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Mitchell Grey interview with

Mitchell Grey
To understand the beauty of Mitchell Grey’s artistic chemistry, compare Ryan Bandong’s solo recording of his hit song “Hazel” to the version he performs with bandmates Joseph Diaz, Napon Pintong, and Matt Pana. An infectiously catchy, upbeat pop track on Bandong’s debut EP, “Hazel” takes on an even richer sound when injected with the band’s self-described “alternative R&B and indie-pop” flavor. Each song is performed with the same deep, full quality – one that is only achieved when a piece consciously highlights every instrument rather than blends them in the backdrop. Their music is genuine, performed with precise musicality, and ultimately showcases the unique talents of each of the four musicians. Throw in the fact that the guys genuinely seem to love performing with each other, and Mitchell Grey is a musical collaboration that works.

The band credits its start to Bandong’s artistic vision, and in its early age, used his established popularity in the YouTube scene to help market the fledgling project. Bandong, 20, who currently has almost 28,000 subscribers on his personal YouTube channel, started putting up videos in 2009 and released an EP, “Surrounded by White Walls,” in July 2010. But when he turned to his three friends to help move his music in a new direction, and the group realized their undeniable chemistry together, a musical partnership evolved that went beyond highlighting just one central musician.
Mitchell Grey
“I think the core and the origin of the band is really Ryan,” said Pana, 23. “He was initially at the center of everything, of the music and the marketability of the band. But now I feel with all of us bringing different parts to this whole band, it’s become something that’s not just Ryan alone or us alone. Now it’s more of a collective, and not just one person.”

“We all shine together,” Bandong added.

All of the band members had experience in the music industry before Mitchell Grey, and each has stories to share of trying to find his own place in the scene. Pintong, 21, also pursued a solo singer/songwriter career via YouTube, uploading covers, originals, and collaborations with artists like Bandong and AJ Rafael. Pana played the drums in various bands in New York and New Jersey, while Diaz, 22, spent a year on the West Coast trying to jumpstart his career with help from the large YouTube community there. The synergy between them as Mitchell Grey marks a significant turning point in four very unique musical careers.

“Each and every one of us are all just filters for everyone else,” said Pana. “We bring the best out of each other. The clutter from our past experiences as musicians and everything else – that all came together for a more refined and a more pure sound, and it’s just growth from here on out.”

Though the members are continuously working to blend their different styles, they also aren’t looking to limit their sound. Apart from trying to create what Diaz called “an aggressive musical ‘soundscape,’” the band allows many different influences to find their way into different tracks.

“For just this one part, we might have a ska fill or an R&B fill,” Bandong said. “We really just grab inspiration from everywhere.”

They also grab inspiration from one another. Diaz in particular believes his personal sound has evolved from collaborating with his band mates.
Mitchell Grey
“I’ve noticed that now, even when I write stuff away from the band, I have a touch of Ryan’s lyrical stuff in there, a touch of Napon’s grooving and Matt’s grooving,” explained Diaz. “It’s kind of cool how our joint work has changed us as individuals and it’s been a really enlightening experience because of that.”
As a band with close ties to both the YouTube and Asian-American communities, New York-based Mitchell Grey found that starting out on the East Coast, where both scenes are much smaller, was actually to their advantage. The band had the opportunity to develop with much less competition from artists vying for a similar target audience. But while they may not make the West Coast a home base anytime soon, they are planning to take a trip out at the end of the year.

“I recorded my debut EP in San Diego,” Bandong said, “and that’s where we’re going to go in late December to record our album.” As to why he didn’t permanently move to California during his solo career, Bandong explained, “I didn’t feel it. [My music] didn’t come out the way I wanted it to. But with these guys…it’ll all come together.”

Since three of the four band members are Asian-American, there are definite cultural influences that find their way into the band’s identity. Pintong pinpointed family-oriented values and anime as two of the most prominent of these influences. But the guys don’t want to typecast Mitchell Grey as being just about one distinct culture. Having just done shows for Flipino, Indonesian, and Latin American causes, Bandong said, “We love learning about every culture together.”

The band is currently slated to release a full-length album in 2012 and have ambitious plans to eventually tour the world together. Traveling and putting out new material are top priorities on the agenda. When asked about the future direction of Mitchell Grey, the general consenus was “more” –more shows, more interviews, and more memories.

As the group continues to face the unique challenge of moving from a Ryan Bandong-fronted band into a completely unified Mitchell Grey identity, they are determined to make their passion the focus of their promotion.

