Meet the London-based innovator on the move.
‘Congee is life’ reads Sam Tsang’s artist bio. Tsang aka Congee is the North-London star lighting up our radar. His stage name, which Congee tells us over email, comes from a comforting type of Chinese porridge. Whether it’s his moniker or unflinching lyrics, Congee delicately intertwines culture and emotion into funky, thoughtful music.
Alongside his distinct solo work, the rising artist has teamed up with big names Ed Sheeran, Griff, Maisie Peters, and Sigrid. But, now, Congee is gearing up to kick-start his own career. Following the release of Congee’s innovative Kwong EP, we caught up with the producer to find out who inspires his sound, what he has planned next, and how his heritage has shaped his art.
Hello Sam! How’s it going? We’re big fans of your music. Can you tell us what inspired your stage name Congee?
Hey! I’m all good thanks! I wanted a name that’d been there from the beginning. Congee is a rice porridge dish. I remember growing up on this stuff. Whenever I was ill or a bit down my mum would make it for me. It’s my comfort food. Also the word ‘congee’ is a very satisfying word to me.
You’ve recently released your EP, Kwong. As your debut project, how does it feel to have it out there?
It’s like I’ve been holding my breath for too long and I’ve finally let it out. I’m so glad it’s finally here in the world.
Kwong is a look into your life, culture and creative sound. Growing up, what inspired your artistic direction?
I wanted to write songs about my upbringing, growing up in a Chinese household and everything surrounding that. I grew in an area where there weren’t many Asian families. I just wanted to fit in and not stand out so I pushed all of my culture and identity to one side. Now the older I get the more I want to explore these things.
What’s a surprising fact that most people don’t know about you?
I have a pretty messed up finger. A piano lid crushed it when I was 2
What is your favourite song off of your EP and why?
It changes a lot but, currently, my favourite song is ‘Forever’. I love the energy of that song. I also love the music video animation my friend Calum Heath did for it.
Your song ‘Honest’ delves into the subjects of family and grief. Do you often use music to help you navigate and document personal experiences?
This was the first time writing music for myself. I found myself naturally wanting to write about my experiences and life. It really helped me process some stuff.
You have produced for artists such as Ed Sheeran, Sigrid and Griff. How does working with other artists inform how your own creative work?
Working with other artists, I always want to make sure they feel comfortable and open to sharing their thoughts and ideas. When working alone on Kwong, I found that I wouldn’t be as kind and open to myself. I would often shut ideas down and beat myself up. I’m trying now to treat myself like I would treat an artist I would collaborate with.
Are there any artists or new albums that you have been really impressed by lately?
I’ve loved listening to Saya Grey recently. She writes and produces her own music. The world she’s creating is so exciting.
As an artist, you’re always surrounded by music. Can you name a song you wish you had written?
‘White Ferrari’ – Frank Ocean It’s a beautiful song: “Primal and naked / You dream of walls that hold us imprisoned It’s just a skull, least that’s what they call it And we’re free to roam”
Now Kwong is out, what else are you working on?
More songs are currently in the works!
Press play on Congee’s Kwong below now…