Exclusive Interview: Singapore Singer Seah Jiaqing says singing does not guarantee success in entertainment industry
1. How did you start your entertainment career? Was it from Campus Superstar or before?
I had a dream of being an artiste since my secondary school days. So I started to join these competitions thinking that it will get me "famous" somehow. jumped at every opportunity I had. My singing career started when I had a chance to act in a movie, that was when I met co-actor Kenny khoo and he approached me to join his band singing at live bar venues. From then I started performing as a career.
2. Why do you love to sing? At what age did you start learning guitar, keyboard and er hu?
I started learning erhu at age of 7. It was when I walked past the Chinese orchestra cca booth and I found this boy playing the erhu which looked interesting so I joined the cca. Wanted to give up due to the other kids kept laughing at me associating me to the uncles below the bridges. But thankfully to my parents I did not give up and got my diploma at age 13. It was because of the strong foundation in erhu and made me pick up other instruments faster and easier than others. I started learning the guitar when I was 18.
3. Who is your singing teacher when you were young? Did he/she inspire you to become a singer?
My only vocal Instructor was Nicole Lai. Her vocal control was so good that whatever songs that came out from her mouth sounded amazing. Unfortunately after learning from her for about a year plus she passed away from cancer.
4. What do you think of the current entertainment industry, is it hard to become a singer and gain popularity?
There are many types of singers. It depends on which kind you want to be. If you choose to be an album singer, you need to have your own originals. Only then you'll be able to go a long way on this path. And also you'll need to Invest in your own marketing as well. Youll need the right team and mentors to support you as well. It makes a big difference.
5. As a gig performer and a vocal coach, how do you manage your time between your career and your family?
I wake up earlier to spend time with my family. Normally my work starts around 4 to 5pm till 11pm. So during the day I try to spend more time with them
6. If you can travel back to the past, will you consider signing a contract with any of the label record or artiste management? Why?
I wouldn't. Because I know that I won't make it anywhere. It all boils down to your ownself I realized. I lacked the skills and knowledge to be an album artiste. The ability to sing doesn't gives you a career. There will always be singers better than you. It's about working hard, writing your own songs, keep writing, until you have a library of your own songs. That's a lot of time investment. Managing label can only help to market you, but you need to have solid products for them to push.
7. What is the difference between performing at a pub and on a stage? Which do you perfer and why?
Be it a small stage at pubs or a bigger live stage, every performance definitely there will be audiences who are listening to you. Do your best to keep them entertained with your songs. Of course the vibes on a bigger stage with a full band backing comes with more excitement.
8. Would you consider acting if you are given the opportunity? And do you think acting is tougher than singing?
I was given a shot at acting back then in 2012 for a local movie that girl in pinafore. My own opinion, acting is definitely tougher than singing. There are a lot of waiting time on set, you have to reenact probably a 30seconds scene for multiple times due to different camera angles. Singing is so much easier :)
9. What do you want to say to the youngsters who have a dream and passion in singing?
Keep up your passion, keep writing your songs. Only if you meet the right people and team then you'll be able to go far in this industry. Don't put monetary values as priority, focus on your own music and songs, opportunities will come to you. And when opportunity comes knocking, you have to be prepared already.