“It’s not even about me or about us,” Bandong said. “In the end, it’s really about the music and the art that we have. We believe in it so much that that’s our market – our music.”

If you’re in Toronto this Friday, be sure to catch Mitchell Grey at EL MOCAMBO – 464 Spadina Avenue (Intersection of College & Spadina). Get more details here.

Mitchell Grey interview with

Blackout Step Team : Kollaboration Boston 1 Winners

Blackout Step Team : Kollaboration 1 Winners

Blackout, Tufts University’s all-male step team, took first place at the inaugural Kollaboration Boston 1 competition on Saturday, April 16, 2011. In front of over 1000 audience members at the John Hancock Hall in downtown Boston, Blackout performed a crisp, high-energy routine that ultimately beat out the eight other competing acts in combined audience reaction and judges’ scores.

As the members – Kyle Carbone, Groom Dinkneh, Chris Owens, Ekow Essel, Drew Bibby, Fernando Fiorentino, and Karl Wang – stood backstage after the show, all that they could say at first amidst their shock and excitement were words of gratitude. “It’s for everybody, not just us,” said Owens, in reference to their win. “We appreciate the help and the cooperation everyone’s given us and it’s just amazing.” Added Dinkneh, “It’s the greatest thing that’s happened to the group, that’s for sure.” The step tradition has roots in African culture, and Blackout was founded in 2004 under the Tufts African Students Organization, according to their website. Today, the diversity of the group – which Fiorentino likened to “a Gap commercial” – is a testament to how successfully the team, in its short history, has been able to bring an appreciation for step to a much larger community.

Their diversity also illustrates how far Kollaboration has come as a movement in the entertainment industry. Eric Nam, the executive director of Kollaboration Boston, thought that Blackout was very deserving of their win, despite the fact that the team doesn’t exactly have the look of a typical Kollaboration winner. “Kollaboration Boston is about uniting and empowering,” Nam said. “We sought to showcase the talents and abilities of Asian Americans across all forms of the fine arts.

At it’s core, Kollaboration should rise above racial bounds; this is why we exist in the first place. The men of Blackout put on an outstanding show and in the end, I only have to say, ‘Congratulations!’”

The team, in return, credits a lot of their success to shows precisely like Kollaboration, shows that help to get people to “look at you,” which Bibby described as another key factor in becoming successful. All of the current members had little to no experience with step coming into Blackout, but through hard work, dedication, and a lot of performance, wound up loving the dance form. The team used Wang, whom Fiorentino called one of the team’s best steppers, as an example of someone who worked through his initial intimidation on Blackout by continually putting himself in front of audiences.

“For anyone trying to make it out and trying to make their big break,” Bibby advised, “just go out there and keep trying.” For their first-place win, the team received the Kollaboration trophy and $1000, as well as a trip to Kollaboration in LA later in the year.

Blackout Step Team : Kollaboration 1 Winners

Kollaboration Boston 1 : Behind the scenes

Kollaboration Boston 1 : Behind the scenes

Kollaboration Boston 1 on April 16, 2011 was not only the first Kollaboration event in Boston, but also the first city-wide Asian-American talent show to ever hit the city. Over 1000 people packed into the John Hancock Hall in downtown Boston to support what the Kollaboration executive director and MC for the night, Roy Choi, called the “empowerment through entertainment” movement. Guest performers Ahmir, Jane Lui, Sam Kang, D-Pryde, and Erika David helped to hype up the crowd as nine hopeful finalists performed for judges Lui, Vudoo Soul, Sarah Elentukh, Giles Li, and Enrique Novales. At the end of the night, the Boston-based dance team Synergy took second place and Tufts University’s Blackout Step Team was named the Kollaboration Boston winner.
Though the night went so smoothly that it almost seemed effortless, the Kollaboration Boston team worked tirelessly behind the scenes for months to ensure that they could successfully bring Kollaboration to its 12th city. channelAPA got the chance to talk to some of the E-Board members to learn more about their experiences, their goals, and the challenges of being a Kollaboration team composed entirely of college students and young professionals.

Kollaboration has established itself as an incredible, empowering event for the APA community. How does it feel knowing that you’ve helped to successfully bring Kollaboration to Boston?

Eric Nam (Executive Director): I often told my team that working with Kollaboration Boston was like working in a startup where you always had to be on your toes and ready for things to deviate from the plan. Having said that, I am very pleased with how Kollaboration Boston 1 came together and am so thankful for all of the support from friends, family, and the community.

