Back to her roots
Indie artiste Prema Yin shows a gentler, more acoustic side to her craft, writes Subhadra Devan
INDEPENDENT singer-songwriter Prema Yin Ranee is easing off on rock music to offer a gentler side in her upcoming album.
“It’s going to be a change from my usual pop-rock to an acoustic sound that will showcase my Indian-Chinese heritage,” she said before her intimate gig at Gastro Project in Petaling Jaya late last month.
The Seremban-born artiste, once billed the rock princess of Malaysia, won the 2004 Who Will Win Malaysia Topstar reality show (by ntv7) which earned her a recording contract. However, not ready then to take on the music industry, Prema Yin took on the pub musician circuit and performed at music venues and indie get-togethers. She also joined world music outfit Aseana Percussion Unit to gain more experience.
Her route to fame came from her debut EP, Eyo Eyo, in 2009.
The title track, in Bahasa Malaysia, is a fresh, zippy song that has since seen much play on local radio stations as well as Prema Yin’s own YouTube channel (youtube.com/premayin).
The music video for Eyo Eyo gained four nominations in the 17th Anugerah Industri Muzik in 2010, while the English version was released in 2011 in the United States on iTunes and other online stores. The video was also aired on MTV Roots (MTV India) in February.
In 2011, Prema Yin also went to Los Angeles to work with producers and composers such as Scott Krippayne, Dan Hoal, The Highschoolers and Ra Domini to broaden her style. She also travelled to Europe, “to find out who I wanted to be as a musician.”
The results of all those years of experience can be heard in the 27-year-old’s new songs which are heartfelt odes to finding one’s identity, communal belonging and life experiences — not just on relationships as others of the same genre and age are wont to do these days.
She said of her debut full-length, but still untitled album: “It’s minimalistic, and the sound is pure and organic.”
This youngest of five children, whose brothers are well-known national field hockey players, started writing her own songs at 14 and is proficient on the piano and guitar.
She studied accountancy but “I always liked music”. “In fact, I got my first pay cheque for music when I was 16,” said the talented artiste who then ran full tilt into music with her family’s blessings.
She would like to enter local song competitions, such as TV3’s Muzik Muzik which honours local composers and lyricists “but I have no Malay songs on my new album,” she said with a smile.
Her album will feature her on her guitar, and she has set a June deadline for its release, “if all goes well”.
Music is Prema Yin’s chosen form of expression as it gives her “the freedom to be who I am.” As she states on her Gastro Project invite, “Music is universal. It does not know race, culture or standards.”
That evening, she wowed fans and family with songs from her upcoming album and a fun medley of Kolaveri, Gangnam Style and Do It Like A Dude (a Jessie J song).
Prema Yin also uses her music these days to highlight the needs of residents at an Orang Asli settlement in Sungkai, Trolak, accompanied with a video.
You can catch the indie singer-songwriter’s next gig at the Orang Asli Settlement in Sungkai, Trolak on April 18. Details are on her Facebook page.