Cheryl Chow, alum from the Class of 2014, is an up and coming artist and songwriter who released her first EP back in 2020. She has now moved back to Hong Kong, where she is continuing her music journey through film and sound design .
Name: Cheryl Chow
Graduating Year: 2014 (but I actually left CIS in 2012 hahaha, graduated from another school)
Years at CIS: 5
College & Degree: Berklee College of Music. Bachelor’s in Music Production & Engineering
Current city of residence: Hong Kong Places lived before: Boston, Los Angeles
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself ?
I was born and raised in Hong Kong. I’ve always loved composing music when I was younger. While I’ve ventured (and am still venturing) into literature (poetry, essays), photography and filmmaking, I mainly pursued music production and writing in college. I spent two years after college in Los Angeles where the heart of the music industry is, then moved back to Hong Kong in 2019. I am currently freelancing as an artist/composer/sound designer and as a writer.
What made you become interested in the music industry? Did you know this is your passion back in high school?
I’ve loved composing since I started taking piano lessons when I was a kid. I would compose (bad) melodies and studied chords in my own time, making up my own theories about intervals and chords in relation to mood—theories that didn’t really work with the ABRSM classical theory I was taught. I never thought I would ever sing to the public; I just wanted to compose.
At the end of high school, I was really depressed; this sounds corny but the only thing that I thought made sense at the time was the form of the song. Words put to music. At the time, that was the only thing that I found worth in. It really saved me, in a way. I kept writing songs throughout and after that, and in college I decided to put out music on the Internet, with no expectations.
What has been the biggest challenge in your career so far?in environmental protection/sustainable projects? And how did your passion grow?
Money, honestly. I’m very privileged, and very grateful to have had the education that I’ve had, and to have a certain level of support or a safety net from my family (I currently live at home). To pursue any creative career in Hong Kong when you’re just starting out while paying rent in Hong Kong is near impossible without either financial support/safety net. Which is why I have a bunch of part-time jobs and other income streams. It’s a challenge to balance it all.
What is your biggest achievement in your music career so far?
The more typical answer would be that I’ve toured with artists/bands I really admire. But actually I think the more personally rewarding achievement is that I’ve been (financially) independent with my main job being music-related. This was my only goal as a child.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to work on more music for films, for documentaries, or even for advertisements. I love sound design, and I love film, so it only makes sense. I still plan on writing better music and experimenting with different formats in both film and music. I just want to make interesting things.
What was your most memorable CIS moment?
Lining up for lunch at the cafeteria and talking about silly things with friends. And studying Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close with Mr. Manshel. Studying Mao with Dr Amthor too. Those two ‘units’ really changed the way I saw words and the way I saw the world.
How did your CIS experience contribute to who you are today?
CIS encouraged creativity and individuality.
Is there a person who deserves a mention / a teacher who helped shape your world-view
Mr Manshel, Dr Amthor, Mr Rabach.
Please read the following questions and write down the first answer to pop into your mind (3-second limit):
1) What do you like to do in your free time? Research some obscure thing
b) Who was your favourite CIS teacher? Mr Rabach
c) If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be? Thom Yorke
d) What do you wish you knew more about? Mushrooms