By Andrew Hamlin
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
“The past six years have been transformative and given me a new perspective of my career. I just felt like I kept hitting a wall with taking my music to the next level here in the U.S.
“After taking those years to reevaluate why things weren’t working for me, I decided to go a different route — purely pursuing international markets. I put my solo projects on hold. This mindset naturally came about when I met German producer Zemyu, with whom I did the record ‘Someone Like You.’”
That’s Sarey Savy, the longtime Seattle resident and Cambodian American singer, songwriter, and rapper, explaining the major pivot he took on his career over the last several years.
The song and the approach to making it were both, he explained, “totally different than what I’m used to, but it got me excited because I was introduced to a completely different market. From there on, I met producers from Australia, Mexico, Italy, Germany, and many more. A collaboration with multi-platinum [production] team Chris River & Pards, led to us surpassing half a million streams on our song ‘Games.’ It was a crazy thing to see happen in less than three months.”
The international angle still goes gangbusters for Savy. He released a single called “Emotional” and another one, “All My Love,” which marks his first collaboration with an Italian record label, Enforce the Sound.
Asked about the biggest changes to the music world over the last several years, the performer stressed the crucial nature of the online music world.
“Singles from whatever decade or time… are at your fingertips because of services like Apple Music, Spotify, TIDAL, Soundcloud, and more,” he elaborated. “Playlists, specifically on Spotify, are almost becoming the new radio. I say this because a lot of artists are being discovered through Spotify playlists.
“Back in the day, when you heard a great single from a great artist from an anticipated album, you took a risk by purchasing the whole album, expecting that every song on that album would be amazing. Consumers now can avoid that. If they listen to the first 5-30 seconds of a song and they don’t like it, they can just skip with a tap of a finger… Artists take a lot more risks now doing albums. The average consumer of music has become more demanding and more selective, which can also tire out the artist’s motivation to create great records.”
He’s happy to see fellow Cambodians supporting his music. But he’s also happy to count fans, which he affectionately dubs “Sarenaders,” from all around the globe. And he welcomes as much diversity as possible.
Still, one of the most crucial things in his recent life was personal, not artistic.
“My husband and I legally married on Feb. 27, 2019. We finally got our own place a couple years ago. We have a dog named Ally now.
“My family and friends are all really growing within their career paths and I’m just really excited for everyone to move up in the world… I think moving away from where I grew up for 21 years in White Center was really hard on me. White Center was all that I knew for a long time. I didn’t go out much growing up. So going back to Seattle or White Center after a while brings nostalgia to me. There’s always something new so it doesn’t feel or look the same anymore.”
The “Emotional” single grounds a new EP called “SZNS of Love.” A new album might be in the works, but nothing’s definite yet.
“I’ve also been connecting with local musicians,” Savy said. “So maybe if the time and vibe is right, you’ll see me in the studio with these awesome people releasing records and performing around Seattle again!”
Andrew can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.