“Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist.” If legendary American painter Edward Hopper’s quote is true, then musician Tony Chen seems to be on the right track. He’s also on something of a mission.
The young composer has won numerous awards and acclaim, and he credits his success to his spiritual beliefs and self-exploration. Born in Beijing, China, he started piano lessons at an early age mainly because his parents made him. He didn’t enjoy it until he started tinkering with an electronic keyboard. His interest soared when he combined his keyboard sounds with the seemingly limitless potential of computer technology.
Studying music at the University of Huddersfield in central England, Chen honed his skills by studying orchestration, conducting, opera, and scoring for film and screen. He polished his English language skills and developed his singing talents while working as a freelance Mandarin voice over artist and coach.
Chen also discovered Falun Gong, a Chinese meditation practice and belief based on three core tenets: Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance. The belief had gained a massive following in China since its first public instruction in 1992. Millions of people were finding peace and purpose with Falun Gong, but within 10 years news reports were revealing that the Chinese government, threatened by its growing popularity, was persecuting practitioners, and violating human rights on a horrifically grand scale.
Watching from the western hemisphere, Chen continued to develop his music, inspired by New Age stylists such as Yanni and Enya. His moving compositions resonated with listeners across continents, and he started winning awards. Fresh out of college in 2011, his song, “Righteous Marching” was the fan-selected winner at the 10th Annual Independent Music Awards. “Sweet Smile,” another of his songs, was a Top 5 Winner at the 12th Annual Great American Song Contest.