Alex Wong’s curiosity has a varied appetite, and he’s always fed it well. A steady diet of projects as solo artist, producer, composer, and fittingly, chef, has taught him that the connections between seemingly separate disciplines can be a source of inspiration rather than distraction. Perhaps it stems from his synesthesia, a rare neurological condition where the brain perceives a relationship between unrelated senses. Wong sees sounds and hears colors. What a doctor would deem peculiar, his collaborators appreciate as a gift: this multi-sensory approach allows Wong to create visual soundscapes enhanced by his unique perception of the world around him.
"It's all creative expression—just in different dialects," Nashville-based Wong explains. He has an uncanny ability to communicate through varied genres and mediums, whether painting vivid worlds through his own songwriting, cultivating other artists’ ideas as a producer, or creating recipes for his pop-up restaurant, Angelhouse Family Dinner. His story has always been one of nonlinear paths, of redefining boundaries. From his time in major-label band The Din Pedals (Epic), to duo projects The Animators and The Paper Raincoat, to exploring his own voice as a solo artist, Wong has constantly pushed himself to find new flavors to satisfy his creative hunger.
Wong's commitment to indulging his curiosity has resulted in Latin GRAMMY-nominated production work (Miguel Bose), placements in film and television (Lincoln Lawyer, The Last Song), major ad campaigns (Google, Aquafina), and album production projects with Delta Rae (Big Machine), Vienna Teng (Universal), and Ari Hest (Columbia), among others. It’s allowed him to criss-cross the globe, performing live at festivals like Coachella and Outside Lands, arenas in Mexico City and theaters in Europe and Japan.
And now it has led him to his current chapter, revealing his singular voice and vision as a solo artist. His first solo effort, A City On A Lake, contains darkly gorgeous, cinematic folk and vivid lyricism, undergirded by organic and electronic textures. No Depression called it “haunting and enticing,” and the album caught the attention of NPR who invited him to perform the songs on their Mountain Stage radio show.
2017 will see the release of Wong's second full-length solo album, a long-form musical theater piece titled The Paper Raincoat, and a duo EP with Jesse Terry inspired by the stories of climate change refugees, as well as several high-profile collaborations between his pop-up series and popular Nashville restaurants. Whether in studio, on stage, or even in the kitchen, Wong’s unrestrained curiosity emerges as the common ingredient to his prolific output. For him, the seemingly divergent becomes a vibrant convergence.
Photographer: Alex Berger
Musician: Alex Wong