Shannon Pan (Programming Director): It is incredibly empowering to be part of the team that [brought] Kollaboration to Boston for the first time in history. Boston has a large APA community, but there is still a lot work to be done when it comes to bringing Asian American talent to the forefront. Knowing that we are making progress and are striving for a positive change brings me immense happiness because I know I am part of something phenomenal.

Haylee Thikeo (Programming Director): Just knowing that I am a part of Kollaboration Boston’s history is astonishing. I still can’t even believe it myself. Nine months ago, the Kollaboration Boston team came together as strangers with a vision for a unified show. It just goes to show how hungry the East Coast is for events to showcase the APA movement.

What have been some of the highlights of your experience?

Sue Byun (Public Relations Director): My favorite part of the experience was working with an amazing team of spunky passionate people from all different skill sets and backgrounds. Another was really being able to take pride in what we were doing – showcasing truly amazing vocalists, dancers, beatboxers, rappers, and musicians at a world-class performing arts venue.

Eric: The finalists are all amazing people and it was a pleasure getting to know them and working with them throughout the process. Even now, after the show, we are in touch with them, are friends, and they are collaborating (no pun intended) on side projects as they continue on their paths as artists. For me, it was not only the relationships with the finalists that were meaningful, but also the strong bonds that I was able to build with my Kollaboration Boston team. I like to think of them as my family and it was a true pleasure getting to know each and everyone of them as we pursued the same goal.

Qian Chen (Associate Director): We sold out just hours before the show but those numbers didn’t really hit me until I saw the full house, and then I realized that my team and I made it happen. It definitely was an incredible experience. We had put nine months of work into this and a lot of it was behind the scenes, so seeing it all come together was awesome.

Can you describe what it was like working with such a young team as well as some of the challenges you had to overcome to make Kollaboration Boston happen?

Qian: One of the biggest challenges that we faced was the distance and spread of our team. In order to make it a true Kollaboration Boston, we pulled together a team from all campuses in Boston. We had people driving in an hour to come to meetings. A lot of our work was done over Skype or phone calls, which made communication difficult at first. However, in spite of all these difficulties we grew as a family and got used to waking up and sleeping to Kollaboration Boston.

Sue: Making something materialize essentially out of thin air was definitely the biggest challenge. We worked closely with LA headquarters, who really mentored us in terms of the big picture and made sure we worked within Kollaboration’s tried and true success formula that has worked so well in 12 cities so far. Still, our team was guided by little more than the big picture idea: bringing Asian American entertainment into the mainstream by putting on a show of epic proportions.

What kind of message do you hope Kollaboration Boston will send out to the wider community?

Shannon: I hope Kollaboration will be an inspiration to the young Asian Americans of Boston. We need to be proactive, passionate, and committed because we are a generation that can make a difference.

Eric: As cliché as it may sound, if you have the passion, the inspiration and the drive to pursue something, you can achieve it. I hope that Kollaboration Boston will be an annual event that will serve as a rallying point – not only for the APA community but also for the greater Boston community – as it continues to celebrate the arts and the various talents in the community.

Qian: I think one thing that distinguishes the city of Boston is that most of the younger generation here are not locals. We have no real ties to the city except for the fact that we spend four years here for college and some get jobs here afterwards. However, we are dedicated to the city and we still want to help it grow as much as we can. As college students, we grow to love Boston as our own and as Asian Americans, we need some stronger representation in the mainstream media.

Haylee: I hope that the APA community in the New England area learns from Kollaboration that the best ammunition for fighting against negative stereotypes in the media is to create events that celebrate our accomplishments and talents. I hope that events like Kollaboration Boston inspire people to take activism into their own hands in a positive light. Not only can someone just sit there and blog about the issues, but we got to take direct positive action as well. We got to go out there and make a difference!

Kollaboration Boston 1 performers interview

Andrew Garcia : Filipino or not?

Andrew Garcia : Filipino or not?

As the Boston University Filipino Student Association’s “ISA: The World is One” event got underway, the event’s featured performer, Andrew Garcia, was in his dressing room, good- naturedly laughing, “I wonder if they know I’m not Filipino?”

Garcia, a singer/songwriter out of Moreno Valley, California and a Top 10 finalist on Season 9 of American Idol, is Hispanic. But for many different reasons, including his YouTube collaborations with many other performers in the APA community, including fellow singer/songwriter and good friend AJ Rafael, he is often mistaken for being Filipino. He takes the mix-
up in stride and is more than willing to praise the community that “adopted him” as one of their own.

