William David “Charlie” Chin was born in 1944 in Jackson Heights, NY. In his teens he began his folk rock career playing venues in Greenwich Village. He would become guitarist for the band Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys from 1967-1969. The band was supported by Jimi Hendricks, who produced their first album and brought them on tour. After leaving the band he would go onto play jazz with the David Arman Quintet for five years before deciding to study traditional music at the Chinese Music Ensemble of New York.
Chin was a major figure in the New York Asian American community and was an active member of basement workshop. He was also in the band Yellow Pearl along with Chris Iijima, and Joanna Nobuko Miyamoto. They recorded the “A Grain of Sand: Music for the struggle by Asians in America,” which is widely recognized as the first album of Asian American Music. Chin has worked as the community education director at MOCA and currently is an artist in residence at the Chinese Historical Society of America in San Francisco.