Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Thursday, December 18, 2014
I set very high, unattainable goals for myself. The 'impossible' kind of goals because I wanted to look back and know that I tried. "Shoot for the moon and land in the clouds" is what my dad always says. He claims he came up with it, but according to Goodreads, Norman Vincent Peale said it.
I also made a list of more 'realistic' goals (I think too much about things and make lists). Some of the things I wanted to do were: 1) release an album 2) play two shows in one day 3) perform at a festival
And I can't believe I got to do all of the above this month. Today I'm not really doing anything, so I decided to write all about it because I don't want to forget it. Also because I haven't updated this blog since it officially became my 'website'.
I've been rehearsing for a christmas show on ice, so on saturday I was out of the house before 8am. aI think the only thing that kept me awake was the coffee I had in the afternoon. Uh oh. After rehearsals, I went to Jaya One for Popmarket #2 at Jaya One. It was so much fun I performed twice. They set up the stage in the middle of a bazaar and put bean bags all round the stage for people to sit on. I played to grown ups as well as little children who weren't afraid to sit right in front of me and dance. Came home, changed, and then went out again to perform at a school prom. I was really nervous for that because I don't really get to play to a group of people my age (Last time I did that, I was 10 and it was for my school talent show which I messed up so bad). But they were really nice and it was the nicest prom I've been to. (I've actually only been to two proms including this one)
The next weekend consisted of more skating, rehearsals, a radio interview, soundcheck and then Ohhsome Fest!! After skating class, I went to Hitz Fm's studio to do a short interview with them about the festival. I was so nervous and so excited. Nervous and excited basically sums up the week. They asked me about my songwriting (which I have never been asked about before) and boys (also hadn't been asked before) and of course how I felt about the event. It was so cool. I only regret not speaking loud enough. I'm not very loud in general so I have to work on that. After the interview I rushed back to the rink for rehearsals. The interview aired while I was on the ice, so it was like I was in two different places at once.
It all went pretty well the next morning during rehearsals at the rink (yup back there again). I was supposed to leave early so that I could make it for soundcheck in time. I left my guitar at home and told my dad to take it for me because I was going to rehearsals with a friend and didn't want to leave my guitar in the car for so long. Then, my dad was late and I took a cab all by myself to the venue. I jokingly asked if the guitar was with him when he called. It wasn't. So I was late for soundcheck (I hate being late) and with a pair of ice skates but without a guitar. *PANIC* At least I could still check my vocals..
When I got there, I saw the stage and it was huge! There was an actual backstage and barricades and artificial grass and everything. You could see the twin towers from the stage. Wow. David Choi, WongFu Productions, Elizabeth Tan, Narmi, Dash and so, SO many more in the lineup. And then there's me. Standing there a little lost, a little scared, not knowing how in the world I was lucky enough to get to do this.
They handed me a set of rules and the schedule to read through and tags to get me backstage. There were two security guards to open the door for you to enter the backstage tents and two more on the inside. They were a little scary to be honest. I said hi to the people I know and to the people I didn't know and then met up with my dad. We went to the quiet corner of a cafe until it was time for me to report backstage. The rest of the family and my friend, Xin Hui came later with my guitar and we went up to the rooftop of Avenue K.
I saw some of the announcers from hitz fm and some of the other acts backstage. It was almost my turn to perform. Then, it started to rain. People were rushing into the shelter, some came back with ponchos. There were cameramen and gigantic speakers hanging from the stage. Someone carried an umbrella for me and another person plugged my guitar in for me. It was all very, very strange.
When I went up to the stage and saw people in ponchos, still standing out in the rain. I couldn't believe they stayed! Maybe they were reserving a good spot for later, maybe they actually wanted to listen. I don't know. But they were there and I'm happy that they were. They cheered and clapped after each song and I could see my grandfather taking pictures with his phone. It was such a cool experience. I came down and enjoyed the rest of the concert with my friends. I even took some pictures with people (how surreal and strange).
"You're working both right and left sides of your brain at different times and you have to know which time to turn one side off and the other side on. It's actually really, really fun. Um, and sometimes you're not in the mood to have a conference call. And you're sitting there going "why can't I just make everyone else do this, and I just write the songs?" and then you realise I have to make to make these decisions and take ownership of everything that happens in my career, or else I will get bitter. And I will be like "why did you make me do this?" and it's like "well, you weren't in the conference call, so you couldn't say that that was against your vision for this album." So you've got to show up I guess. " -- Taylor Swift
So yeah. This pretty much sums December so far. Only 4 skating shows and one or two more performances for the year. After all this excitement, I'm going to be getting back to my normal life again. I'm going to miss being this busy... Maybe I'll finally learn how to drive. Or maybe, I'd get to be this busy next year too. I sure hope so. I took a little break from writing songs just to let this all sink in. I've been trying to stop and focus on 'Clues' and promoting it, but I also have been writing a lot hopefully for the next album and at this point, I'm happy with how it's going.
