PHOTO CREDIT: Isaac Tan (my brother)
I just finished my last performance for NOISE SG's Music Mentorship Programme, which I was mentee under Big Boss Don Richmond and co-mentee with the amazing Samantha Rui. As I sang my last note on stage before ending off my entire set, there was a sudden feeling of thankfulness that rushed through me.
Let's go on to talk about my life as a musician. I started singing when I was in Secondary 3, that's about 4 years ago. It was a rocky road when I started because I had all the wrong ideas of a good musician. I thought that a good musician was just someone who could sing really well. Turns out I was wrong when I started music for real after my 6-8 months of hiatus in 2012. As some of you who have been following me on this journey would know, I stopped music because I felt like I wasn't doing music right and that I was only in it for the popularity. However, I have to come to terms and admit that the real reason as to why it sparked off, was due to my own inferiority complex.
I saw my other aspiring musician friends starting to get gigs outside and I just felt like all of them were rising up... without me. Granted, I was glad for them, but it turns out that the higher they rose, the further we were from one another. Even recounting this whole experience makes me sad because I didn't like to see the people who were my motivation, slowly leave one by one as I lay stuck at ground-zero. THIS was one of the main contributing factors that made me stop music in the first place but to think in retrospect, it was one of the most amazing things to have had happen to me.
Soon after, I started to question why I was doing music. You see, I felt that by doing music I would be able to achieve a certain standard of popularity in school and elsewhere. This was the exact same reason why I could not suck it up when I found that my friends were much better than I was cause I wanted to be the best. However, it was because I failed to realise that it wasn't just because I lacked in talent but it was because I was forcing music that resulted in me sucking so badly in it. Most of my covers made back then were done just so that I could send it out into the social media and to see how far it could get me in terms of its likes and shares.
Disgusting, I know and oh so foolish.
In addition to that, there were, of course, the people who told me to give up on this dream and that I wasn't good enough and i'll be honest that there were days in which I really felt like this dream to pursue music was just a figment of my childish imagination that one day I could possibly stand on a big stage and play for people.
I didn't give up though because I didn't want to and because I remember that I fell in love with music for a totally different reason altogether. It wasn't about the fame, it was the passion. I then picked up my bags and started to trudging on forward. I didn't know where I was going but as long as I was moving again. So where did that decision take me?
The road to recovery for me as a musician.
It was during this period of discovery that I started to sing in private and was blessed to have met other aspiring musician friends along the way that I'm really thankful for. Most of this people are the second generation of YouTubers that have rose up to the stage along with me (that being said, I'm not implying that i'm not thankful for the first generation that I started music with because they were and still are the people who inspire me to do music).
I started to find that making music was fun again! It wasn't a chore for me anymore and I didn't feel it a need to upload a cover once every two weeks. It was when I started to have fun that the doors started opening for me.
So as I stood upon that stage for my second time this year, (the first during YFEST), I was just thankful for all the opportunities that have been granted to me and as I finished my set, I remembered each and everyone of you who have made it possible for me and who have encouraged me to continue trudging on this journey.
I love all of you very much and I'm thankful in more ways than you will ever know.
Before I end this post, I just wanted to share the one thing that I mentioned to the crowd as I introduced one of my originals - The World in 150. This song was written about my life as a musician and how I was under constant pressure and fire from friends and enemies about my aspirations to start music. And even though many of you might not be musicians, the one thing that we all have in common is the fact that we have dreams.
So this was what I shared and I hope that you will be inspired from it as well:
"There will always be people who will tell you to give up but you should never give up on your dreams because dreams have the power to take you places... and my dream brought me here today."
Thank you for always believing in me.
- Irwin Zephyr