May Hwen expresses a love
for Taiwan through music
By Derek Kensinger
Translated by Angel Pu
Much like Taiwan's changeable weather, Taichung's live-music scene--after experiencing a bit of cloudiness and gloom--often gives way to clearer skies and shining stars. Brightening the skies recently is one rising musical star, half-Taiwanese, half-American May Hwen, who arrived only two months ago from half-way around the world to share her music with Taiwan.
"Everyone keeps telling me that people in Taiwan will love my music, so I'm here to give my music to Taiwan," says May who has already started doing just that via the 2013 Spring Scream and Taipei's Roxy Rocker and Bobwundaye, with plans to play Taichung soon together with long-time local rockers Reid as her back-up band.
Hailing from musical hotbed Nashville, Tenessee, May released two Taiwan-inspired albums in rapid succession in the last year, both available for a free perusal at: https://soundcloud.com/mayhwen, or for purchase on iTunes. Her first effort, "Strait Push", is an explosive rock 'n'roll album whose name refers to the Taiwan Strait and is characterized by stories of independence, struggle, redemption and love. "Under Control", recorded as a follow-up, is dedicated to her late grandfather, an American actor and army colonel, and is more sonically chilled-out and lyrically driven than "Strait Push".
Although she personally dedicated both albums to Taiwan, they are musically inspired by international recording artists. May cites Canadian singer-songwriter Esthero as her primary influence, in addition to Erykah Badu and Alicia Keys. She sings and writes all her own original songs and has started playing the keyboard in the studio and in concert. Like the above stellar mainstream artists, May is also beginning to receive publicity in major music magazines.
Royal Flush Magazine reviewed her music as "sexy and racy...and will leave you wanting more", while Noomizo magazine hailed her work as "original, clear and powerful...ranging from dark to bright, soft to hard, yet held together by one definitive sound". Driven by her recent successes, she is not slowing down and aims to continue releasing two albums per year.
Like many artists, she attributes her prolific musical output to a need to share her ideas with the world. And the reason she wants to share these musical ideas with Taiwan is a simple and sincere tribute to the worth of this nation. As she notes, "It's my favorite place in the whole world."