This year has been amazing. I've learnt so much, seen so many places and met so many wonderful people. I can't believe I'm chasing my dreams. And I can't believe people have been so supportive. I can't believe you have been so supportive. I'm so, so grateful.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Sunday, September 7, 2014
While in Nashville, my mom and I volunteered at a hostel. I walked from midtown (where we were staying, and where my mom volunteered) to downtown (where I did most of my volunteering) everyday. It took me 30 minutes to walk there, and 30 back. I walked until there were holes in my shoes and tan lines where I wore my watch but the time I spent walking gave me a lot of time to think and write songs, which I did. I must've looked like a crazy person, singing into my phone and all, but I must say; I have come up with songs while walking back and cleaning rooms that I'm very proud of.
I performed at Jack Scott's Writer's Night at Renaissance Hotel. Two years ago, I played there for the first time when it used to be held at Hotel Indigo. It's funny how so much has changed, yet so much is still the same. I met the most amazing people there that night, and had so much fun performing.
I also attended NSAI's Song Camp. There were so many people of all ages and all genres attending. I met someone writing songs for Broadway, and someone who writes the most amazing dance music. The first day of the workshop felt like the first day of school; there were mums reluctantly saying goodbye to their kids (my mom was one of them) and people getting to know each other. I sat way at the back of the conference room (of course) and talked to people. Okay, okay I tried to talk to people. I didn't feel as awkward there somehow. Maybe its because we were all crazy about songwriting and so we have so much to talk about, I don't know. The workshop was 3 full days of insanely awesome lectures, song sharing sessions, song critiques, and networking. We explored deeper into lyrics, melodies, songwriting methods, hooks and co-writing. We each got a song critique and got to listen to hit songwriters tell their stories behind their songs each day.
I loved hearing about how the songwriters wrote their songs. Anything could be an inspiration; it could be a colour, or a word, or a movie. Sometimes it started off with a guitar, sometimes a piano, and sometimes they'd write to programable tracks. During one of the sessions, we got to hear the entire process because they recorded it all. It started from beats, then moved on to a couple of words and a lot of mumbling, then the demo and finally the radio version. It was so fascinating! Hearing them share their experiences was both inspiring and reassuring.
I was especially nervous about my song critiques. Each time I passed my lyric sheets around, I could hear my heart pounding, and I hoped no one else could hear it. During the breakout sessions there weren't many people because we were broken into smaller groups. I never had my songs critiqued before, and after attending the workshops, I realised my songs weren't exactly following that "rules". I don't always follow the general song structure or write to radio-friendly song lengths. One of my songs; 'Dreaming' didn't even rhyme. I was SO surprised that for all the 3 song critiques, I got very good feedback for my songs. It's not that I doubt myself that much (I do, a little. But only a little. Okay, maybe a little more than a little.) but these were professional songwriters. Some of them had won or had been nominated for many awards including Grammys. I couldn't comprehend it. I still can't.
It was too soon to be packing my bags all over again. We had a lovely southern breakfast with our friends at the hostel and went to the airport. The journey home felt so much longer than the journey there. The constant change in timezones resulted in me giving my family the wrong arrival date, but by the time I realised my mistake, we were thousands of feet in the air above Chicago and there was no way to let them know.
I had learnt so much and I feel like I've grown more in my songwriting. I read an article recently about why people like to travel. It's not just the being-in-a-new-place kind of rush, but it is the energies you get from being in a place where everyone is excited to be there. How everyone travelled to the same place you're travelling to for almost the same reason. It also talked about how after you've come home, you'll always get the urge to travel again. The buzz will disappear, and it said that no matter how much you think had changed, it will all be the same again as you go back to your ordinary life. I don't want to go back to who I was before all this adventuring. I don't want to stay completely unchanged. After many, many flights and long naps on the plane, Nashville didn't feel real. But there were photos, and souvenirs. I even packed dandelions in my suitcase. Not the small ones like we have in Malaysia, but the big ones the size of your fist. So it had to be real.
I don't know how to express how thankful I am to have been able to experience all of this. And to have experienced it with my mom. I thought I could do it on my own, but I don't think I could. She likes to rub it in my face all the time- the fact that I did actually need her there, and really enjoyed her company.
I'm so grateful to everyone who had supported me. Thank you so, so much for believing in me. I can't wait to share some exciting news with you!
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
The weather here has been hot and cold like the Katy Perry song. It's been freezing in the morning and scorching hot in the afternoon. It's confusing. I heard the weather back in Malaysia has been pretty bad, so I hope you've all got your masks and are staying hydrated.
