Every Asian parent tends to shudder at the thought of their child pursuing anything other than the triple threat: medicine, engineering and law; especially as a full-time career.
On the other side of the spectrum, however, are parents who force their kids to take up classical music lessons as a symbol of social stature or a bragging right at family gatherings.
Despite this, the stigma surrounding music in Malaysia is still negative. Musical careers are usually associated with stereotypes such as substance abuse, wild parties, and casual sex while in reality, it is an art form worthy of appreciation.
More often than not, corporate bodies tend to look down on musicians when it comes to hiring them for formal events. It has come to a point where every musician has been offered “exposure” as a form of currency to compensate for their craft.
In reality, what you see on stage is just a tip of the iceberg – i.e. every performance is a result of years of blood, sweat and tears of the musicians perfecting their craft. We’re talking thousands of ringgit spent on lessons, gears, and rehearsal studio rentals.
In this day and age, it is unrealistic to simply rely on passion alone when pursuing music. Ideally, musicians will have to be able to lay out a plan years ahead, should they choose to pursue this field full-time.
One of the more viable options for full-time musicians is to build their reputation in the corporate and wedding industry where they can earn a decent rate. In a way, it is also more sustainable because after all, you’ll never really run out of corporate events and/or weddings.
It is not to say that writing your own music is completely out of the question. After all, there have been the likes of Yuna, Zee Avi, and Hujan, who have paved the way for local musicians to pursue international success.
All in all, looking at the sprouting talents of the local music industry, there is still hope! Just be sure to know what you want and to keep your eyes on the prize!
Article by Azliyana Azlee