The WEAVE team met with Fern Tan at MINT College’s professional recording Sonic Boom. At first glance, Fern appeared seemingly nonchalant, but once he started speaking, it became evident why this young artist is one of the rising names in the local music scene today.

As he prepared to answer questions, Fern gave us an impromptu keyboard performance, playing melodies while waiting.

“I was 15 when I first started writing songs on my acoustic guitar. Then, I was 17 when I started producing my own music,” he shared.

Catchy, chill, and calming--Fern’s music is a mixture of distinct acoustics and synths that compliment his voice. “I call it ‘cool pop’. It’s like pop, but it’s cool. That’s because I make it,” he jests. Kidding aside, he then explains that his sound is described as a “mixture of pop and electronic.”

As an artist, he shares that he looks up to the likes of Prince, Phil Collins, The 1975, The Weeknd, and local band sensation, IV of Spades. Out of these acts, he expressed his love for The 1975 the most. In his Spotify playlist, he listens to “everything The 1975,” with choice hiphop and RnB tracks.

With OPM on the upsurge and making its way to the world stage, Fern is excited to be part of the scene.

“I feel that OPM is making a statement in the industry [right now], not just locally, but also internationally,” he said. “I’d love to be a part of that. I think it’s super cool that these OPM artists could be pioneers of something big [soon].”

As a songwriter-producer, it’s the little things that inspire his songs. His daily conversations with people, his great love for his craft, and films fuel his work. He also added that long walks motivate him too.

At 18, Fern Tan is also a full-time student taking up Entrepreneurship at MINT College. Despite the privilege of a stage and his music being known to many, he stays grounded by leading a normal life as much as he could.

MINT College attracts active artists like Fern because of its Music Business Management (MBM) program. However, Fern decided to pursue an entirely different field of study. “I always believe in having to learn a new skill all the time. Putting myself in MBM is me going through the same cycle again and again. Not that it’s a bad thing. I just want that excitement in meeting new people who are passionate about a totally different thing,” he explains.

Being at MINT, Fern loves the creative freedom they have as students. “It makes me feel so inspired. I get to meet people who are talented, driven, and super passionate about their art, and I think that’s cool,” he says.

He diligently attends his classes as much as he could. “I definitely learned discipline at MINT,” he says. “As long as we put in the work, we’re fine [...] It’s about prioritizing. At times, I have to sacrifice going out with friends because I opt to go straight home and finish my school works instead. [In that way] I avoid being stressed and I have time to rest, especially on weekends.”

During break time, he’s either huddled with his group of friends at the cafeteria or at the mall beside the campus—or alone reading books or playing games.

Fern believes in grit. “Just do it. Honestly. A problem with a lot of artists is that they always say that they wanna do it, but they don’t actually put in the work,” he says. “Just do it. Go out there and just do it. If it doesn't work, it’s fine, at least you tried.” W


Interview by: Chai Lugares, Teks Pabuayon

Director: Teks Pabuayon

Video by: RM Cristobal

“Into You” by Fern. Published on 18 January 2018. Universal Music, Philippines