Van Chesda, 22, a writer and singer of original songs, joined the IAmOriginal team in 2016, after becoming well known to the public with the song “Father” as a contestant on the show “Cambodia’s Got Talent” in 2015.
“I produce and sing songs myself; I write the lyrics, melodies and musical arrangements, and I had the J.Record studio team help me with the production and recording. I wrote and sang almost 10 songs.”
When writing a song, Mr Chesda follows his feelings; when he’s happy he tends to come out with upbeat numbers, but when he’s stressed or sad, love songs and sentimental ballads tend to come pouring out.
In the past year, he said, young people in Cambodia have become very interested in supporting original songs made by local artists for Cambodian people – and not just for young people, but for folks of all ages.
“I’ve been surprised and excited to see so many people come to concerts organised by Smart in the provinces; it’s made me aware that people know of and support original songs and the young artists who write them. When I see the concerts so well attended, I just want to weep,” Mr Chesda said with a grin.
At a recent discussion titled “Original Music Movement in Cambodia and the Future” 10 famous and rising singer-songwriters and 10 emerging directors got together to discuss the local creative scene.
Mr Chesda encouraged young people to support original songwriting and, if they really love the arts, to start supporting Cambodian songs, because only audiences can keep the songwriting alive. Nothing makes a musical artist happier than to see people in Cambodia appreciating their songs, he said.
“I produce original songs; I don’t know any important or influential people or have a huge fan base, but I put my heart and all my talent into everything I make,” Mr Chesda said, adding: “I hope all Cambodians, especially older people, can get involved in the [original] songs being made by the younger generation.”
Mr Chesda said he had launched a new mini-album, “Restless Soul” – initially available on MP3-which contains a song called “Wish”, about finding a girl. This song is available via the Youth Channel and the Smart Music app.
Examples of original Cambodian songwriting can be heard on the “IAmOriginal Music Album”, a celebration of the symbolic, creative and innovative content that defines Cambodian’s new wave musical scene. Individual artists have written and composed their own music and put it together in an album with different storytelling approaches and styles.