I feel like I'm in a dream, and going to sleep is actually waking up.
I got scheduled to play in the round at Debi Champion's Songwriter's Night. The way it works here is that you have to sign up and be an open mic-er a few times before you can get scheduled, and I'm so happy that it was on a day like this. It was so much fun, I think I'll play there again.
We went to Cafe Coco again for the open mic but we were late and sign ups were full. They only allow 12 people each time and we were late because I was baking cupcakes with Amanda, one of the guests at the hostel. Since we were already there, we decided to stay for the show anyway. It's always fun at Cafe Coco, because you'll never know what to expect. I love the flute/beat-boxing act. Towards the end of the open mic, Cody who runs the open mic here asked if I wanted to play. Of course I said yes. And I ended up being the 13th performer that night.
Then on Thursday, I played at Ella Mae Bowen's 'Unplugged at Atmalogy'. That was the highlight of my
We did some touristy things like visiting the mall, walking around downtown, eating gigantic pizza and taking lots of photos so this week, we decided to stay in more. We've been going out a lot and I hardly had anytime to write, so that's what I did. There's a little space in the garden of the hostel where people can hang out and mainly smoke, but when no one is there, that's where I'll be. I'm that girl walking around humming to herself, thoughts filled with words, scrambling for a piece of paper. I realised that most of my ideas come when I am busy. There's also a piano at the hostel downtown and I'd play a little there too whenever I can. Or when there aren't too many people around.
I've been dreaming about home a lot lately, which is weird. I had not anticipated this strange mix of happiness and sadness to hit me os hard. Sometimes I don't know if it's my gut feeling I'm going with, or if it's the fear of things not working out that is clouding my judgement. Following your heart is good advice; but sometimes it's hard to tell if you're following your heart, or conveniently running from your fears. I guess what spewed all this was when I got asked if I wanted to stay here longer than I had initially planned to. I spent a long time contemplating it, but eventually I decided not to stay on. I love this place and someday I'd like to live here but being so far away from family is hard. It's even harder if something happens and you can't just be there in the next few hours.
Sunday, June 29, 2014
I've been spending very little time on the internet since I got here. There seems to be a lot of things going on outside of this computer screen and by the time I get back, I'm either too tired or too hungry. Or both.
I've been pretty busy these few weeks. I haven't been writing much and I'm feeling like I'm going crazy. I can only go so many days without writing anything down. It has been about a week and my mind is racing with words, lines, lyrics, rhymes... So I'm just here trying to pick up little fragments of songs here and there.
The public transportation is not exactly the most reliable here so my mom and I have been walking a lot. 10,000 steps a day is a lot further than I thought it would be. Most people here drive and don't take the bus, and there isn't a train here. That makes me appreciate the LRT more I guess. It's also been really hot. Probably not as hot as it is in Malaysia, but the weather makes it feel like we're not too far away when actually we are.
I attended a Pitch To Publisher's workshop at the Bluebird Cafe last week. It was the most amazing experience I've had being in a room full of songwriters around my age. I did not get selected to pitch my songs to the publishers, but I was allowed to audit the workshop and learn the process of pitching songs and what it takes to be a commercial country songwriter. We are constantly reminded of how difficult it is to succeed in this industry, and I think that probably brings me back to reality a little more. It's a good thing though. It makes me want to work a lot harder.
I don't quite think I have what it takes to be a "commercial country songwriter" although I do love country music. Waylon Jennings did say: "country music isn't a guitar, it isn't a banjo, it isn't a melody, it isn't a lyric. It is a feeling." so I'll just write about my thoughts and feelings and try not to think to much about the genre.
During the workshop, I met so many wonderful people whom I have so much in common with. And the fact that we all scribble lyrics on everything and can use "we should write a song about that" in a regular sentence is so cool. I love how in Nashville people want to hear original music and they really pay attention to the lyrics. We also love pizza and salad, but who doesn't?
On the last day of the workshop, the auditors of the workshop got to play their songs for the participants to critique and comment. We had to prepare 35 lyric sheets, but I didn't want to pay 25 cents per sheet because that is a lot of money to spend so I wrote them out. Mum helped me of course. I played them my song 'Here'. I got comments on it being a little too vague for country music and it also had too many rhetorical questions. But overall everyone enjoyed it and suggested I try to get it to TV placements. The most memorable comment I got was when someone said they could imagine it played in the background of Finding Nemo.
There was also a little party at the end of the workshop. We talked about boys and music and food. Well, I mainly listened but I was not as quiet as usual. We also sat in a circle and passed a guitar around, each taking turns to play our songs. It was like a giant songwriter's round. It was so inspiring, and amazing. I got to play my song 'Dandelion Days' and have everyone sing along at the chorus. I have never felt like I really belonged anywhere until that night.
