Pursuing The Singing Dream

By Samantha Liew, who is interested in expounding the realities of life with beautiful language. She writes in English and Chinese and has worked with the Singapore International Photography Festival and INTAPAC.

With their album Life Experiment 101 out in stores, the Freshman can now say “recording artistes” when people ask them what they are.

Something about The Freshman convinces you that star quality is now all about honesty. They tell you that life has been tough. Becoming a singer is tough and being a singer is still tough. But aren’t they happy, shiny celebrities now? “Sometimes we get people watching our every move in public. That’s alright, it comes with the job.”

The “job” is one coveted by a good portion of people out there, yet singing is generally thought to be a naive ambition. Carrie, once a marketing executive, had always wanted to be a singer. But she didn’t know how to go about it and the entertainment industry seemed particularly political and difficult. ”It was only when I started work in the corporate world that I realised every working environment is the same.”

So she joined Project Superstar II, for which the Freshman were the female champion and runner-up. While most finalists were approached by record companies, the girls faced radio silence. When they ran out of gigs to survive the wait, they took on audio production jobs to pay the bills. After two years and a slew of rejections they decided to come together as a duo and do things the indie way.

Their debut album Life Experiment 101 rides on the goodwill of sponsors, family and friends. “We always hear or read stories about how singers become singers. In reality it doesn’t pan out that way at all,” they say. “There is no magic wand. You never hear the really harsh and demoralising stories.”

“For sure things didn’t happen overnight,” Diya adds. “But neither of us could imagine doing anything else.”
So no regrets, even if they say life is definitely more difficult than before. And while fame is not something they desire, singing cannot yet support their lives.

When celebrating birthdays with their friends, they tell their friends to go ahead with dinner. “We’ll eat somewhere else then join them when they cut the cake.”

“We’re not as comfortable as before but we’re enjoying our lives, every bit of it.”

Every bit of that enjoyment can be discerned through they way they talk about their music and lyrics, and their brilliant producer Jim Lim.

“When you sing a song, you just want to get it out to as many people as possible. We’d still be doing what we’re doing, even if it’s just sharing the music online.”

This big leap of faith finally caught them the attention of Rock Records, who expressed interest in signing them on right before the launch of their album. But is this happily ever after? We hope so.

The Freshman’s debut album Life Experiment 101 is available at all major record stores.