“Mexicans and Asians are the same, you know,” said Garcia, whose fiancé is Filipino, “very family-oriented and with a lot of love and support for good talent. It’s really cool to just be embraced by the culture.”

Garcia, who has collaborated with APA performers like AJ Rafael, Cathy Nguyen, and Lydia Paek, credits his network of collaborators to shows featuring YouTube entertainers and sharing connections with his friends. His focus is on the “jamming” and creating fresh music through blending the talents and passions of other performers.

It’s this dedication to the art form, and not necessarily the fame that comes with it, that helped make Garcia successful during his run on American Idol. After the preliminary rounds on the show, Garcia and the other contestants were kept in an “Idol bubble” and were only allowed to practice for their performances and to promote the “Idol” campaign. Because of this policy, he said that it was easy to focus only on the performance and the judges’ reaction, and not the 30 million viewers tuning in each show. He said that it wasn’t until the first time he ran into TMZ snapping pictures of the contestants out shopping that he realized how big of a deal his appearance on the show actually was. He remained focused on making the most of his “crazy” opportunity until his elimination on April 14, 2010.

The effects of that experience, however, are far from over. He is back to collaborating with fellow performers, adding the lessons he learned from “Idol” and the fan base he garnered from the show to the communal jam session. He is also working on his first album, due out on June 7th.

But despite all of this success, he still believes that one of the best parts of being a musician is being able to inspire others with his talent. He welcomes his opportunity to serve as a role model for others – no matter what ethnicity they believe him to be.

“Music has no color,” he said. “Whether people want to bring together different parts of Asia or all different cultures to make good music and have a good time, it really doesn’t matter.”

Andrew Garcia talks about being “adopted” by the APA community

The Jubilee Project interview with

The Jubilee Project interview with
The March 26th Boston finale of The Jubilee Project’s spring tour marked the end of a very successful venture: a four-city concert series that brought together an estimated 650 fans, featured a variety of musical talent, and ultimately allowed the team to take its message – that “doing good is contagious” – on the road for the first time.

The successful completion of the tour, and all that it was able to accomplish, is made even sweeter by the fact that it’s only been a year since the non-profit organization, made up by Eric Lu and brothers Jason and Eddie Lee, was first conceived. The team, who produces videos to raise awareness and money for other non-profits, has impressively garnered nearly 10,000 subscribers and over 1 million views on their YouTube channel.

“When we began this, we never expected to be where we are,” said Jason, the founder of The Jubilee Project. “We thought that it would be a simple idea where we’d inspire a lot of other people to make videos. But the outpouring of support from not only the APA community but people all around the world has been incredible.”

Their purpose is straightforward: to make videos featuring various nonprofit organizations and find sponsors to donate money to the featured organization for every view. At first, the members themselves picked the non-profits they wanted to feature, such as Save the Children and Liberate North Korea (See The Waiting Game video). But as their audience and influence have grown, the process has become a little more complicated. Projects that are able to garner a large number of sponsors, and organizations that are willing to commit to a long-term relationship beyond the video fundraiser, are the ones given first priority in the recently overwhelming influx of requests.
Eddie Lee, Jason Lee, and Eric Lu of Jubilee Project
The members trace the inspiration for The Jubilee Project back to January 12, 2010, which was not only Jason’s 22nd birthday, but also, unfortunately the day of the Haiti earthquake. Taking this coincidence as a call to action, he and some friends took to a New York subway stop to try and busk to raise money for Haiti, and then uploaded a video documenting their efforts to YouTube.

It was the overwhelming response to this video, and the subsequent videos that Jason, Eddie, and Eric would later upload as The Jubilee Project, that illustrate the power of social media to invoke change. Since then, they’ve had people of all ages and from all over the world reaching out to give their support and report on their own efforts to do good in their respective communities. This is exactly what the trio – whose purpose is to “enable, empower, and inspire
others to do good” – wants to see.

“The amazing thing about social media in this day and age is that about 2 billion videos are viewed everyday,” said Eddie. “We realized that if we had just 1% of that and moved it toward doing goodwill, we can do a tremendous amount of work in this community.”

Top Chef video by Jubilee Project

But trying to harness the power of YouTube has come with outcomes beyond raising awareness for non-profit groups. The Jubilee Project members themselves are now being viewed as YouTube personalities and have found themselves embraced by the growing APA YouTube entertainment community. Some recent collaborations with this community include a video with Clara C, Jennifer Chung, and Arden Cho for World Vision (See Top Chef video.), and a partnership with afterschoolspecial at the New York concert on their tour. Though the members are quick to praise everyone who’s helped embrace “the new kids on the block,” they are also determined to keep their success on the entertainment spectrum of YouTube limited to providing inspiration for the greatest number of people. The purpose of The Jubilee Project, they all believe, is to do work that is far greater than just the three individual members.

