Entrepreneurial Musician Interview

I was recently interviewed on one of my favorite podcasts, The Entrepreneurial Musician! I've actually blogged about this show before, because I think it's an amazing resource for professional musicians trying to make a living in the current world.

My conversation with the host, Andrew Hitz, was quite honest, so I wanted to share the episode with you. I've done lots of interviews before, but this one struck me as a really great one, because the host has a knack for sussing out the right questions, getting to the heart of each issue, and highlighting important points.

TEM122: Chrysanthe Tan on Being Yourself as an Artist, Killing It on Patreon and Tips for Better Time Management


Here's a smattering of things we covered:

  • Being yourself, for better or for worse
  • The three traditional paths for classical musicians (and why they weren't for me)
  • How I got my first gig
  • Being a perpetual college dropout (and return-er)
  • Patreon vulnerability and lessons
  • My obsession with career/business coaches
  • Time management tips


Show notes

What would be the perfect birthday gift for an INTJ?

People are always wondering: How do you please an INTJ? We are deemed difficult, particularly when it comes to social convention. If you have no idea what an INTJ is, this would be a good time to read about the Myers-Briggs Typology Indicator (MBTI) here. Birthdays can be confusing for the loved ones of INTJs, because we seem to be impossible to please, leaving friends and family feeling like they did something wrong or that we are ungrateful. On the contrary, we can be absurdly easy to please. Perhaps this list can elucidate.

As an INTJ, these are gifts I would love:

  • Nothing. Zero. Really, from most people, I would prefer no gift. No gift means no obligation or social cues of reciprocity to navigate.
  • A nice, genuine email.
  • Something personal, handmade, or tiny but meaningful.
  • Sharing something of mine online with a positive testimonial (Ex: my latest song, music video, my Patreon, album, blog post, things like that). Only do this if you mean it though! Insincerity is extremely distasteful.
  • Gift card to a grocery store I frequent.
  • Costco gift card.
  • Amazon gift card.
  • Gift card to a reasonably-priced store I buy clothes from (it’s a short list).
  • Paid/complimentary subscription to a service I use or want to use.
  • A specific thing I have stated definitively that I want.
  • A piece of musical/recording equipment (whether it’s an expensive microphone, software, or even just an XLR cable). Gift cards to music retailers like Guitar Center or Sweetwater are great too. Or just paying for a bow rehair or set of new violin strings.
  • A really cool or useful tech-related gadget, perhaps something I won’t readily splurge on myself. Smaller/less expensive things work great too. (Ideas: mirrorless camera, latest Amazon Echo, latest Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, a “smart home” product such as Hue or Nest, battery charger, tripod, extension cord).
  • A really cool or useful kitchen-related gadget, perhaps something I won’t readily splurge on myself (Ideas: Yonanas machine). Inexpensive things work amazingly too; I’d be thrilled to receive a 6-pack of paper towels, a few sweet potatoes, because it’s practical and I will definitely use it.
  • A computer or phone accessory (Ideas: new Apple earbuds, lightning cable, MacBook charger, converter for one of the ports).
  • A prepaid deep tissue massage with my one and only therapist (I really need it, but I don’t let myself spend money on it very often, and thus a gift card or voucher for a massage would be a really nice thing for someone to do).
  • Something fun that I would probably never consider spending money on (Ideas: handheld video game console,
  • If you’re gonna try giving something out of left field, for the love of god, please include a gift receipt.
  • The gift of exoneration from a social event or other protocol. For example, if it makes you feel good to call me on my birthday, just know that I will not answer. It doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it. But a lovely gift would be to leave a message and state in the message that I am under no obligation to respond.
  • Overall guidelines: Think practical. Think no pressure on the recipient. Don’t create too much work for

These are things I do not appreciate:

  • Flowers. Any plants in general, really. I don’t want anything I have to take care of, because it’s hard enough taking care of myself.
  • Greeting cards, unless they are really special or specific or very personalized. I don’t need more crap taking up space. If you have something heartfelt to tell me, you don’t need to put it in a card (though you can, if it’s actually a specialized message); I love receiving birthday emails more than anything.
  • The “gift” of someone’s presence. This includes parties or even taking me out to lunch. I simply don’t want those things; they’re much more a burden than a gift.
  • Jewelry, unless there’s a very specific, purposeful, or unique reason.
  • Books. Again, unless you specifically know I want that book (and in that format).
  • Decorations or tchotchkes, unless I’ve specifically mentioned that I want the item.
  • Food or drinks. I don’t need cool or special food. I already have my own routine down pat, and it would be a waste of money/time plus force me outside of my comfort zone and put pressure on me to like what you’ve given me.
  • Humorous gifts.
  • Anything that creates work for me, whether it’s taking care of the gift, needing to buy a ton of accessories for it to work, having to undergo extensive training in order to use the product, etc. Exception: If you know for a fact that I want this thing and am ready to commit to it.

