Cornel Chan

"The Elvis of the East" and founder of Brooklyn Chinese-American Assn. Chorus

Cornel Chan (陳均能) immigrated to the US in 1972 from Hong Kong, where he enjoyed a successful career as “The Elvis of the East” singing American songs on radio, TV and in clubs. With younger singers from abroad gaining popularity and his young sons’ education to consider, he decided to come to NYC, where his sister lived. Looking in the yellow pages, he found the talent agent who got him his first job in NYC and taught him “gimmicks” to entertain American audiences. Since 2008, Chan has a popular singing class at senior centers in Southern Brooklyn, where Chinese seniors, including many recent arrivals from Fujian, learn English by singing American songs. It is the only class of its kind, he says. The chorus performs at the Brooklyn Chinese American Association’s annual gala and community events. Music clips of Cornel Chan's performances with the BCA Chorus and recordings from his YouTube channel were mixed into the interview by Samira Tazari.

This program is part of the Cultural Immigrant Initiative supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York City Councilman Mark Treyger.