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Lucinda Chua - 'An Ocean'
Lucinda Chua : 'An Ocean'
22nd February 2023

Today, London-based artist Lucinda Chua returns to share the new song and accompanying self-directed short film, ‘An Ocean’, from her upcoming debut solo album YIAN, out March 24th via 4AD.

Following the release of ‘Echo’ - a pop song about ancestral trauma, walking the line between respect for the past and the freedom to carve out a new future – ‘An Ocean’ marks the starting point for the next chapter of ‘YIAN’, seeing Chua reconcile with the past and move their attention to the present in this emotionally raw and vulnerable track and short film.

The ocean represents a simultaneous state of pressure and weightlessness for Chua, with the feeling of moving through and pushing against the resistance of the water embodying the way we express our “chi”, our energetic life force, through intentionality and movement. They sing of a yearning for love and belonging over delicate and minimal production: “When I look for your love, like I’m never enough / I feel the calling from the ocean, the ocean my friend”.  The music video, directed by Chua and shot on-location with cinematographer Milo Van Giap during an artist residency in Mallorca in the freezing December cold, embodies this “surrendering of the ego”. Chua stares unflinchingly into the lens as she sings.

Bringing things full circle, she wears a dress she sewed by hand from the set material of the 'Golden' music video, the first single released from YIAN late last year. “Making the dress was transformative, a kind of meditation. I tied the threads together from the Golden chapter of YIAN – an experience that made me feel so connected to the people around me – and turned that feeling into a physical material that I could wear on my person.” Deliberate in all their actions and adept at weaving together both sonic and visual narratives throughout their music and videos, Chua is quickly becoming one of the most arresting and creative acts in her field, further cemented by the release of ‘An Ocean’.

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YIAN (燕), means swallow in Chinese, and is part of “Siew Yian,” the name given to Chua by her parents to preserve her connection with her Chinese heritage. Just as the migratory songbird lives between places, so did Chua, the artist living in the in-between of the English, Malaysian and Chinese cultures that make up her heritage. In the absence of Mandarin as a mother tongue, music became a way to express the parts of herself that couldn’t be described in words; YIAN emerged as a way to heal. 

A deeply introspective and fully realized vessel of creative expression (Chua self-produced and engineered eight of the ten tracks), YIAN emerges as less an album than a worldview, a commitment to learning and uncovering one’s own selfhood honed over Chua’s lifelong reconciliation with her own personal history and identity.  

Through this process she found new language through which to express her experiences, language which lay in the practices she developed and the creative community with whom she built solidarity along the process: co-authoring visual identities with main collaborators Tash Tung, Jade Ang Jackman and Nhu Xuan Hua and set designers Lydia Chan, Jonquil Lawrence and Erin Tse. Chua also constructed the album’s physical language through dance with movement directors Chantel Foo and Duane Nasis, this expression shown most vividly through the short film made for 'Echo'.


Lucinda Chua – YIAN

1. Golden 
2. Meditations On A Place 
3. I Promise 
4. You 
5. An Ocean 
6. Autumn Leaves Don't Come 
7. Echo 
8. Do You Know You Know 
9. Grief Piece 
10. Something Other Than Years