It was back to reality after that weekend. We were free on Monday, so we went to The Bluebird cafe again to try to play at the open mic. The line was so long by the time we got there, we were in the third line. I saw some friends I met at the workshop and made some new friends while we were in line. I thought I wouldn't get a chance to play because we were so far behind, but I got to play! We didn't get to go in, but I got to play. I wasn't as nervous as I was the last time, but I was still nervous. It was so much fun. Because we didn't get a seat in the cafe, after my performance we had to leave. I took mum to Whole Foods, my new favourite place to eat. It's not easy to find vegetables and fruit, but in this area there were plenty. And one of the best parts about eating at Whole Foods is that we could take the amount we wanted to eat and not worry about bringing a box so we could pack the leftovers.
We ate in quite often but we did eat out too. When we ate in, mom would try to re-create chinese dishes with american ingredients. She managed to make herbal eggs, which tasted awesome. When we eat out, we normally order for one person and share. Food is usually served in such huge portions here. I had pancakes the other day at the Pancake Pantry (where Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Taylor Swift and many other celebrities go to eat) and that one plate of pancakes I ordered was enough for about 2 meals for me. Nashville has quite a lot of barbecue places to eat, but I don't eat barbecue. I don't even know how to spell barbecue, but autocorrect helped me out with that.
We were quite free the other day and decided to bake something with the ingredients we found at the hostel. We made a vegan chocolate cake to share with everyone.
We haven't done much touristy things, so the other day we explored downtown a little. We went full on tourist mode taking pictures of everything. Most of these pictures were taken by my mom.
As I'm writing this I'm Skyping with Sam and Arian. We've been chatting for about 3 hours about almost nothing significant. So yeah, that's how/what I've been doing lately. Time seems to be moving so fast, yet so slow at the same time. I want to go home, yet this feels like home at the same time. I'm going to need more time to process everything.
Thanks for reading until the end of my current ramblings by the way.
Friday, June 20, 2014
On monday, after I was done with my shift at the hostel, mum and I went to watch The Song Suffragettes at The Listening Room Cafe. Brittany, whom I met at The Martin Guitar Booth two years ago as well as this year was playing with Maddie Kozak, Kalie Shorr, Lena Stein, Daisy Mallory (!!!) and Brittany Kennel. Song Suffragettes is a songwriter's round just for girls to play. All their voices are so amazing. The whole setting of it reminded me a lot of The Bee back home in Publika.
Tuessday: Cleaned rooms again today. Found a whole bunch of pennies, or one cent coins. I heard that is is good luck if you find one, but I found so many. I was worried that it might have the opposite effect. On my way back, I stopped by the grocery store to buy some fruits and food. If you're going to walk for 30 minutes in the hot sun, don't buy bananas. They weigh a lot. I was really hungry by the time I got back because I didn't eat lunch, so I cooked noodles with salted vegetables. We bought those from an Asian market. After lunch/dinner, we walked to Cafe Coco. They have open mics every tuesdays and thursdays. "You have to go to Cafe Coco" is basically what I've heard from people here. The cafe is a quirky little cafe in a house. They serve cookies the size of your face and cakes the size of bricks. Well, almost the size of a brick. We had a 'fountain drink' (sprite) and a new York Cheesecake. Everything has to be shared with my mom here because of their abnormally large food portions.
The open mic itself is located at the back of the cafe. It was a very artsy kind of vibe, not like the typical Nashville country kind of style. I met a few of the girls who were staying at the hostel and a girl named Jackie and her mom. We were the only two who came with our moms, and turns out we have a lot in common. We both love Ed Sheeran's music. All the open mic-ers sat behind and jammed out before the show started. It was so amazing getting to be a part of that even though I didn't know the songs they were singing, but I just sat and listened. The first open mic, Taylor sang the most amazing song that he wrote. Everyone was so amazing actually. Jackie sang before me, and her voice is just so amazing and unique. I feel like I'm a fan of almost everyone in this town so far. I hardly use my iPod when I'm here because there's so much good music to listen to everywhere.
I got to sing two songs that night, and the response was nothing like I've ever gotten before. It really surprised me. I'm so happy that my songs are being accepted here and people like it enough to ask for my sound cloud links. A lot of hugs were given, which was nice and everyone in this room were in a state of "I can't even" because there was just so much amazing talent in the room including a girl who played the flute and beatboxed at the same time. I mean, how amazing is that? Most of us weren't from Nashville, and we were all so, so, so excited. Walking back was like walking on clouds. Only I have never walked on clouds. It was like what I thought it would be like walking on clouds. I would've skipped all the way home if I wasn't carrying my guitar with me.
