The Five Question Challenge with Enoch Yang

Singer-songwriter Enoch Yang visited Jake’s Take for an exclusive edition of The Five Question Challenge. (Photo courtesy of Enoch Yang)

By: Jacob Elyachar,

It is a pleasure to welcome singer-songwriter Enoch Yang to Jake’s Take.

Enoch is a minimalist pop artist and music producer based in Riverside, California. He has had the opportunity to work with singers and songwriters to create radio-ready tracks. Recently, Enoch Yang recorded tracks with fellow up-and-coming artists Judy and Rebekah Cromley.

In this exclusive edition of The Five Question Challenge, Enoch talked about his debut EP: HONEST and the obstacles that he has overcome breaking into the music industry.

Jacob Elyachar: When did you get interested in music? How did that passion evolve into the desire to pursue a career in the music industry?

Enoch Yang: I got interested in personally, sometime around middle school or high school. When I was young, my parents put me in piano lessons because they saw potential in me. After years of playing piano, I started becoming interested in other musical styles, started playing piano for my church’s worship services, and I think that’s when I made music my interest instead of my parents’ interests. Kind of near the end of high school, I decided I wanted to pursue it for a living and started studying worship music or church music in college, but a few years into that, I shifted and changed my degree to commercial music and ended up pursuing with music production and commercial work.

Enoch Yang’s first EP, Honest, is a very personal. (Album cover courtesy of Enoch Yang)

Jacob Elyachar: On October 25, you will release your first EP, HONEST, this is a very personal record for you. Could you please tell my readers why?

Enoch Yang: The EP’s called HONEST.  It’s super personal to me. It’s basically the embodiment of a huge life change for me. The album is about my experience coming out as gay and a lot of the internal struggle that was associated with that. Some background on that is just kind of like last question, my parents were awesome growing up. I was really blessed by them, but I was raised in a conservative Christian home. I grew up in Seattle, Washington and even went to a Christian school growing up. Basically, my entire life growing up I was taught that men were supposed to be with women and that anything outside of that was wrong, also being part of churches my whole life. Just being a part of that culture, loving that culture, I shoved down any desire that I had to date guys. Last Christmas, I started seriously experimenting with dating guys and had a couple short relationships and I kept that pretty down-low.

I only told a few trusted friends, but someone found out and ended up going to my church leadership and telling them about dates that I had gone on with the guy and basically, it felt like my whole world crumbled underneath me. Just when that happened, I started to reevaluate where I stood on same sex attraction. Honest is basically accumulation of that process of me realizing, “Oh shit, I could potentially lose my job.” And then deciding I don’t really want to stay here anymore and choosing to resign. It’s like a three and a half songs EP. The first song is just a prelude, but the three main songs were written during a two week period of time when that reality of, “Oh, I could lose my job,” hit me and that’s when I decided to resign and pursue being a full time indie artist.

Jacob Elyachar: Could you describe your songwriting process to my readers? How long did it take you to create a track from conception to release?

Enoch Yang: My songwriting process tends to look different depending on what project I’m working on. Mainly, I am a writer-producer and work with indie artists. So more often than not, my own original material takes longer to finish because I push it aside to make time to work on projects for the artists that I work with. Usually, when I am working with other artists, depending on what they have done, what they have written or composed already, and what my role is, a project can take anywhere from two weeks to three months just depending on their timeline and my timeline and what legwork has been done. That can include anything from writing, recording the composition, making a track, mixing, mastering, and anything in between.

For my own stuff, usually if I really, really push myself, I can take a song from its original writing to final master in a week. That’s only if I have a solid concept and idea for it. That rarely happens. More often than not, my songs are a way that I processed through what’s going on in my life and it takes me about four months to finish a full project from conception to release.

Jacob Elyachar: What have been some of the challenges that you faced breaking into the music industry? How did you overcome those obstacles?

Enoch Yang: There are so many ways I could answer this, but I think one of the biggest roadblocks, one of the biggest challenges and struggles I had was making good connections. I think one of the biggest things about music industry is that it’s not always about what you know, but who you know. After graduating college, making connections with musicians outside of my college network was really hard at first, but basically once you meet the first person that is actually doing music and not just sitting around with a music degree, you start meeting other people. Just this last few years, I have met a lot of amazing musicians, producers, session players just because of one connection that I made, I was intentional about outside of college.

Although, just to add to that, another obstacle, pursuing music full time it’s super risky and people always seem to point that out. Being an artist full time, yeah, it’s definitely hard and risky, but what most people do not tell you is that a lot of artists fail because they lack self-motivation. I am not saying all artists lack of self-motivation or struggling artists lack motivation, but more often than not, I found that finding the will to push through obstacles and not only work hard, but work efficiently is what’s going to help an artist overcome his or her obstacles best. I have to remind myself that all the time when, put it in words, that what I’m doing today probably won’t pay off today, next week or even the next month. A lot of the work that I do today ends up paying off in nine months to a year because of relationships that are built off of it. I think pursuing a career as an artist, breaking into the music industry, a lot of it is waiting, but also working hard and working efficiently and just keeping your eyes on what you really want.

Jacob Elyachar: Why should my readers check out this EP?

Enoch Yang: Like I said earlier, this EP is super personal to me. I think it highlights the struggle that a lot of people deal with  but are not really able to be open and honest about because it’s taboo or because they’re afraid of potential consequences. I think your readers should check it out because it really gives a snapshot… Or I think, well, I tried really hard to give a snapshot of what it’s like to struggle with things like attraction and the internal conflict and shame that’s often associated with it. I want people to feel encouraged by it. Feeling alone in a struggle is really hard and some people tend to bond with art when that happens.

I have not really found anything that illustrates the depth of internal conflicts, that just struggling with, “Am I gay? Am I bi?” I did that for years before being open with my closest friends about and it was one of the most lonely times of my life. I’m hoping this EP, “Honest,” sheds a bit of light on this situation and helps people either cope with their feelings or process their feelings. Basically, I hope it helps people, one, kind of understand what it’s like to struggle with same sex attraction if they don’t, and for those who do struggle with same sex attraction to know that they are not alone.

Enoch Young is offering Jake’s Take’s readers a free copy of his EP. You can download it by clicking on this link.

For more information about Enoch Young, visit his website. You can also connect with him on social media. Visit his Facebook and Instagram channels.  

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