Updated: Dec 21, 2020
Ywenna is a highly accomplished performer, undertaking the roles of a jazz pianist and a soulful vocalist. Her wide repertoire of songs spans across various genres of jazz, pop, rock, soul, funk and more. You may have seen her on international stages with well-known artistes and musicians around the world such as Australia's Jamie Wilson, Malaysian Idol winner Jaclyn Victor, Asia's best drummer Lewis Pragasam, Japanese flutist John Kaizan Neptune, and many more. Together with her band, “Tokyo Blue”, they have released two instrumental albums. They have also toured in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Korea, Australia and South Africa.
This month, we are excited to have Ywenna share and inspire us on how she still managed to stay active in the performance scene through her virtual performances held online. We also took the opportunity to chat with her about the success and struggles of being a musician and how technology has changed the way the industry operates.
SL: How did you manage to transit into performing virtually from physical performances?
Ywenna: The transition from physical performances to virtual gigs was not swift. I am fortunate to receive help from The Livestream Co. and a capable livestream production team from Merry Bees. They have, in a very short time learnt how to convert physical events to virtual events.
The format of virtual performances are very different from physical performances. Hence, I have to adapt to the new future by learning how to interact with audiences through live chats and also work with camera angles. Only through the assistance of these capable people in the industry that I managed to transit into virtual performances smoothly.
SL: Did you know all along since you were young that you were going to do music full time? Ywenna: Music had been always my calling since I was young but I never knew I could make music performance my full time career. However, being in the music industry, whether as a music teacher, concert pianist, or arranger had always been my childhood dream.
SL: Are there any qualifications required to be a full time musician?
Ywenna: Music, art or the design industry are unique fields where certification and paper qualifications don't usually translate to actual capabilities of the performer or individual. One would argue that having enough experiences, guidance and musical sense would mean better future in music field. A balance of both paper qualifications and tones of performance experiences would be perfect.
SL: How did COVID-19 impacted you economically, physically and mentally?
Ywenna: I have not been able to work since circuit breaker started in April 2020 and this had affected my income, which led to tremendous mental-stress and self-doubt.
These were felt by most of us in the industry. Many musicians tried pivoting and some have also changed jobs to making ends meet. Performing virtually was the closest thing I could do to survive and keep myself sane during this period.
While I won’t be giving up on music just yet, there were definitely dark moments where I have thoughts that perhaps I would be better off working in other fields.
SL: Any tips for the newcomers into the industry, as freelancers?
Ywenna: While pursuing your passion is important, it is important to own other skills that will help you achieve your goals. A balance of constant learning and accumulated experience would make your musical journey a long one.
We would like to thank Ywenna for her time to sit in with us.
If you would like contact Ywenna for virtual live music performances, please drop her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on her instagram at @ywennamusic.
Interviewed by ShiLi Yap (email@example.com)