On wednesday, It was super hot outside, but freezing inside. I cleaned rooms at the hostel again. It wasn't too busy, so we could relax a little. I traded lists of my favourite music to listen to on Spotify with Tracee. We have similar tastes in music and she introduced me to a lot of artists I didn't know about before.
Thursday (today: I got up really early this morning and took the bus this morning to the Bluebird Cafe to attend a 'Pitch For Publishers' workshop. It is a workshop to teach you about songwriting, commercial country music, and how to pitch songs to publishers. I didn't get selected to pitch to the publishers, so I just went to audit. I saw Jackie, and Rachel there too and it was nice to see some familiar faces.
We went really in-depth of hit songs and analysed their meanings, song structure, and themes. We all got to pick a song to discuss and brainstorm about. I was most afraid of speaking to the group of people about how I felt about the songs. That's why I write songs; to avoid the whole 'speaking your mind' thing because songs will say it for me. I'm glad I had to do it though, because I definitely need to learn how to speak up more.
The workshop ran from 9am to 4pm. After that, we were supposed to head to this place called Ri'chard's Cafe for an open mic. All the participants get to play. I met my mom at Bluebird Cafe and then got a taxi there because it was too far to walk. We shared the taxi with two other people who were heading downtown. To get to Ri'chards, we'd pass downtown so we decided to go together because taxis are really hard to find here. Then the taxi driver forgot about sending the two other people to downtown and we got lost on the way to the cafe. We drove past houses and shops that started to get further and further apart from each other and we were definitely out of the city. We took a really long way there and it costed us a lot. This was when every participant got to play their songs and network. I got to sing two songs. I'll post a video of it up in the next few days. Promise. I had so much fun. There were so many amazing songwriters, it is so inspiring. Everything is changing so quickly in the music industry. Sometimes it can be very scary not knowing what's going to happen next. But if anything changes, I just want to remain optimistic and remain who I was when I started this journey into the wonderful unknown.
Friday, June 13, 2014
The sun played hide-and-seek with us for most of the week. It rained and then it stopped, it rained and then it stopped. I've been volunteering at the hostel, and I'm enjoying it a lot. Maybe I'm enjoying it more than I should. I fold the sheets, clean the floor and stuff like that. I learnt that its not always about doing what you love, but its also about loving what you do.
On Wednesday, a day before the festival, my mom and I went to Commodore Grille to try my luck at the Debi Champion's writers night there. We got there really early because we had planned to walk but Kodi, the person who was training us on working here offered to drive us there. While waiting we met a 'singing concierge' Tommy. He is a songwriter and, he talked to us about the music industry and gave us advice on what we should do. I ended up being the first to sign up.
If it is your first time playing here, they make you wait until everyone who is scheduled to play is done. It's like they are testing your patience, but at the same time you'd get to learn a lot about songwriting. There were 7 rounds the night, and it was 3 hours of awesome songwriters play.
I was in the 8th out of 9 rounds and I was so nervous. I met these two singer/songwriters, Camille and Anthony from New Jersey. It was their first time here too. Their songs are amazing, and you should totally check out their music: https://www.facebook.com/camilleperutomusic (I can't seem to find Anthony's page). At the end of the night, I thanked Debi and she gave me a hug. She is so nice and kind. We walked home and got home pretty late. I was too exited to sleep.
The next day was the start of CMA Fest. It was really fun. After I did my hours at the hostel, I walked over to the festival. Through all this, I'm learning so much about music and everything else too. I'm learning how to speak more, because everyone here talks a lot. They greet you with "Hi, hows it going?" or "Hey, how are you?" and sometimes, I don't even know that person but its just a general greeting.
In the evening, we went to a place called Atmology. Ella Mae Bowen, Melissa Fuller, Hailey Steele and Lizzy McAvoy were singing in a writers round that evening. Ella Mae Bowen is my hero, and I was so excited to see her play. The show was set up like a living room and the atmosphere was very relaxed. Everybody's songs were so good, and so honest. I just sat there, amazed. It was the best writers round I had ever attended.
The next day after working at the hostel, I got to watch Danielle Bradbery perform. I got to riverfront just in time for her set. It's crazy to think how far she has come, because I used to watch her on The Voice on youtube and now she's one of the main performers at CMA Fest. I was walking downtown and saw this group of kids busking, so I gave them a dollar and took a picture. Mom and I made friends with a Japanese lady, Yukiko staying at the hostel, and I took her around broadway. It was really, really hot.
I was the first to perform. If was quite a rush, and was over before I knew it. Two years ago I didn't even have enough material to fill up 30 minutes. I was nervous at first, but then started enjoying myself more. 12 Notes came on a few sets after mine, and my mom, Yukiko and i stayed on to listen. They're the most happy and positive people, and it just makes you happy listening to them. We enjoyed their set a lot.
