26 May 2018

Oscar Key Sung: "I wanted to forget who I was"

From RNZ Music, 4:00 pm on 26 May 2018

Australian R&B producer/singer Oscar Key Sung on the highs of Paris Fashion Week, SXSW and the lows of visa woes.

On paper Oscar Key Sung’s past two years seem like a dream run for any artist aiming for an international breakthrough.

Last year the Melburnian producer/singer had a debut showcase at SXSW, played at Mexico’s Festival NRMAL, and compiled playlists for Paris Fashion Week.

Oscar reflects: “That was a really nice little progression. I felt very excited about everything. I was very wide eyed.”

The final step in this “good run” was Los Angeles where Oscar Key Sung was going to “shop out the music" he’d made.”

But then US “visa laws changed and I had to leave the country within ten days. I had to leave America, essentially.”

Like many musicians and artists before, Oscar Key Sung headed to Berlin to recalibrate and figure things out.

“I’d always wanted to spend a summer there [in Berlin]. I just really wanted to forget who I was.”

But Berlin proved to be “a bit of a fun park ... I was there for way longer than I anticipated ... and that’s the funny thing, I’d accepted that I wasn’t going to leave.”

“Being in Berlin was a semi feeling of being a bit stuck … it allowed me to become a bit more modest and humble about what I am doing and why."

The result of Oscar Key Sung’s downtime is his latest EP No Disguise.

“Putting out this EP is the beginning of me stepping out again after having quite a long process of development. I feel like I’ve kind of integrated my ideas about dance music with my singing and stuff.

“Living amongst a lot of my favourite producers for club music made me realise that I don’t need to do that. There are plenty of people doing that and they are doing it well enough.

Coming back into real life also meant Oscar was one of the faces of Levi's Pride campaign. “My statement was: ‘I am Listening’”

“I feel that within the pyramid of queerness my voice and experience is not as important as my ability to support those around me and I think that to listen is a really supportive act.

“When I was younger, I would put more energy into defending myself instead of listening to what someone was trying to say.

“When it comes to discussions around gender, sexuality and race people can be defensive, so I just wanted to advocate that.

“You just need to be ready to be wrong and not take that personally.”

Music details

Artist: Oscar Key Sung
Songs: Club Mate, Company, Simple Luv
Composer: Oscar Slorach Thorn
Album: No Disguises EP
Label: Good Manners Records