It’s not every day you hear a hip-hop song by a classical artist, yet when they meet, both worlds fit like two perfectly-matched puzzle pieces. This is heard through the intricate rhythms and melodies that take listeners on a musical journey with a story to match. The product is always a universal tune for people all over the world to jam out to, transcending cultures and genres.
Dr. Sun Yue, a globally-recognized classical composer and educator in the musical arts, is nailing this perfect balance, bringing diversity, positivity, and innovation to the music industry. She does this by drawing inspiration from today’s artists, challenging herself to explore hip-hop themes, and using the urban genre to influence her normal style of music. Switching her musical language with her piece ‘Dance Music,’ she trades her notation software and piano for cutting-edge equipment and explores the world of hip-hop with a sound library of various beats and rhythms. Using her trained experience as a composer, Sun combines the formal structure of music to take one’s listening experience to the next level, from what one hears to how one moves.
When creating contemporary songs, Sun keeps her formal knowledge of music in her back pocket to assemble the perfect piece. Following the ‘motif’, a basic idea often referred to in classical music, she captures the attention of audiences with attractive themes that stick to it. This is a piece that follows a structural story, grows in its production, and is one a listener can downright vibe to. As a result, Sun is creating music that is grounded in authenticity, from its development to its resonating impact on others.
Praised for her creative innovation in the classical genre, Sun expresses the need for more diversity among female composers in hip-hop. This means giving the trailblazing women their flowers for breaking barriers from the 1970s to the present day. Not to mention, celebrating their unique differences in backgrounds, cultures, lifestyles, and educational experiences. “We share similarities but also have our methods of understanding, interpreting, and expressing. I always encourage female composers to step outside their comfort zone and write hip-hop styles of music.”
Sun’s latest contemporary piece captures the essence of two different worlds coming together, connecting listeners with various tastes in music. Drawing inspiration from the pristine movements and unique concepts of Kanye West’s Ultralight Beam (choreography by WilldaBEAST&Janelle Ginestra), Sun masterfully blends classical expertise and hip-hop themes to create a song that people not only hear but feel.
Looking ahead, Sun has plans to collaborate with professionals in the music industry – friends and dancers alike – on future projects, while using her classical background and the world of hip-hop to influence her work. “I’ve only dipped my toes in the water, but I plan to keep exploring the best hip-hop music of today, tracing new trends in the genre, and drawing inspiration for future work. In the meantime, I will just keep at it.”