On monday, I worked at the hostel till later in the afternoon. I wanted to go to the Bluebird Cafe, but I was scheduled till 5.30 and would not be able to make it there in time. I ended up finishing by 3.30 and there was a chance I could go.
When I got back, there was still quite a lot to do so I decided not to go but Ron and Tracee, the hostel owners said I should go. They were going out anyway, and dropped my mom and I off. We were about 15 minutes late, and the queue was so long! I saw familiar faces; Marta and Federock, and Camille and Anthony. They saw me right away and we waved excitedly to each other. They were way ahead in the line though. While in line, I Jon and his band from Hawaii. They were on tour here and they were the nicest people. We sat there in back of the line and talked for a bit. Then, everyone who had a stamp (which included me because I got my stamp two years ago) were led into the cafe first. I had no idea I was going to perform, I thought I could just get in with my ticket. The amount of people going to the Bluebird seemed to have multiplied since I last came. I asked the girl behind me if we are actually going to play and she told me that if you have a stamp, you're guaranteed to play. That's when I started freaking out. All along I thought I'd have a 1 in 100 chance or something. Barbara, the organiser came up on stage and called out the list of performers. I was second. First was someone who had kept his ticket for 6 years. He looked very familiar, but I couldn't quite pin point where I had seen him before..
I was pretty much shaking when I went up. I sang 'Dreaming'. I sure felt like I was dreaming. It was absolutely surreal. The next few people were trembling too, I'm glad I wasn't the only one. Everyone I met on this trip got to perform that night and I think we were all so excited about that. This was the place where they filmed a lot of the show Nashville, and also the place where Taylor Swift and Garth Brooks and so many others started their careers. It was so amazing to even be in here.
I talked a a few people after the show, and they told me they liked my song! I was pleasantly surprised. I'm not very confident. I guess I've got to believe in myself a little more. I was at the post office and the lady at the counter saw that I was mailing CD's to places. She was like
"Oh, are you a singer?"
I said that I was hoping to be one. Then she said
"No, no don't say that. Say I am a singer!"
And I did.
I love how we're meeting so many people with so many stories to tell. They have traveled the world and its is so fascinating to hear about. Someday I'd like to do that too, although I am kind of doing that already. I'm missing out on a lot of things back home like camp, events, Taylor Swift's concert but I am here and I'm having the time of my life here. I can't thank you enough for all your support, getting me all the way here and all. See you soon!
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Then, it was nine hours from Paris to Chicago. This flight felt a lot longer because they didn't provide us with individual screens to pacify our boredom. At this point I had no idea what time or day it was until the captain announced it as we landed. Even then, I wasn't sure if it was am or pm. Twenty one and a half hours of flying, and I still hadn't gotten the chance to sit by the window and gaze out into the clouds.
Chicago was quite a blur. We went through multiple baggage checks, went to the terminal and had it changed last minute again. The flight got delayed about an hour and it was a really small plane and my guitar couldn't fit in the baggage compartment, so we had to check it in. I was supposed to get a window seat, but because my guitar couldn't fit, I had cause a traffic jam of people behind me and had to switch with the person next to me so my mom helped me take pictures of the clouds.
We arrived in Nashville at about 9pm local time, 4am in Paris time, and 10am KL time. Confused? I sure was. But I was determined to beat jet lag. I went to sleep around midnight local time and woke it the morning. I guess constantly wondering if I'm crazy for doing flying to the other end of the world can be pretty exhausting. Jet lag= 0 Me=1.
We met with the owners of the hostel the next morning, and they briefed us about what we were supposed to do. We would be volunteering at the hostel during our stay here. I'm quite excited. We didn't do much all day as we won't be starting our volunteer training until tomorrow, so we got some groceries and then hung out in our room. In the evening, we walked to the Belcourt Taps to see Megan and Liz. It was great. I've watched their youtube videos for so many years and finally got to see them live! After that, we stayed on to listen to Ira Wolf and Zack Joseph perform. They were incredible! It was quite a shame that most of the people in room left when Megan and Liz left. We bought their CDs and then took a taxi back. Now its 1am and we just Skyped with everyone back home. It's getting late/early, I'll write more later.
Friday, May 30, 2014
I got to go busking for two weekends in front of Sungei Wang Plaza, and it has been one of the best experiences I've had.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Our house is not quite in a mess. It is in an organised chaos. We have a lot of books. And even when their pages turn brown, we still value them. Every wall is filled with paintings and photographs; we are a very visual family, you see. Our breakfast cereals are not in cabinets but displayed on the kitchen counter making it a little cluttered, but at least we know it is there.
