I’ve always been a fan of YouTube sensation Casey Breves. With his dulcet tones and masterful craft, he’s been making rounds on the internet with his collaborations with husband Sam Tsui and other influential YouTubers, creating original content and mashup covers that are seamless and of another breed altogether. Yet it had never occurred to me that my love for his music could intersect with my passion for Mandopop until he released a cover of Jay Chou’s ‘告白氣球Love Confession’ in early March with Kurt Hugo Schneider and Jasmine Clarke. With the exception of Asian American influencers such as Jason Chen who have hopped onto the Mandopop bandwagon, Breves’ and Schneiders’ involvement in this project came as a pleasant surprise for me, as they seem to be the first Western acts to show any interest in the Mandarin music scene.
My attention diverted to Breves in particular, as I soon realised that he was no beginner at speaking Mandarin. His crisp pronunciation encouraged me to dig deeper, until I found yet another cover he had done a few years back, of indie singer-songwriter Bai An白安’s breakout hit ‘What Led Me To You 是什麼讓我遇見這樣的你’ which he professed to be one of his favourite songs. As my excitement levels peaked, I immediately drafted an email to invite the talented artist to share a little about his lesser-known interest in Mandopop and bridging cultural gaps with us.