一个人的圣诞节 and my reflections as a Chinese pop songwriter in Singapore

I’m sure most of you guys (probably my friends) would have heard of this song by now.

I wrote this song about 2 years back during my army days when I chanced upon a couple quarrelling at Dhoby Ghaut. It was the Christmas period and I thought to myself, “What happens if they decide to break up?” Immediately the inspiration came and I wrote this song when I went home. Of course, there was some form of relevance to myself as I recalled my previous experiences (I tell you, most songs are written from personal experience initially then when you become better at it, you can take inspiration from other people or other things) but yeah so that was it.

I felt that this song had potential so I approached Edwin Toh, a professional freelance music arranger to arrange the song and so that demo came out and 400 bucks flew out of my pocket as well because arrangement isn’t cheap (which is why most songwriters are damm poor) because only they believe in their works initially and they have to find everyone else to invest and believe in it also.

IMG-10936205b865-6fa5-4b09-9301-947342f20c74427c0004-c373-4080-b684-7b22faef9553

To cut a long story short, 一个人的圣诞节 has opened up many doors for me in these few years: NTU Music Express 2016 Top 10 Finalists where I met Boon Huilu (now she’s damm famous!!) and XQJR 2017 Top 10 Finalists where I asked my friends to perform with me haha.

Last Saturday, my team and I won the best melody award in FunkieMonkie’s Songwriting Bootcamp out of 60 participants and 15 teams!! This came as a huge surprise because I really didn’t expect to win anything because all along my mindset was to have fun and write good stuff! So I worked with Peilun who’s really a good singer and Dorothy and Daojie which were the other two lyricists.

WhatsApp Image 2017-12-23 at 4.07.03 PM

And also, not forgetting, this Christmas, 一个人的圣诞节 was officially released!! Leonard Lim (ex Campus Superstar finalist) sang it, with Jarius Studios producing it. Words couldn’t describe how touched and surreal I felt when I saw the MV and I guess my efforts all these years have paid off? But I wasn’t really working on becoming a songwriter all these time; I think I just like to write songs as a hobby. If people like my songs, then that probably is the best feeling I will ever get so a few pictures here!

Screen Shot 2017-12-25 at 8.11.31 PM

Screen Shot 2017-12-25 at 8.01.02 PMScreen Shot 2017-12-25 at 7.57.49 PM

Right now, I’m working on a few other song projects as well that will probably be released next year. If you ask me whether I want to become a full-time songwriter then the answer probably is no haha.

Reason is because I feel that songwriting is something which I do out of passion and if I make it my full time work, then I might get bored and jaded from doing it. Music is so important to me and I can’t bare the thought of me being burnt out from doing music and that’s why I rather pursue it as a hobby. I imagine my home next time to have a full-fledged recording studio with a grand piano yay 🙂 and on the weekends, my friends can come over to do music stuff and on the weekdays I have my normal job! I think it’s pretty cool that right now, I’m starting to make more friends in the Singapore chinese pop industry scene so I can pitch my songs out next time to recording label artists if there are ready demos.

I am excited about the future with the direction my songs are heading and I hope to continue to write music that my friends and family like!! 🙂 hoping to leave a bit of me in this world.

 

Advertisements

Internship @ Radioactive Singapore

So into my second year first semester at university, I applied and went for my first internship at Radioactive Singapore!

Basically the company produces mobile and web applications for radio streaming since nowadays no one listens to the physical radio anymore and sells their streaming services to radio stations such as Mediacorp and even to other countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. With that, the company actually has a huge database worth of streams and there are crazily a lot of data in their database (ElasticSearch)!

I remember I went there excited on my first day as I was ready to help out in whatever way I could and hopefully change the impression the boss had of undergraduates. Basically, during my previous interview with him, he felt that undergraduates were all talk and no action HAHA which I kind of agreed too sometimes like they just know how to smoke but actually if you look past the smoke you realise that they have no content.

I had to do a lot of self-learning on the job which was what I am actually very thankful for because NUS exposed me to self-learning ok not really more like they couldn’t be bothered to find good professors and in the end me and my friends always had to end up self-learning. But basically, whenever I faced a problem like my code throwing weird and random errors and other stuff my mentor just told me to google it and it helped that I was already comfortable with googling to solve problems. It then dawned upon me that the reason for this was because my mentor also might not know the solution to the problem and hence, I felt “glad” in some way because they were legit giving me issues that their company faced and that they trusted me enough to solve those problems.

Over the course of one month, I’ve learnt many things: querying in ElasticSearch, which is a noSQL database that many top companies such as AirBnb and what not uses, coding and doing exploratory data analysis in Python and also R (thankful to BT3103 for the chance to learn ShinyR), using python visualisation packages such as Bokeh and MatplotLib and also dealing with complex Json structures.

The most important thing I’ve realised is that in the workplace next time, when your bosses do not know anything about data or numbers, the only thing that they look for is your visualisation. Basically if you are like the most fantastic computer scientist ever but your visualisation is shit and boring, I would say likely the boss would not be impressed with your work. Here are some visualisations I did and during my presentation to them, they were pretty impressed with the prototypes I built.

Screen Shot 2017-12-19 at 12.51.25 PMScreen Shot 2017-12-19 at 1.04.21 PMScreen Shot 2017-12-19 at 1.40.24 PMScreen Shot 2017-12-25 at 6.30.32 PM

I will talk more about the visualisation style that is very popular nowadays and maybe roughly about the pseudo code later. So I realised that top firms and managers want always some form of interactivity, meaning that they want to be able to play with the data at their fingertips for example, if you realise in the chord diagram, the user can select the option of different dates to analyse the data. And also in the last bargraph, there are even more options such as Marker and Window Input which refers to their technical terms.

I am actually quite happy and proud of myself for being able to contribute to the company! As some of you might not know, I started taking up coding and data analytics in Aug 2016 when I first entered university and I struggled initially trying to pick programming up. I would say I am still learning now but I am definitely more comfortable than I was last year and the fact that merely one year later I can produce code like this makes me very fulfilled and I am glad that I took my dad’s advice to pick up coding. I probably will talk about this in another post but I almost didn’t wanna do business analytics :p

Ok oya so the pseudo code part for those of you who are wondering:

  • Link up your language with the database be it Python or R usually through a library (I used elasticsearch py) unless you wanna do REST api which is shit HAHA
  • Figure out how to get the data that you want by querying and then using lists/tuples to sieve out further
  • Use visualisation packages that are you are comfortable with, examples include Bokeh and Dash (these two are good because they work with Pandas and also they include reactivity expressions which is the interactive aspect unlike Matplotlib)
  • Process your data to fit the correct format and structure so that you can use the packages also known as data cleaning which arguably takes up the most amount of time
  • Debug debug debug debug
  • Debug debug debd debu debuu deab dead
  • Dead
  • Kidding ok but with enough perseverance you can successfully get your visualisations to be working!

To sum things up, I’ve greatly solidified my coding skills and also have a better understanding of how working outside feels like which allows me to also have a glimpse into my future working life and to be honest, it isn’t that bad after all 🙂 I enjoy what I am doing on a regular basis and I feel I am starting to really grow a passion for data and coding. In fact, I am working on a few personal coding projects and I’ve recently signed up for an account with GitHub omg life is so busy but I think I matured a lot over these few years and I know what I want to achieve in life and my direction and all that.

So that’s all for now! I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.