MY VOICE feat. Lee Ein Ein

In the final instalment of our series MY Voice, KKBOX Student Ambassador Myra speaks to Singaporean singer-songwriter Lee Ein Ein.

Once part of Singapore’s top a cappella group MICappella, Ein Ein left to pursue her studies in the US. Now, she’s back in the local music scene, charming us with a new Mandarin single, Bloom.

KKBOX catches up with her.

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Q: What have you been up to since returning from the US?

I flew to LA in March 2015. I studied keyboard performance and Audio Engineering in the Musicians Institute for 1.5 years and then became a teacher assistant at the Musicians Institute for another year.

After I came back, I started producing, doing music arrangement, mixing, writing songs for friends and other singers. I’ve also written songs for a Chinese drama series and local productions. I’ve done live performances, where I played the keyboard for Joi Chua and Jimmy Ye’s concerts.

In response to the Straits Times article about ‘non-essential’ artists, I wrote a song with BPM in one night. Called ‘Non Essential’, the song went viral online.

I released a single with Kewei. I also had my own first original showcase at Room 2/F at the Esplanade, which inspired me to release my own music. The following year I released my first single, ‘My Little Kingdom’.

Q: Wow, that clearly illustrates up your passion for songwriting. What’s the motivation behind that?

When I write songs with a message, I feel that I’m making a contribution to society. I personally really like songs, comics and even shows that carry a very inspirational message. So I hope to be able to use my talents to inspire and help people to do what they wish to do.

Q: What’s the inspiration behind your new single, ‘Bloom 绽放’?

This song is dedicated to people who feel that life has no meaning for them. The pictures I had in mind were pretty dark, as I wanted to portray the sadness and difficulties of living in our modern society. I’ve harboured suicidal thoughts at times. At that lowest point in my life when I wanted to kill myself, I asked myself, “If I were dead now, what’s next?”.

Then I realised that dying won’t help to solve anything.

Hence, I wanted to write this song to encourage those who feel jaded in life. There is hope as long as we keep moving forward, we have the power to change our own future.

Q: How did you bounce back from the lowest point in your life?

It’s when I decided to open up to a friend that I trust.

I was so used to hiding my feelings. But my friend saw through (my pretence) and kept poking me to talk about my feelings. So, eventually, my friend helped me get through the lowest point of my life.

Q: How do you get inspiration to write and produce? Do you have tips for aspiring writers and producers?

I think inspiration is usually created. Rather than waiting for inspiration to come, I usually get inspiration along the way, as I start to create.

As musicians, we often have many projects going on at the same time. Sometimes I might learn a skill or hear something interesting, which I could incorporate into other projects. So in a way, working on different projects at once could help to get me inspired.

Q: What’s it like working as a solo artist and in a group, such as with MICappella?

I love working as a group! I had so much great time and many fond memories working with my previous bands. With more people, there’s more brain-power, thus more ideas.

As an independent artist, I have more control over the entire creative process. Whether it is the timeline, or the content I am producing. But all this control also comes with its own set of difficulties, more responsibilities and a heavier workload. I also need to muster more confidence and be able to make decisions by myself.

Q: What was the toughest problem you’ve had to face in your career?

I wouldn’t say it’s a problem, but I really wish to have a close music community. I started to pursue my music production career rather late, so I did not have a community of friends to learn and work with.

This was particularly evident when I came back from the US after my studies. A lot of the time I was working alone, it really made me reminisce about my school days where we could share information and improve on our craft together.

But finding this community of friends does take time, so I’m sure that as long as I’m open to meeting new people, I will be able to find this community.

Q: Do you sing in the shower?

Yes! I will practise singing my own songs. Showering goes together with music! I also really like listening to jazz radio stations. So when the DJ plays a song I like, I will sing along.

Q: What is the best advice you’ve been given?

Be yourself. Do what you want to do. Release the songs you want to release because there are just too many factors that we can’t control.

Q: If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?

I would like to change how people consume music. In order for one’s music to be heard, a musician needs to either blow it up on TikTok or find ways to get the song onto playlists.

To me, this makes the music making process less authentic. Because it is less about wanting to spread a good or meaningful message, but more about the numbers.

If your song doesn’t captivate listeners in the first five seconds, even if the song has a meaningful message, the world no longer has the patience to listen to it.

Q: What is your life’s theme song?

My life’s theme song would be my original “My Little Kingdom 渺小的王国”.

We all have our own little kingdom’s in our heart. As we grow older, time and experience will shape our kingdom in ways we can’t fathom. One day we even fight and find ourselves lost in our own world. We will truly shine when we find our purest truest self, the foundation of our kingdom.

Listen to The Lee Ein Ein Playlist on KKBOX

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