Final thoughts:

  • I realize this may sound intimidating. And I realize you may “mess up” and give a “wrong gift,” but as long as you don’t put any pressure on the INTJ recipient, it’s all good! We probably won’t remember the gift anyway, but we’ll remember if you were just gracious and chill. Personally, it only sticks out to me negatively if I’m guilt-tripped, pressured into liking something, or if the gift giver continually reminds me of the “wonderful gift” they gave me.
  • Also, I realize this looks like a list of really expensive stuff. But I can’t emphasize enough that NO PRESENT is often the best present of all. Cheap and practical = wonderful.
  • Sometimes, a completely random, unexpected gift just works. *Shrug.*

An excerpt from this post was originally published on Quora

Are Lesbians Attracted to Men?

Someone asked on Quora:
"Are lesbians attracted to men?"

Some of the other answers:

I think there's more nuance.
Here are my thoughts (as a queer nonbinary femme/lesbian):

Lesbians are not primarily attracted to men, but they certainly can be.

There are many reasons, but the reason I want to focus on right now is this: We cannot determine another person’s gender solely based on our interpretation of how they look. This is where the argument should end, really.

A lesbian may see and be attracted to a person they assume is a woman, but the other person may not be a woman. This actually happens all the time. It has happened with me, and it has happened with many of my friends. I know tons of lesbians who have dated trans guys (and nonbinary and genderqueer folks, who are also not women; I mention nonbinary folks here, because many of the answers to this question are oversimplifying the “lesbian” definition and insisting it means sole attraction to women, period). For what it’s worth, I also know lesbians who have been attracted to or been with cis guys. The possibility always exists. In case anyone reading this tries to protest and make excuses or caveats for gender presentation/expression, just hold your breath. Yes, it still “counts” if the man has a stereotypically feminine expression. Yes, it still counts if the lesbian in question reads the man as a woman. Assuming gender is always a dubious risk; one should never be confident of their uninformed (by the person) assessment.

Finally, labels are self-determined approximations of identity. The details of my definition and reality of “lesbian” may not coincide exactly with yours. And that’s A-okay.

Let me know your thoughts!

A Day with Nike


Today was one of the coolest days ever. I had the honor of hanging out with the Nike Product Team, because I'm apparently the muse for a new running shoe. 😱 I performed for them, showed them my home studio, talked about my inspirations, running habits, what I look for in shoes, etc, and then (COOLEST PART) was asked to give detailed feedback of dozens of incredible color palettes, textures, and designs. Y'all know how much I love giving feedback and making my design and usability preferences known...I am one of the pickiest people in the world, after all! At the end, they gifted me with the most gorgeous new lightweight running shoes in a color I'm drooling over (all white).



🎈 Today was particularly meaningful for a few reasons:

1) I am passionate about running, so this was an opportunity to nerd out on my special interest. My passion for running isn't competitive, fitness, or performance-based. I love it for other reasons: the mental clarity, fresh air, agency, independence, fun, and depression-reducing effects it provides me.

2) I legitimately am brand loyal to Nike, so it's not like this was a random company I didn't care for. When it comes to running shoes, I have exclusively worn Nike Free Runs for the past 6 or 7 years. I just get new Free Runs whenever it's time for new shoes. I (like many autistic people) am very sensitive to bulk, clunky weight distribution and anything on athletic shoes that makes it obvious that I'm wearing an apparatus. It's sort of like tags on t shirts -- if I feel it, I'm bothered. If I'm unaware of my clothes, it's good. The first time I put on Nike Free Runs years ago, I almost cried because they were RIDICULOUSLY light; so light and aerodynamic that I couldn't tell I was wearing shoes. I remember being SO excited my first time doing a 10K in my Free Runs. It was the Santa Monica-Venice Holiday Run. These shoes made running a pure joy. (Btw I highly recommend them for any autistic or sensory-sensitive people or just anyone who needs a very comfortable shoe.)


3) I got to share a glimpse of my life, my art, neighborhood, even talk about Star Wars and sweet potatoes and autism and how music helped me open up and find a voice to share with the world. I talked about my distaste for the Jedi council, my support of the EU-Legends transition, and my love for Anakin's complex darkness.

4) The 6 people I met with were each REALLY cool. It was highly stimulating to talk to them about their respective niches and roles within shoe design. One is the color person, another does texture, another sketches the 2D models, another translates it to 3D and facilities production, and two others lead the marketing campaign. But they are all a unified team that contributes their area of expertise. It's an art just like any other, and I really love witnessing that in contexts outside of my own.

Thank you so much for the honor of being part of this new shoe, and for the fulfilling day. ✨