He was the tender age of five when he had his first piano lesson. At the age of eight, he was led to the electric guitar. When he was ten years old he delved into wind instruments and began to play the saxophone. Then at the age of seventeen Keiden defied all expectations and struck a new note.
From a young age Keiden was exposed to a variety of musical opportunity and experience. Aside from his musical talents, Keiden was also heavily involved in stage production, acting for local and school theatres as well as musicals. One of his biggest highlights growing up was the lead role he played in year eight for a school opera. Nervous and full of adrenaline, he took to the stage and performed in front of hundreds of people at the IPAC in Wollongong, losing himself in the moment.
As Keiden got older there was a significant shift between his love of classical music and a new found love in jazz. The contrast between a ‘dry and stale classical’ as opposed to a ‘liberating and creative’ genre of music was one that could not be over looked. When asked the reason for the shift, he replied: ‘it is always moving and unpredictable’. This was the first note to a new melody.
As with every musician, Keiden holds the ‘rockstar dream,’ a desire for experience and fame. The liberating views of growing up in Australia and an individual passion driving him forward helped define who he was and who he wanted to be. Controversially, the decision of pursuing a career in the arts rather than one in medicine, was a choice that took his family by surprise. A choice which ‘hit them hard’ and a choice which ‘was not easy.’ The relationship between Keiden and his grandmother was fractured and for several months they lost communication, she was ‘unimpressed’. In her defence he expressed: ‘She just wants me to be successful, and do well in life…I think stereotypically that is what I would be expected to do.’ Eventually, she revisited from China and asked if he had reconsidered his decision, to which Keiden denied. This is what he wanted to do, and he was more than confident with his choice. Eventually, she joined in on the song.
To break away at the end of his degree, Keiden wants to move to the United States in attempt to pursue an acting or music career as he just wants to ‘experience as much as possible.’ If all else fails, he will return to focussing on a career in writing or media production, the options are endless. His tenacity and fearlessness, creativity and expression are all traits that we should adopt. He articulates:
“I feel like people aren’t pursuing what they want to do because of fear of failure and for fear of disappointment, not only for themselves but for others. I am just doing what I want to do, what I love…and I wish more people would.”
I do not doubt that Keiden will accomplish great things. If anything, I wish that there were more people as passionate and spirited. Keiden Cheung, my favourite composer with the purest of songs.