Of Cambodian, Chinese, Greek and Australian lineage, Hawaii and Southern California native Chrysanthe Tan’s path is fittingly one-of-a-kind.
The artist first studied violin with a bluegrass teacher, singing during lessons, improvising and working off of handwritten sheets of melody and chords. It was during middle school that she turned to a more classical education complete with orchestra time and competitions. “I’ve always favored pushing myself in order to reap extraordinary benefits,” says Tan. Her expansive education has come full circle: The Stanford and CalArts grad plays in the pop world as a backup violinist for Ariana Grande, Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj and others. “I have nerves of steel…in part due to the sheer number of times I’ve set foot on stage at this point,” Tan says. She also collaborates with musicians such as classically trained guitarist Sean Hayward on experimental Balkan music and composes her own work. This July, her debut album, Stories, allows Tan to share her most expressive self. The 20 tracks of postclassical, post-minimalist instrumental chamber music are the sum of many early mornings when she would wake up “still half asleep and groggy,” and let her fingers “play whatever spilled out in my subconscious state,” she says. chrysanthetan.com.