of being gay and Asian are not particular to me. My life story reverberates far beyond my specificities, and anyone from any race or sexuality can empathize with the need to belong and be understood”, expresses Chen.
From the start of the video, Chen can be seen dressed all in white dancing and singing while bodies dance around him in painted body suits hiding their identities. That is, until the very end; when each face is revealed.
"What I'm trying to say is we go through life with all these masks. So you see me going through life and it feels like I’m dancing by myself and I'm alone in all this, and there's these faceless entities and spirits that I'm constantly battling with in my head. And it isn't until I open my eyes to see that we’re all in this together. We can take off our masks and stop trying to be so strong all the time and to express anger or frustration or sadness is a good thing. It's actually very important to do that and to support each other in expressing that." Chen says to Billboard magazine.
The lyrics are reflective of Chen's own personal struggles. Growing up in California to a traditional Asian family, he hid his sexuality and felt like an outcast. In today's society, its important for songs like his to exist to remind us all that we aren't alone, that it's okay to be who we are no matter what your background is, and there shouldn't be any shame in who you are. As he sings in "The Times", "We can stop fighting for who we are" and that in itself is a powerful message.
Keep up to date with Kenton Chen and his many projects with the links below.
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