Astro Talent Quest alumni release new EPs
With notable judges and established singers like Jay Chou, Wong Lee Hom, S.H.E and JJ Lin on the show, Astro Talent Quest (ATQ) is arguably one of the most competitive singing competitions in the country.
The annual singing competition has become a successful starting platform for singers such as Nicholas Teo and Vincent Chong, and more recently ATQ alumni Nicole Lai and Sean Kho who were in Kuching for a one-night performance at the Boulevard Shopping Mall on Sept 26.
Despite having a tight schedule while in town, they both took some time off to talk to the local press at the Imperial Hotel lobby lounge in the afternoon.
Dressed impeccably in a bright orange jumpsuit and still rocking her signature pixie cut, Nicole shared that she recently released a new extended player (EP).
The EP is called ‘I deserve happiness’, which is also the name of her first track title.
It took her about one and half year to prepare for this comeback.
According to Nicole, she carefully handpicked and compiled the songs after listening to many demos.
“I wanted the songs which people could easily identify as my songs,” Nicole said.
Besides ‘I deserve happiness’, ‘I want to know who he is’ and ‘The time tug of war’ also made the cut.
Each song carries a different message as the first track is an inspirational song, while ‘I want to know who he is’ is a sad love song. The last track is about determination.
“I am hoping to be able to release a full-length album in the future. But I will be taking my time, step by step to achieve that,” Nicole said.
Additionally, she also hoped to perform a huge-scale music show or ceremony one day.
“In the same time I would not limit myself to any kind of possibility. I would still continue to learn and improve myself,” she said.
Hailing from Kuala Lumpur, the 26 year-old beauty also took second runner up in Taiwan Million Star 2013.
“Without realising it, I have been in the entertainment industry for more than three years,” said Nicole, reflecting on her achievements so far. “I still have a lot to learn and I hope that I can continue to express my love of music.”
To her, music and happiness are two simple things. “I just simply sing and happily express my music. I believe through music and song I can tell my story.”
Nicole has visited Sarawak numerous times over the course of her singing career, but this recent trip was a special one.
“It is just coincidental that this time I come here to Kuching during the moon cake festival so I think this trip is quite memorable,” she said, adding that she would light a lantern to celebrate the day.
While Sarawak is famous for its kolo mee, Nicole has her own distinct taste buds.
“Every time I come here to East Malaysia, I always look for ‘midin’. It is so delicious!”, she stated as she mentioned that the wild vegetable cannot be found back in KL.
Thanks to his impressive vocal and boy band-worthy good looks, Penang-born Sean was one of the crowd’s favourites in last year’s ATQ, although he took second place.
That didn’t stop him from pursuing his dreams in music, however, as his new single called ‘Hear, Love’ is just the start of what he hopes he will be a long, successful music career.
Since he is relatively new in the local music scene, Sean said he will work hard to put himself out there so more people would recognise him.
“Then I will see if I can make my own music – preferably something that is not mainstream. Personally I love listening to indie songs,” he said.
The young singer is also hoping to venture into international music scenes in the future.
“But I think it is everybody’s dream to be internationally known for your music.”
The 21 year-old vocalist opined that if one can make it outside the country, their musical style will perhaps have changed to suit the international market. “I think so because the more experiences you have, the more it would change your life’s perspective.”
Sean’s favourite singers include Korean pop band ‘Big Bang’ and renowned Hong Kong singer Eason Chan.
“You can learn different things from these musicians since everyone has their own style,” Sean shared. “Honestly, I am the type of person who cannot express well my emotion through words. Through music, I am able to put my emotion into the songs and express them.”
This is his second trip to Sarawak; his first being Boulevard’s New Year’s day showcase.
“The last time I was here I did not have much free time to explore the city but I find Kuching is a chill and relax city. You don’t feel the rush here,” he said.
Here are more photos of the photogenic singers: