Artist Interview: “Boba Tea” by Celestine Liu

Q:   I love the diversity of genres in Liunique, can you tell us more
about the album? What were the inspirations?

CELESTINE LIU: I’ve always been wanting to create an album that fuses different genres and musical elements. So in this album, I wrote five songs all in different genres, spanning from indie-pop, Jazz, EDM (Moombahton) to classical. I also tried to express my voice in many different ways – in my songs “The Gentle Wind” and “Boba Tea”, I sang in the mezzo-soprano voice with the bel canto techniques, whereas in my songs “Dance to the Rhythm” and “Gut Feeling” I used the higher, soprano voice. I want this album to be unique in terms of its creativity and diversity.

My inspirations mainly came from my life experiences. For example, I recently got married to my beloved boyfriend, so I was inspired to compose something showing our sweet love for each other (“Boba Tea”). During the pandemic, I’ve been seeing people suffering from depression, so I decided to write a song (“Dance to the Rhythm”) to cheer them up and regain positiveness in life.

Q: What was the creative process like?

I usually would first create a scene in my mind and try to describe the scene with the lyrics in a poetic way. Then I would try to come up with some melodies that match the lyrics and think about what kind of instruments would be proper for this song. Sometimes I will also collaborate with other musicians and get their advice on composing and producing. When the composing is done, I will go recording and try to express the song in a suitable voice. After some final editing, the whole production process would be done and the song would be ready to meet the audience.

Q:  I was really intrigued by how you mix jazz influence with Boba Tea. That’s very interesting. How did you come up with the idea?

LIU: Once I was listening to some relaxing jazz music with my husband and we were both enjoying boba tea. I really enjoyed his company, and then I suddenly got the inspiration that I should write a sweet jazz song to express our love. I then imagined a charming lady in a movie scene – she is deeply in love with her lover and is trying to show her love in an elegant way. I turned what she would say into the lyrics and composed some melodies that suit this scene, and that was the song.

Q: Can you tell us more about your musical background?

LIU: I started performing and composing when I was very young. I remember as a child I already participated in many singing competitions and had won many awards. I was considered to be talented in music by people around me and was promising to become a star. In junior high school, I decided to pursue music as my career and started receiving professional musical training. In college, I studied Chinese folk singing, composing, and playing the piano for four years, after which I came to the US for my master’s degree in vocal performance.

Q:   How have different cultural influences been reflected in your music?

LIU: I think my music has been heavily influenced by western music at different epochs, from the classical style that formed hundreds of years ago, to the jazz style that emerged in the 20th century, and the indie-pop genre that appeared in recent years. I also try to incorporate elements from eastern music into my works, such as the sounds of Chinese traditional instruments.

Q:  Anything exciting for us to look forward to in the near future?

LIU: Sure! I’m planning to compose more new songs in different styles in the near future. I already have a few ideas that hopefully I can turn into great songs. Also, as our life is getting back to normal gradually, I will try to get more opportunities to perform live on stage. So if you haven’t already, please make sure to follow me on Spotify, Instagram, and Facebook @Celestine Liu to get my most recent updates!

Interviewed by Katrina Yang




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