We created Graedance with the idea of creating a symbol of unity, of shared experience - that could help people connect and grow together away from isolation. It's through togetherness, that we can embrace confidence and assurance in our identity. At its heart, Graedance is about strengthening community through expressive design, and to inspire you to be the best version of yourself - one that embraces all your intersectional identities to create majesty as the gradient you take up in this world.
For the thrid interview our ‘grey area’ series of interviews, we step out of the Detroit kitchen of Chef Jon Kung and the warm light filled studio space of Jess Brohier, in Naarm (Melbourne), towards the studio of Keenan Te, a young Australian-Asian ballad singer taking the web by storm.
1. What ‘grey area’ did you believe you occupied, or still occupy now, as an individual growing up? How has this influenced your work?
The biggest grey area for me is growing up Asian in a Western society. I definitely had to learn how to love my differences to the people I saw around me and embrace my Asian upbringing and culture. This has influenced my work through my style of songwriting - I grew up listening to a lot of western artists as well as Asian artists and I think that blend has come through into my own songwriting.
2. As an Asian artist growing up in Australia, what were some challenges you faced, and how have you overcome then?
The biggest challenge I faced as an Asian growing up in Australia was coming to terms with the fact that I had to work twice as hard for the same opportunities or recognition as my western peers. Especially in the music industry in Australia, there was not (and still isn’t) that much Asian representation, so this is still a challenge that I face today. I think the way I overcome this is by accepting it and using it as motivation to succeed even further.
3. What kind of change would you like to see in your industry in the upcoming years?
There is so much amazing Asian talent within the music industry that is only just beginning to get the recognition it deserves. There needs to be 100x more of this.
4. What lessons or advice could you give to those trying to embrace their difference / grey area?
You stand out for a reason, use this to your advantage and don’t dim yourself down just to fit in!
You can hear Keenan's music here.