Just one guitar. That’s all it takes to fly us away from wherever we’re stuck in the world into Mother Nature’s wide open spaces, where we can soar with the birds, sing with the hills, and be wherever we want to be, whether it’s Paris, Tokyo or Singapore. That’s what Tanya Chua is hoping for with Depart, her 12th Mandarin album which is set to be released this month.
Every album is special, but by the sound of it, Depart will be the Singaporean singer-songwriter’s most extraordinary one yet. The 46-year-old tells us over a Zoom interview from her Taipei home in June that this album, which she finished recording in March, had a life, purpose and spiritual journey of its own, and was no longer about “Tanya Chua trapped in her own small little world”.
“There’s something about this album that is so different from my previous ones,” the award-winning songstress, who has been in showbiz for over 20 years, says. “It was born during quarantine, when I was stuck at home. It was just me and my guitar. I felt so empty. It’s like for us songwriters, we need to go through some tumultuous life, you know, to be creative. Then I started watching nature documentaries and listening to classical music. And at some point, it hit me so profoundly that maybe this whole pandemic is a message from Mother Earth.”
And when the inspiration came, it was explosive. Chua sat in her room with her guitar and wrote over 30 songs. They were about departing from her currently curtailed universe and going out into the wild, about the yearning to be free, and being at one with nature. When she unleashes these songs, everyone will get a passport to depart on this fantastic trip with her. “I want this music for myself and my fans because we’re all stuck,” Chua tells us. “But if we close our eyes and use our imaginations, we can go wherever we want. I can go back to Paris to stroll along the Seine River. I can fly with the birds. And music can teleport me back in time as well—there’s a song inspired by my childhood on the album too.”