M.D. Chau is a recording artist and music producer previously known as “Minh.” Today he shares a beautiful single titled “Stand Next To Me,” which carries a message of hope for humanity and a better world. Learn more about him in this interview.
1 — When exactly did you change your artistic name?
With the “Stand Next To Me” release, I decided to change my artist name to M.D. Chau. The main reason is there are so many Vietnamese artists named “Minh” and I just couldn’t come up with some clever name that was congruent with who I am.
2 — Musically speaking, are there any differences between Minh and M.D. Chau?
I think the difference is I’m no longer chasing fame or wealth in my music endeavors. I do well in business and I really don’t need much from the industry or even people in terms of approval or accolades. I want to make honest music and use sounds I personally enjoy. Under “Minh” I was trying to find “my sound” mostly because the industry forced that kind of thinking. Now, I don’t really care about any of that. And the music I make, I don’t need it to become popular.
3 — Do you still see yourself pursuing music as a career or a hobby?
The world may correlate or validate a “career” in art with monetary gain and not for the frequency of works being released by the artist. I don’t look at it that way. It’s always been a career for me and will continue to be, but it’s part of my entrepreneurial career – it’s a creative venture within the whole of my entrepreneurial life and my goals.
4 — Are you ever stuck for what record to make next?
Not personally, as far as creative direction or ideation. If something is not being created, it usually has to do with the time and resources I need to get what I want to create out. I have two songs now in the works and I’m letting it sit a bit so I can come back to it with an evolved perspective. One is called “Good To Me” and one is called “Broken Inside”, both of which I wrote in the studio when I decided to just book the room and see what comes out.
I think everyone does and I do too. I would say that it matters less the older I get and the more I realize how true that opening line from “Ted” the movie is… “No matter how big a splash you make in this world whether you’re Corey Feldman, Frankie Muniz, Justin Bieber, or a talking teddy bear, eventually, nobody gives a shit.”
6 – Your latest single “Stand Next To Me” is awesome! What are the lyrics about?
With the lyrics, I wanted to draw attention to the one thing I think we all have in common as humanity, no matter what our differences are… we want to see our families do well and not hurt. I feel like if we can all get around that, we might just gain enough empathy to come together and figure out a middle ground and stop hurting each other’s families. Because of all this hate and division, that’s all it’s doing. I hope the song can somehow be used to bring us together. If I can get the resources and connections I need, I’d love to do an essay and songwriting contest about unity in middle schools and high schools across the country with a scholarship prize with the theme “Stand Next To Me.”
7 – Who or what inspired you to write this song?
All the Asian hate crimes happening as well as the injustices happening to pretty much every race across our globe. I also always had a vision in my head of all the moms in the world that work so hard for their families, including my mom. And when we act like horrible human beings, we shame them – we shame the family that has been sacrificing so much for us. For another person, it may not be a mother – it may be their father, uncle, grandma, etc… we have to do better as humans, for our family’s sake.
The pianist on my song is also an incredible music director, Rashad Howard. He’s played for some big names in music. He also plays in churches, so when I wanted a choir sound, he got some choir singers from a church he plays for and that’s what we came up with in the studio in a session. They did an incredible job!
9 – Are you already working on your next single?
Yes, there are two I’m working on that I mentioned in the previous question. But, I’m also thinking about re-doing some of the songs from when I was “Minh” and released five albums. Some of those songs I think deserve a new musical effort behind them.
10 – If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
I don’t think artists and songwriters are being compensated enough to make a living, yet songs permeate every aspect of our lives. I wish entrepreneurs could figure out a way to reward artists in their ventures that use music as a vehicle. I don’t think you can expect consumers to step up. I think business people need to consider the hard work behind every piece of music released for their use. I think artists also need to understand that if there’s not a marriage between art and commerce, none of us would be inspired by any of the artists that have influenced us – and that’s true in every artform! Many artists are too difficult when it comes to commercializing their art and they don’t reach someone that probably really needs a piece of what is coming out of them.