Teddy Fan is a multitalented musician who’s been playing the guitar since he was twelve years old. Since graduating from the Musicians Institute, he’s toured with hit artists all around the U.S., assisted and taught both teachers and students at his Alma matter, as well as pulled from his creative mind to begin writing his own, original songs and music.
Presently, Fan is alternately touring throughout the country with two rising artists, YouTube persona Jason Chen and the hit country-pop musician Christine Huff.
Just this week, I had the opportunity to catch and sit down with Chen during a rare, free moment of his time to get the latest information regarding his career, all outlined in our exclusive interview below.
Where are you from originally and where are you currently located?
TF: I’m from Hong Kong. I’m currently living in Los Angeles, California.
What prompted you to get involved with music early on in your life? What made you want to pursue a career in it?
TF: To me, music is my dream. When I was a kid, I always watched all kinds of rock performance videos. I wished that one day I could play on stage, too. I guess I made my decision when I was 13 years old. I knew it was the only thing I want to do.
Who inspired you early on? Are their any musicians that you look up to?
TF: After I came to US, I met a lot of great teacher who gave me so many opportunities. Two in particular, Katsuya and Adrian are both my mentors and teachers. They’ve helped me a lot.
After you graduated from the Musician Institute, the school hired you as a Teaching Assistant (TA). What did your job as a TA entail? What were you responsible for as far as assisting students and teachers went?
TF: As a TA, my job is to provide a professional session of guitar playing for the entire class. For example, when drum students are in a performance class, they will need a bass player and guitar player to play with, and that’s where I come in. All of the TAs are well trained for each style of music as well as reading sign charts, so any of us can fill in to any class at any time.
Is TA-ing, or just teaching in general, still something you do from time to time?
TF: Other then school stuff, I also do a lot of session work like recording, band events, and songwriting and arranging jobs. I have a few artists who always ask me to okay music for them, and I also do a lot of recording for Katsuya. I’m in an event band, which plays at weddings, company events and different kinds of festivals.
In addition to collaborating with professors and students, you’ve also collaborated with sever other independent artists as well as groups. Who are some of the well-known musicians that you’ve worked with?
TF: The most well known musician that I have worked with is Jason Chen. Jason is a famous YouTube singer with over 1,300,000 followers.
You’ve toured with both Jason Chen and Christine Huff separately as their guitarist. What’s life like on tour?
TF: It’s like my dream come true. I never thought I’d be doing it this early on in my career. I’m getting paid to play music and travel around the U.S., how amazing is that!? It’s a lot of fun to travel and meet with fans. Thought, it is also really tiring to travel by plane or car for sometimes 7-8 hours a day, everyday.
How has being able to tour and introduce new audiences to your music impacted your career as a guitarist?
TF: It’s had such a big impact on my life. It feels like my career is finally growing to a new level. I have more followers and fans, and more people are listening to my music. I feel like being a successful musician is no longer just a dream, I’m actively doing it and it’s been a long journey already!
Do you ever get nervous before performing in front of a large, live audience? If so, how do you combat that feeling?
TF: After all kinds of past performances and experience, I don’t get nervous on stage anymore. I feel more excitement and energy! Of course, the first time I go on a big stage, I feel so nervous and crazy. At that time, I always keep telling myself that I can do it and to just enjoy the stage.
With Jason, the two of you perform both cover songs as well as some of his originals, and with Christine, it’s mostly country-pop. Is there a specific genre of music, or even a few songs, that you enjoy playing the most?
TF: I was born with a love of rock music. I like to play rock songs with a guitar solo! For Christine, I like to play “Country Breakup Song” because it is a rock country song and it has a long guitar solo at the end. For Jason, we both really enjoy playing “Umbrella” by Rihanna. We love this song and it is a song that everyone can sing together, so we like to perform it for our audiences.
When it comes to music, you’re multitalented. Not only do you play guitar, but you also dabble with singing, songwriting and song arranging. How often do you write and play your own music?
TF: I try to write everyday. I have my schedule made up for each day of the week, and I try to keep doing everything at least once a day. That helps me keep myself on track and to prevent lazy days. Practicing my original songs is a part of my schedule. I always prepare before gigs happen. So I always practice my own music.
For those who don’t know, what goes into the process of arranging a song
TF: Arranging a song just like putting clothes on a person. First, you finish a melody with the basic chord. Then, you need to think about what else you need in order to make the song sound beautiful. Usually, the drums, guitar, bass and keyboard are the basic elements of a song. However, nowadays, we also put a lot of electric sounds in songs, too. It all depends on the song and your personal taste of music. To sum up, arranging just like trying to pick the right clothes for a person, and trying to make him or her look great in doing so.
In your opinion, what are some of the most important qualities a musician can possess?
TF: To me, it’s being hardworking and humble. Also, as a musician, you have to keep learning, as always something to be learned. Keeping open mind to all styles of music is additionally important. To me, it’s important to branch out and not just learn what I like.
How do you tie these characteristics into your own practice?
TF: I always try to find some new music to listen and practice, which refreshes my mind and keeps practicing fun. Of course, I also have some basic technique practices that continued to do everyday. Also, I don’t give up and I trust the process.
Outside of playing the guitar and writing music, what else takes up your time? What are some of your personal hobbies and interests?
TF: I like go to the gym and work on my body. I am also a gamer; I like playing Xbox when I have free time. One hobby that I need stop doing so much is basketball. Since I’m guitarist, I need avoid anything that may hurt my hands, so I give up a lot of basketball time, which makes me sad because I love basketball!
What are some of your future goals specifically pertaining to your career in music
TF: Becoming a Singer-Songwriter is my final goal. I hope to one day be able to make a living by performing my own music, and spend every day in a studio and writing new songs. Of course, I want my own studio and team too!
When and where can fans see you perform live in the future?
TF: Christine Huff and I have a show coming up on August 27, 2016 at Bar Lubitsch. For more information please keep an eye on my Facebook page.