Generations Fellowship
Dyan Tai Performing
Image: Jodie Barker. Dyan Tai at the Red Rattler

Fellow: Dyan Tai

Fellowship Term: April 2022 – October 2022

Self-described as the Asian empress of the gay streets of Sydney, Dyan Tai is a Malaysian-born musician, performance artist and DJ. Dyan is recognised for his edgy performances that are a yin and yang blend of electronic music influenced by Asian instrumentation and culture; sonically paired with his expansive androgynous lithe vocals.

Apart from music, Dyan is also the founder of Worship Queer Collective which was recognised and cited as part of the global movement to unite the Queer Asian community alongside New York, LA, San Francisco and Toronto. The Collective continues to champion the local “Queer Asian Excellence” movement through their rave-reviewed sold-out events such as Tiger Queen: Queer Lunar New Year Festival, Dynasty Social and Don’t Cha Wish You Yum Cha?

On Beginning the Fellowship

April – May

This month has been all about moving in to the Fellowship space and getting mentally and creatively prepared for the next 6 months. I have been coming to the Powerhouse at least 4-5 times a week and have been continuously writing new material. With the Powerhouse’s financial support, I have been able to expand my sound and skills as a music producer by purchasing new VSTs and plug ins to (such as Omnisphere, Valhalla SFX). I have also invested money in short online courses to learn more about music production. In addition to that, I have been successful in the Create NSW 2022/2023 funding rounds for the development and presentation of my debut album, Empress. I am really grateful to have the Powerhouse’s letter of support for my application and can’t wait to perform the material live here at the museum.

 Simple set up! Image: Dyan Tai

I learned about the importance of planning a release strategically based on short and long term goals. E.g. if my goal is to play a particular festival or engage a new audience who would be interested in a particular genre of music. The music plays a vital role and those goals should be considered and be prioritised when selecting the single. We also spoke about authenticity as an artist. I raised some concerns about being a queer artist who incorporates drag and performance art/cabaret into my shows and whether that would crossover to the main stage of music festivals and events. It was comforting and reassuring to hear from Tom and Vic that post-Covid, especially, music consumers want a different experience and I should continue being true to myself as a performer if that makes me different and sets me apart. The next stage of would be to continue developing my demo tracks and Astral will help select a single and/or EP tracks. Deadline has been set for end of June for a July release.

Watch Dyan’s Vlog

 Taking a break and waiting for inspiration. Image: Dyan Tai