| Profile: Serra (Honey) Chen|
|Name: Serra (Honey) Chen|
Ethnicity: Chinese American
From: New York, NY
Bio from her website:
A self-made artist, Serra Honey made her way grinding through the music industry and the harsh realities of life. Landing a spot on BET's hit show "106th and Park," winning the 107.5 WBLS Open Mic Contest of New York's hit radio station and getting national airplay on SJIRadio were not easy tasks. "There a lot of stereotypes in the music industry that I would like to overcome."
Booking and other information:
15th Asian Entertainment Night @ Baggot Inn
Working with producer Sean Blaze (50 Cent, Juvenile, Hawk) to perfect her undeniable sensual, yet smart sound. Blaze's street credibility and straight-forward demeanor balances her warm and sassy approach to music.
Born in Beijing, China as daughter of a Chinese Opera singer. You could say that that music was in the girls "genes." At the age of six Honey and her family immigrated to the United States to follow the "American Dream."
At an early age Honey began to perform and entertain. Throughout her school years, she played sports, took dance, gymnastics and performed. At age 13 she formed a singing group Changing Colors and performed at school dances and events. She was the choreographer of her dance team, very involved, dedicated and outspoken. At the age of 16 Serra Honey was recognized for her achievements when she qualified for the Ms. Teen Arizona Pageant.
After Honey's demo was recorded, she performed as a dancer on the Justifiable Groove dance team and she was selected to sing the National Anthem for the Houston Rockets. Serra Honey moved to New York City with two suitcases to pursue her musical career. After one month she landed her dream job at ASCAP and later worked for BMI. Gigs soon followed at different venues and events in NYC, including a performance on BET's 106th and Park and opening for Virgin Records recording artist Jin. Honey caught the eye of industry A&R professionals of Ruff Ryders, Sony Music and Universal Music Group, who acknowledged that this "Honey" really can sing. Many have learned that there is no stopping this girl. She is a force of nature. When asked about her music career she simply said, "One day I know it will be mine."
| Interview: Serra (Honey) Chen|
interviewed on May 5,2004
- Tell me a little about yourself.
I love to shop, go to the movies, eat, go to concerts. I like to be entertained and if I am bored I go shopping. Its an addiction, but at least I have cute shoes, fashion is very important to me. My friends really keep me grounded and happy.
- How would you describe your singing style? And your song writing?
My singing style is sultry Jazz R&B, I would compare my sound to Brandy. My songwriting is pop oriented. It is verse chorus bridge/pop progressions
- Where do you get your musical inspirations from?
The radio, mtv life is the best inspiration
- Which artist(s) do you admire?
I love singers like Mariah and Aretha, they are the best because they write and sing and play. That is the coolest
- What is your most memorable/ favorite performance?
I liked BET, cuz I had fun with it and didn't take it too seriously. AJ and Free were pretty cool.
- Tell me about your parents' influence on your music career. Were they supportive?
They were somewhat supportive, but still hope I go to medical school. I think if they could change my mind they would, but they know I am determined.
- Tell me the advantages and disadvantages of being Asian in the music industry.
Well it's a disadvantage being female in this industry and being Asian is extra hard, but you have to roll with the punches, I've learned to just go with it. I can't change the fact that I'm Asian and female, there are obstacles in that.
- What kind of Asian American groups do you especially support?
Yea I love all the Asian Groups, may it be films or artists, I have lots of friends and make sure I check out their shows, pick up a CD, whatever I can do. Its all love.
- Who was your role model growing up?
My role model were my parents, I saw their struggle and I look up to that.
- What are your goals for the future?
My future goals, I want to be an Empire. A one name empire, I don't want to set any limits on myself. I want to do it all, act, sing, dance. I love it all.
- What is your most proud accomplishment(s) so far?
My most proud accomplishment is that I have gotten this far without having to compromise my myself and what I'm about. I can say that I feel happy with my decisions I've made and I think it can only get better.
- What experiences shaped and formed you?
A lot of experiences make up who I am, but I have always been independent and hardworking and I think that shapes me the most, simply trying to take chances. Moving to New York was a big one. I trust myself and my instincts. I like to take the plunge and see where it takes me.
- Which artist would you like to work with (sing a duet) in the future?
Wow, if I had a chance, there are so many. I would have to say Mariah or Aretha and Al Green is one of my favorites too.
- What do you see yourself doing if you weren't a singer?
If I wasn't a singer I think I would do social work, something to where I can help people and see the direct rewards of that.
- Not only does you need talent, but also persistence and patience to get ahead in the music industry. Every artist goes through ups and downs. What keeps you grounded and motivated?
My love drives me, that's simply it. And your right, it is so up and down and if you don't really love it, then you shouldn't be doing it. I don't think I couldn't stop even if I tried. You don't stop going for what you love. But it has been hard and there are tough times, but you to keep the faith. Nobody can do that for you or take that away from you.
- What advice would you give to aspiring Asian American artists?
I would tell them to practice practice practice, because in the end the talent is what sustains you. Take dance, voice, any kind of lessons and try to keep the right kind of people around you. You need people that are there for you and your best interest, If you are not getting that, move on. Know that you are going to get rejected a lot!!! Be prepared for that. Don't listen to what people say, only you know what's right for you.
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