By Ethan Lauren
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Emily Dang focused on songwriting, including her recent releases. She’s sung her whole life, from early days singing karaoke on her grandmother’s machine, to years of choir. For instruments, she gravitates toward the piano, guitar, and ukulele.
Dang currently has two songs under the band name MLE on Spotify, “Last Time” and “Stress Relief,” released in September and November, respectively. With the former song having almost 3000 plays, the latter shy of a thousand, it was encouraging for her to see reactions from friends and family.
“Seeing my song being played across 37 different countries when I don't even know people from that many countries, it just baffles my mind and I'm so grateful.”
She’s even had to explain to some of her older relatives how streaming services work, much to her joy because her family is very proud of what Dang has done.
“So as long as I have all this support, I can keep going.”
Dang takes inspiration from many contemporaries, some more recognizable artists being Kehlani and Doja Cat. She is currently making EDM and R&B but is looking into rap and hip-hop. Being Vietnamese-American, something important to her is in seeing more of both a female and Asian representation in the industry, giving herself a reason to work hard on her talent.
Born in Fountain Valley and raised in Orange County, it is her second year at LBSU. Currently in pre-communications, Dang is hesitant in studying music, wanting instead to have her music career flourish on her own time. Being only nineteen, she has found difficulty as an independent artist, believing that everybody should be “confident in what you create.”
Some of the challenges, Dang says, are in entertaining your audience, not just through the music itself, but in the networking, events-booking, all the while balancing school and social life. While it was scary at first to put her own music out to the world, outside of simple covers on YouTube, it has given her opportunities for growth.
“If you're scared to release your music it's only going to hinder you,” Dang says. “When you release it out there, that's when you can actually get feedback and see what you need to change.”
Always improving, Dang constantly reaches out to musicians for guidance and assistance. It can be hard to reach out and to take somebody’s time, herself not wanting, “to feel like a burden when I'm coming up to people.” But she has found a lot of support, both online and in-person, from fellow musicians.
In the future, she’d like to learn more about producing and mixing her own vocals, to revise and refine. She manages media content for businesses on occasion, and she uses those skills to focus on her own social media presence. Dang is open to learning all industry skills so as not to be dependent on others in achieving her vision, but focus on collaborating instead.
“I try to stay humble,” Dang says, “because I know there's always someone who knows more than me, and I'd love to learn about that.”
You can listen to Dang’s music under “MLE” on Spotify and follow her at @officalmlemusic on Instagram.