When I was about 12, I realised my biggest dream was to have my original compositions be played on radio. I didn't know how to play any instruments so all of my songs were products of random humming and melodies, really really bad lyrics with no style or artistry whatsoever. I would write to magazines, even to the Aunt Agony section of Teens magazine or something telling her (or him) about this goal I had and asking them for help because magazines were my primary source of information. Social media and Youtube were non-existent then, I was fully aware that it was near impossible to achieve that goal, but I guess you had little to lose when you're 12.
I lost that "just try, won't die" gusto as I got older. I turned 14 and suddenly I had an immense sense of shame. My skin got thinner, and thinner, and thinner, and I just stopped wanting. I still sang, and wrote, and picked up the guitar, largely within the confines of my bedroom. But I stopped wanting.
I think for 8 years, singing/writing/performing were things I did just to feel that I have something to call my own. I wasn't good at anything. My friends could draw, run, write, dance, so music was my thing. But I didn't want to be 'known'. I didn't want my songs to be on radio. I was contented with playing covers to people who just happened to be at the cafe I was playing at, simply because I didn't believe that the goals I set for myself at 12 were possible.
You know how musicians frequently cite the story of hearing their song on radio for the first time and how magical it was? That didn't happen to me. When I first heard 'Skin' on radio, I was nit-picking at all the things I would have done differently. I remember immediately messaging Leonard to ask how we could fix the track so that it sounds fuller on radio. I guess that happens when you've been listening to your recordings repeatedly for 10 months. You grow numb to it. You become desensitised to the entire 'experience'. I thought I'd tear holding the physical EPs in my hands for the first time. I didn't. I was happy at how well they turned out, but it came from a place of "phew, money well spent", rather than "shit, this is my FIRST EP and it is in my hands."
Planning for the EP launch was a painful process. I had a lot of help, but self-doubt is a powerful and destructive force. There were money concerns, misunderstandings, miscommunication. I had to put myself out there on social media excessively, which I am not a big fan of. It was eating into my soul. I was tired. I was frustrated. And I did question myself, what is the POINT of an EP launch anyway? I'll admit I felt that way up to the day of the launch.
Now, this sounds cheesy as cheesy gets. But when you guys sang along to my songs last Friday at the EP launch, all the numbness, the skepticism, the worries, the anger, the fatigue literally vanished. My heart felt light all of the sudden, when I heard people harmonising to "now you're my skin..." When you guys cheered knowing my next song was 'Shame on You'... everything else didn't matter. It was just me and you, in close vicinity, me wanting to sing, and you wanting to listen. That was the point. At the end of 'Cannonball' (rockstar line: "you guys sounded beautiful"), I realised I want more. I want to keep writing music. I want to keep singing. I want to keep learning. I want to keep sharing with anyone who would listen.
Thank you for re-instilling that sense of 'wanting' in me. I never thought I'd say this, having spent most of my teenage and young adult years being extremely cynical, pessimistic, skeptical (still kinda am), but dreams do come true.
And I couldn't ask for more.
15/05/2015 Jaime Wong Debut EP Launch
PC: Tan Yan Long