We take pride in our garden. It is not like everyone else's on the block. The grass is long. The leaves grow everywhere and block the sun from shining into our living room. There is a pineapple plant growing almost in the middle, out of nowhere. My sister planted winter melons and that plant gave us more than 10 winter melons in its lifetime. Vines creeped all over the mailbox and even reached up to our roof. Our plants didn't grow in neat rows, and we called our garden our little jungle. There was a time when we were so busy that all our plants turned brown, but Sam and my dad managed to bring it back to its former glory, with a lot of hard work of course. It was beautiful to us. When it was hot, the leaves seem to almost glow in the sunlight. And if you looked closely, you could see little insects coming to visit, nibbling on the leaves. Bees would occasionally fly from flower to flower and within a few days, the number of flowers would double. After it rained, tiny droplets of water still hung on to the lotus leaves and everything sparkled.
Then our grandmother came to visit and our house transformed. All our "rubbish" as she calls it is thrown out, leaving empty spaces on tables, shelves and even the refrigerator. We are complete opposites- we're overly sentimental, while she is overly practical- even with the five of us against her, she still wins.
We were out for the day when the disaster struck. We got back in time only to see the damage. There was nothing we could've done. Gone, was the rice in the flower pot. Gone, was the grass growing through the cracks on our driveway. Gone, gone, gone. The vines we spent years planting were gone too. What used to creep almost all over our walls were brought down to only shreds of roots and leaves on the ground. Our beautiful melon plant that grew around our pine-like tree that made it look like it was christmas all the time is gone too. The ferns that danced when the wind blew; ripped out of its little corner. Everything is bare. Everything feels empty. Everything that made our house feel like a home has literally been destroyed, and all that is left in its place are bare, plain, white walls.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Sunday, March 30, 2014
Friday, March 7, 2014
I've been neglecting this blog lately (sorry!) trying to keep up with writing in my journal everyday. I'm in a car right now, stuck in traffic. There always seems to be traffic everywhere lately for some reason. It's the 7th of March already and February just few right by. I've got so much to tell you and I'm trying to figure out where to start.
I had one of the best birthdays I've had in years. I didn't have a big party or anything, but I did have two mini-surprise-birthday gathering- type situations. My mom decided to surprise me at my own open mic, Treehouse Open Mic. One funny thing though, my mom and sister aren't that good at keeping secrets. At the basement in Bangsar as I was unloading the amps and stuff, I saw the cafe owner, brother Ong. He was carrying a cake and walking, almost skipping merrily back to his cafe. I assumed it was just another cake because he owns a cafe and they sell cake at the cafe. But then my sister was like "don't look! Turn away! Don't say hi to him." And that's when I knew what they were up to. Mom even got the featured act, Devon to sing me 'Happy Birthday' during his set which was a little embarrassing. I don't like having attention drawn to myself, but for some reason I'm alright with singing in front of people.
The kids at CLiC threw me a "surprise" party too. They love birthdays. It doesn't even have to be their own birthday. They were so excited that they told me about the surprise party they were going to throw me and completely defeating the purpose of a surprise. I thought it was so cute. They made me a cake, and gave me little handmade gifts. I felt like a kid again. Things cake presents often get overlooked or seen as childish when you become a teenager for some reason.
I also launched a GoFundMe campaign for me to raise money to go to Nashville. It also acts as a pre-order for my EP which will be sent out when it is finished. The response I got so far has been pretty great. People are sharing it and getting the word out. If you were one of them, thank you. You're too kind.
And if you would like to contribute to my project but you don't have a PayPal account or are having trouble with an online transaction, you can message me on my page and I'll give you details of how you can do an offline contribution.
This only applies to Malaysia only, unfortunately.
I'm hoping to spend a longer time in Nashville this time around to learn more and hopefully perform more as well. I did my first Ticket To Nashville gig for the year with a few of my friends who want to go to Nashville too. The response we got from that show was really amazing, and we performed to a room full of people! Hoping to do another soon :)
The Rock For Ronan album was released on the 25th!!
I can't believe I got to be a part of this project. I hope we raise enough money for the foundation. Here, I did a piano version of my song 'Goodbye' for the release of the album.
I went into the studio to record another song for my EP. It's going pretty well so far. I've got a lot of time in between to practice my singing and practice patience as well. There's a lot of waiting during this process as musicians are very busy people. I've got a lot to work on with my vocals and I hope to start vocal lessons soon.
I also gave a talk in February. Talk about nerve-wrecking. I'm not good at talking in general, let alone speaking in front of many, many people. It was for a homeschooling forum and I got to share a session with Karen. Our topic was "Confessions Of A Teenage Homeschooler". At first, my mom told me that it was going to be a short Q & A session at a small homeschooling meet but she failed to mention that the event itself was called the BIG homeschool meet. I barely slept that night because I was preparing and rehearsing for my short 10-minute talk.
