Dyan Tai chats about his new video for ‘Freedom’

Malaysian-born, Sydney-based artist Dyan Tai has been getting people’s attention with his latest track Freedom – and now it’s got a stunning video that celebrates Asian members of the LGBTIQ+ communities.

OUTinPerth chatted to Dyan about writing the song and making the stylish clip that accompanies it, telling us that he wrote the song drawing on lots of different parts of

“It is based on my story, growing up in Malaysia. So grew up in a small town, there’s not a lot of visibility, especially 20 years ago.” Tai said. “I didn’t really have someone to look up to, I didn’t have a clear role model to look up to. In Malaysia a lot of people choose to blend in, they choose to blend in and be safe.”

“The danger of doing that is you then become invisible, and then we have one of the ministers in Malaysia saying, “Oh, what’s LGBTIQ, I don’t think that exists. We don’t have that here in Malaysia'”.

Having grown up in a society where expressions of sexuality are shunned, and experiencing family break up as a teenager when his parent’s separated, Tai set his sights on a moving to Australia where he could experience more freedom.

“So Freedom is really about coming out and finding my authentic self here in Australia, and finding my voice as an artist. But the other thing is it’s also about concepts of masculinity, because I grew up in a very conservative small town. I feel like a lot of places around the world still have very binary concepts of what gender is and they’d like boys to behave.

“So it’s really about finding freedom from those stereotypes. I don’t consider myself a drag queen, I would describe myself as a drag artist and I’ve experimented with gender and I’m a gender free being when I’m performing in my character.

Tai said it was really empowering to have a cast of all Asian LGBTIQ+ performers in the music video for the song.

“It was really empowering because you know, it’s so rare. to see one Asian performer standing up, never mind a whole cast of them.” Tai said.

Tai first started releasing music back in 2012 and since then has increasingly focused on making music that works both the audience and the artist.

“I used to write songs, you know, trying to, like cater to an end sound or trying to like write songs to cater to what the radio stations are playing. Now with Spotify and social media, you can sort of build a brand and grow your own community. So I feel like now I can be my authentic self, and release music.”

Take a look at the video. 

Graeme Watson, Images by Lexi Potts. 

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