This is partially why their first tour together wound up as a concert series. More than just showcasing the team’s projects, all three members agreed that the tour’s purpose was to “spread the love,” including love for musical acts that ranged from friends to local talent in the cities they visited (Washington D.C., New York City, Philadelphia, and Boston). The Boston concert featured Rooftop Pursuit, Sophia Moon, The Extra Fingers, and Courtney Ateyeh, a singer/songwriter from Berklee College of Music in Boston. In the hours before the show, the members heaped praise on the performers and expressed their delight that they could use their tour to bring attention to the talented musicians. It is precisely this passion for others, and their willingness to use their success to bring others to the forefront, that has become characteristic of The Jubilee Project’s endeavors.

“Once this becomes just about us then we’ve failed in what we want to do,” said Eric. “What we’re trying to do is so much greater, so much more than just us three and we want this to be about everyone.”

Though it was not an initial intention of the group to speak specifically to the Asian American population, the trio has also embraced the response that their commitment to “everyone” has elicited from the APA community in particular. An upcoming video on The Jubilee Project agenda is a music video with Rooftop Pursuit called, “Why I Sing,” which will raise awareness for Hepatitis B, a serious concern specifically for this community. They are proud to not only promote activism but also act as role models in general for a young Asian American population slowly finding more idols in entertainment and social media.

“This is our moment and this is such a phenomenal moment in the APA community,” said Eddie. “We have to seize this moment and we can’t let this pass us by. You see the hunger and activism that’s already out there and we want to keep that momentum going forward.”

If the events of this first year are of any indication, it seems as though bright things are certainly in the future for The Jubilee Project. They said that they are determined to remain grateful and humbled by the opportunity they’ve been given, but are also motivated to show how far inspiration and a bit of goodwill can lead.

“They’ve given us a chance,” said Eddie, “and we feel that we owe it to them – to these individuals, to the blogs, to the community – to take the trust that they’ve given us and not waste it, but use it and turn it into gold. We want to take that energy from the community, the hunger to do good, and transform it into a powerful movement to do powerful things.”

The Jubilee Project interview with

Also see The Jubilee Projects most popular video on, Love Language.

CSA Takeout in Boston Recap

CSA Takeout in Boston Recap

It was a dream two years in the making for Boston University senior and BU Chinese Students Association president JR Wu Chang – to create “an event that would be heard around the East Coast.” Months of planning, fundraising, and contacting artists formed the dream into something more substantial – the BU CSA Takeout Goodwill Benefit Concert – and on March 4th, the dream finally played out into a successful reality.

The event featured a staggering amount of Asian-American talent, including Wong Fu Productions, David Choi, Joseph Vincent, Jason Chen, and Jason Yang. As the association worked towards checking off acts on this daunting list, they overcame doubts by constantly reminding themselves of the cause.  “We want to redefine culture in the 21st century,” said Wu Chang, “and by organizing a concert of this size, the Chinese Students Association has created a platform that we hope everyone can use to achieve whatever they are passionate about.”

The overwhelming performer turnout allowed a number of Asian American entertainers to make a powerful, united stance against the stereotypes placed upon the Asian community. It was also an opportunity to better understand the recent emergence of popular Asian and Asian American entertainers through YouTube directly from the mouths of those who’ve experienced the power of the medium.

“This is a time that’s very special for the Asian American community,” said Philip Wang, who along with Ted Fu and Wesley Chan makes up Wong Fu Productions. “I think we all realized that if we’re not helping each other, no one’s really going to get anywhere. I think you can see it in other ethnic communities, how there has to be that support in the beginning and that’s how it starts. And I think this is our time.”  The trio began making videos in 2003 and in many ways, set a precedent for the trend when they moved to YouTube after its creation in 2005. They currently rank 23rd as YouTube’s most subscribed-to directors and 74th as YouTube’s most subscribed-to users. But they are determined to remain levelheaded. BUCSA admitted in Takeout’s opening video that it was much easier to convince other artists to commit to the performance once the association had secured Wong Fu’s attendance – which Wang and Fu jokingly dismissed as just being considered, “the bait.” When asked about how they handle their popularity, Wang said simply, “Gratitude will always come first.”  “We just try to produce quality work,” Fu added, “and we’re grateful for the people that let us.”