There were about 70 people in that room. I didn't manage to read everything I had written in my notes because I was so nervous I forgot where I was reading, so I improvised a little. At the end of it, I think I did alright. It made me feel a little more confident about speaking. Emphasising "a little". But the confidence is often short-lived.
Oh, AND I also did something rather outrageous. Outrageous for my standards. I got my hair dyed. Just dip-dyed, not the whole head, but I am quite happy with it. I sort of got peer-pressured into doing it. I was very hesitant. I'm not the kind of person who just does what they feel. I need time to contemplate on things and consider all my options. But my mom and sister on the other hand, go by the "do first, then think" philosophy and they pushed me into the hair saloon. What a sight it must've been. I mean, it's not that the forced me to do what I didn't want to do, because I did like the idea of having my hair dip-dyed sometime, but not so soon. I hand't thought it through enough. The hair dresser was on their side, of course.
So they finally got me to the chair and I decided on a dark purple shade. Like the colour of our neighbours bush the way my sister and I describe it. The feeling of fear I had in me measured similarly to when I am at a dentist. It was quite a traumatising experience and I'm only just starting to get over it.
First, they splat on this mint-green paste onto my hair and wrapped it in foil. It smelled weird and felt a little warm. I was then left to stare at my own reflection on the mirror for half an hour. I brought out my knitting stuff and started knitting to keep calm. When they unwrapped the foil, I swore I saw steam coming out from my hair and when they rinsed the paste off, my hair was blonde! At this point, my heart was pounding. They then put another round of paste on my hair and I sat there for another eternity before I could rinse it off. They washed my hair for me too. I don't know why, but I always feel like it's weird having somebody wash your hair for you. It always seems like something you can do on your own.
Anyway, my hair is now a little purplish pink/red.
I was also invited to perform at an event called Play It Forward, a charity music show organised held in Black Box, Publika. It was an awesome lineup with Prema Yin, Bihzhu, Fazz, to name a few.. And then there's me...
It has taken me about three days to finish writing this blog as I'm writing between the usual running around, singing, baking, dancing, ice-skating, but thank you so much for reading till the end of my random ramblings.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
My first song to ever be on iTunes. Wow. Is. This. Real. Life.
Rock for Ronan is a musical compilation compiled to benefit the Ronan Thompson Foundation. ALL sales from the cd and online downloads will go directly to the foundation to continue research and support of childhood cancers. You can read more about it here: http://www.rockforronan.com
Thursday, January 23, 2014
It is the 23rd of January. I've committed myself to reading more books and so far that has been going pretty well. I'm really enjoying The Catcher In The Rye at the moment and also To Kill A Mockingbird. I'm eagerly anticipating ice-skating class on friday and also working on my EP (!!!!)
I got new ice skates during our holiday in Singapore. It has always been a dream of mine to learn how to ice skate. You see, when I was little I only wanted to be either a princess, a ballerina or an ice-skater. I've crossed out being a princess as my life's ambition, and realised that I am a terrible dancer. I love it, but I'm really bad at it. Sometimes you can work so hard and not give up on something, but it doesn't always mean that you will see improvements. Maybe I just need to work even harder. I don't have that natural turn-out or arched feet or flexibility. I have been trying though. I've been learning since I was 6, so I'm not going to give up now but it's just going to be a hobby for me. I got my very first pair of demi-pointe shoes the other day (they're the kind that are shiny and soft, like the kind you see professional ballet dancers wear) and I wondered to myself; why am I doing this? I felt I didn't deserve getting those shoes at all. Maybe its all this free time that is making me question everything. Too much free time is not good for me. I get bored. I willingly cleaned my grandparent's entire house while they were away. I realised I clean when I'm bored. It's not weird... right? I also think too much when I have a lot of free time. I wonder if I'm making the right decisions in navigating my life. I think about a lot of things that only time can tell. As more days in the year pass, the excitement of 'new beginnings' fade into a never-ending spiral of doubt and uncertainty- which apparently comes with taking chances and trying new things. I had a long talk with my grandmother, popo the other day on the train. She thinks that I have the 'potential' to do something better with my life besides music. I'm going to turn 18 in less than a month, and she keeps asking when I'm going back to school. There's a lot of pressure. I wonder how long I can just nod and agree with her while I do something else before she finds out...
I almost forgot, welcome to my new blog! I changed the whole layout of it. It's not so pink anymore, thank goodness. I don't know what got into me when I decided that I would turn my entire blog pink. Anyway, hope you're having a good year so far.