Showbiz: From Prema’s heart
Rising music star Prema Yin tells DENNIS CHUA she’s determined to go global
PREMA Yin’s name comes to mind when one thinks of budding Malaysian women in rock and pop today.
The award-winning 26-year-old with a soulful voice that’s been likened to Joss Stone and Anastacia, believes in writing her own music.
The youngest of four siblings (hockey players Logan and Keevan Raj are her brothers), Prema is best known for her 2009 debut album Eyo Eyo. That was the year too she graduated with an accountancy degree from Sunway University, Subang Jaya.
Eyo Eyo earned Prema four nominations at Anugerah Industri Muzik 2010: Best Musical Arrangement In A Song, Best Music Video, Best Engineered Album and Best New Artiste. It won Best Pop Song at Vima Awards 2010.
“I’m working on singles because that’s what music lovers want these days,” says Prema.
Her current hit single, Marilah, was launched in May. Its music video is directed by actor Gambit Saifullah.
Marilah was produced by Greg Henderson, who also produced her debut album. “There’s also an English version of the song titled Addicted, which has the same music video,” says Prema.
She is also promoting Superstar, a hit single she launched in June. It is part of the children’s empowerment campaign Share The Love (www.sharethelove.my), spearheaded by biscuit manufacturer Julie’s and the Dignity For Children Foundation.
The other participating singers are Jasemaine Gan, Asmidar and Izaad, Bihzhu and Lab The Rat.
Prema has also had her songs on 2crank.com, a local portal for independent and new music talents which targets sportsmen and sports fans. It is a collaboration between AirAsia founder Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, Indonesian media giant E-Live Entertainment and the Southeast Asian Basketball Association.
The self-taught keyboardist and guitarist spent two weeks in Los Angeles in May to meet and collaborate with reputable American lyricists. They included Scott Krippayne (who worked with American Idol’s Jordin Sparks), Jeffrey David and Dan Hoal (who worked with Nancy Sinatra).
“It was great getting to know them. I wrote three songs and they gave me tips to better my songwriting. I’m so grateful to them,” says Prema. “They told me the best songs have lyrics that speak from the heart.”
Prema, who will revisit her American acquaintances this November, was brought up to the sounds of Sarah McLachlan, Janis Joplin, Jill Scott, Shania Twain, Chaka Khan, Erykah Badu, Stevie Wonder and Aerosmith.
She began writing music at 13, influenced by R&B, blues, rock, soul and funk.
“These legends were all about feel, and I’ve grown to find more importance in that than anything else,” says Prema.
She firmly believes that passion drives her musical career. “If you’re passionate about it, just go all out for it,” she says.
Ideas often come unexpectedly, like when she is in the middle of routine. “I get inspired by random thoughts. Lost love and distant memories. More often than not it comes to me when I least expect it.”
Prema’s first major singing competition was ntv7’s Who Will Win. She was the overall winner in the 2005 production. “I subsequently auditioned for One In A Million 2 on 8TV, but did not make the cut.”
Prema spent three years, beginning 2006, singing with music act Aseana Percussion Unit and various musicians in the local pub scene. She also joined bands Broken View and International Groove Collective.
Prema counts Malaysian musicians Moots (Pop Shuvit), Jaclyn Victor, Collin Jensen, Simon Justin, Richard Gomez, Albert Sirimal, Jerry Felix, Mark David and Edwin Nathanial as mentors who have helped her “find her way”.
Her first single, Bleed, was launched in 2008 and reached No. 1 in the music charts of radio stations Hitz FM and Fly FM.
Prema has toured and played in Japan, Singapore, Germany, the United States, China and Thailand. She has been part of notable music festivals as Rock The World 10, Penang Jazz Festival, Sunrise Jazz Festival, Sarawak Rainforest Festival and the Singapore Arts Festival.
She performed with American singers Colbie Caillat and John Ford Coley during their visits to Malaysia three years ago.
“While I’m most at home singing in English, I’ll be creating more Bahasa Malaysia songs in my future albums. My ambition is to create a Malaysian sound that is ‘glocal’ — world-class yet appealing to local listeners,” she says, adding that it was Pop Shuvit who inspired her to think “glocal”.
Prema is currently a frontrunner in Guinness’ ArThursday Concert Contest, alongside musicians James Baum, Naked Breed, Dragon Red, CSBTEA and Rosevelt.
She performed Ain’t Got Tears, Addicted, Eyo Eyo, Blow My Mind and Superstar at the launch of the concert in Souled Out, Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur, on Aug 18.
The contest, which ends on Sept 22, is part of the annual Guinness Arthur’s Day celebration next month.
Over 132 Guinness outlets nationwide are part of the celebration, which pays tribute to the brand’s founder Arthur Guinness.
Fans can vote for two of the six artistes to perform at the Arthur’s Day Concert on Sept 23 online at facebook.com/guinnessmalaysia.
Read more: Showbiz: From Prema’s heart http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/Showbiz_FromPrema__8217_sheart/Article#.TlUtYjE98Ew.facebook#ixzz1Vy8x7eT7