For other performers, YouTube has also illustrated the power of jumpstarting a career overnight.

Joseph Vincent, a singer/songwriter from Southern California, had just watched his cover of Iyaz’s “Replay” hit a million views when he was asked to appear on DeGeneres’ “Wonderful Web of Wonderment” special, twice. Yet despite this success, he is also very quick to heap praise on his fellow performers and swiftly dismissed any notion that there is competition between any of the other artists.  “We’re artists, but another key thing not to forget is that we’re Asian American artists and Asian American artists aren’t really represented that well in mainstream media. So we’re all helping each other get up there. We’re all chasing the dream, and why step on each other when we could help each other? ”

Jason Yang, an accomplished electric violinist currently living in Los Angeles, credits some of this closeness to physical proximity. He said that many of the artists live within a half hour of one another in L.A., which makes it easier to interact and collaborate.  Yang’s career achievements include the Verizon Audience Choice Award at Kollaboration in 2010, an annual event that showcases talented, up-and-coming Asian and Pacific Islander entertainers. Today, he is well known for the videos demonstrating his diverse musical abilities, both alone and with fellow artists. “I love having YouTube as a vehicle for me to be creative and have for whoever wants to see [my work], see it,” Yang said. “And it’s free for everyone so it makes it easier to reach out to people.”

While YouTube empowers artists to have full control over their content, it becomes at times overwhelming to see the enormity of the fan bases YouTube has helped them gain David Choi, currently ranked #7 as the most subscribed-to musician on YouTube, said that he had no long-term expectations when he uploaded his first video of an original piece called “YouTube (A Love Song)” four years ago. But as a rapidly growing fan base began to emerge, Choi found himself thrust into popularity he wasn’t prepared for and, even more intimidating perhaps, a label as an Asian American inspiration.  “I never really saw myself that way,” he said, in regards to this label. “I just feel like I’m someone who’s putting their music out and sharing it with people to see if they’ll like it.”  But this isn’t to say that he isn’t proud of the progress Asian entertainers are making.  “It’s good to see that this is the generation where Asians will be able to go into things that aren’t just doctors and lawyers,” he continued. “If you want to do [those things], go for it, go full force. But I think it’s cool to see that Asians can show that we can do creative things as well.”

Part of the uniqueness of this group is the fact that even within the young community of successful entertainers, there is proof of the power of YouTube’s influence. Choi’s videos were among the first that inspired Jason Chen, another singer/songwriter out of Los Angeles. He claims to have only found success late in 2010 and is currently adjusting to the novelty of holding company with some of his former YouTube idols. He also has positive things to say about the site that helped bring him there.  “I think YouTube is a place where, if you’re talented and willing to put yourself out there and work hard, you will be able to be successful,” Chen said. “You have to have the look and the talent, but hard work is [even] more important than that. People can see you, so if they like you, they like you. You’re not trying to please one or two people who have all the power, so it’s a lot more fair.”

This concept of “celebrity” by popular vote is one that keeps all of the performers humble. Wang, despite being one of the veterans amongst the group, seemed to speak for everyone when he said simply, “It boggles my mind. Every time we have an event, it boggles my mind.” The feeling is mutual as far as Wu Chang is concerned, who shares nothing but pride when he reflects on everything the association has accomplished in the past few years.
“We went from being a typical cultural club to now a pioneering organization that can show people that if you have a dream and a passion, anything can happen,” he said. “I am very proud of how much we have grown […] to take CSA to a place no one thought a college club could go.” Other members of the association, who spent the past few months working through doubts, anxiety, and declining motivation in schoolwork, had nothing but positive things to say about the entire experience.

“It’s crazy because you see these people and it comes to life,” said Eric Go, a sophomore in the School of Management. “For me personally, it’s just inspiration to dream even bigger than I already have.”   For Mazy Yap, CSA’s senior representative, it was also about bringing wider exposure to inspirational role models.  “Asians tend to face a lot of stereotypes about just being smart in math or being good in academics, but not really exceeding or being successful artists,” she said. “Think about how many Asian artists make it to the charts or on TV – there aren’t that many. And we really look up to these [performers], because these people aren’t just doing it for the money. They’re doing it for the dreams.”

Jason Yih, CSA’s public relations chair, saw the experience as welcome validation for the association’s purpose as a whole.  “People have always seen Asian culture as fan dances and dragon dances and I mean, the things you saw today, it was just amazing,” he said. “And to see everyone support us, it was just great.”

CSA Takeout in Boston Recap