Everyone's path to freedom looks a little different, and Dyan Tai shines the light on his path for us in his new single ‘Freedom’.
The vocals are instantly otherworldly, washing over you like a cool shower. The track sounds ready-made for 3am in a sweaty club, as hypnotic lights create a canvas for late night dance moves. However, there’s a lot more to this song than the ethereal falsetto and emotive percussion, Tai is telling us a story. Now a queer icon of the Sydney streets, Tai didn’t always have that platform and environment for self-expression. Having grown up in the more conservative Malaysia, Tai says ‘I spent a lot of time during my childhood in Malaysia not living authentically and not being the best version of myself’. For someone who clearly has so much to offer the world in terms of creativity, expression and pure energy, we can only be thankful that Tai has found some freedom.
You can hear this search for freedom echoing through the track, as the vocals hit high notes of exasperation before breaking into silky sounds of relief. There’s an influence from Chinese music, with an authentic guzheng being used in the melody.
Tai is a regular around queer parties and cabaret shows in Sydney, so it’s touching to hear a more stripped back performance on ‘Freedom’. Tai describes the song as ‘about self-love and self-respect by living truthfully’, so while Tai’s story is unique, his message is universal. It’s difficult, and probably unnecessary, to pin ‘Freedom’ down to a genre, it’s almost early FKA Twigs meets electro pop.
You can hear through the music that Tai is a seasoned performer, but also has all the vocal talent and musicality to go with it. While Dyan Tai clearly has many artistic endeavours in the air, we hope the music keeps coming and ‘Freedom’ is a wonderfully touching and empowering single.