Violinist, entrepreneur, performer, artiste, actor, this dude has got it all. Much more so when he released his single, “Gotcha Style” recently. Beyond impressed, we knew we had to speak to him. So last week, he dropped by for a quick lunch with us and told us all about his latest projects, as well as what’s in the pipeline.
We hear that he might have a new single with a certain gorgeous Miss Malaysia coming up! But what say we let Dennis tell you all about it:
Hi Dennis! Great to be speaking to you. Tell us about “Gotcha Style”. How did the idea come about?
“There are a lot of elements that contribute to Gotcha Style. First and foremost, in everything that you do be it writing, designing, making music, or playing the violin, you’re bound to have your own style. And there’s always someone who’s bound to criticize your style. Gotcha Style is to remind people that you shouldn’t be afraid to have or show your own style.”
We noticed the awesome wardrobe selection in the music video and we hear that Malaysian designer, Bernard Chandran was the man behind it all. Tell us a little bit more about that.
“Good outfits for a music video is a must! I thought Bernard Chandran was the best person to go to for this. I wrote the entire production with him in mind! I was there when he launched Area 27 and it was amazing. I thought it’d be great to combine Bernard’s Area 27 brand with my music video.”
Okay, and here’s what we think most people would want to know – did you get to keep the clothes?
“Yes but only my outfit. He made everything from scratch for me and my dancers though. He’s a super busy guy so to get hold of him and to get him to get everything done in such a short time frame, it wasn’t easy. He created a total of 12 outfits in three weeks! But I gave him references such as my music and mood boards to work with.”
Now that you’ve gotten “Gotcha Style” out of the way, what’s the next big thing for you?
“I just did Hantu Gangster but I’m currently looking at other movie offers. Also, I’m planning my next single with Soo Wincci, Miss World Malaysia 2008. She’s a really hardworking girl and I really admire her. It’d be great to work on a song with her.”
Did you think that you would come to this point today, you know, acting in blockbuster Malaysians movies, releasing a single, or working with Bernard Chandran?
“Definitely not. I’ve never set goals for myself like, five-year goals or 10-year goals. I tend to set yearly goals for myself like, for this year, I told myself that I’ll release a music video and I did. My next goal is to release a Chinese single.”
We caught your performance at the Charles & Keith Summer 2012 launch not too long ago. Now, here’s the question though, is that still your primary focus?
“Performing is still my main asset, so to say. But as a whole, I’d prefer to be a creator in all the art/craft forms that I do. I want to diversify as much as I can.”
What’s your fondest memory of being an artiste, say, an exceptional fan or fan moments that you’ve encountered?
“I work with Yuri and Jimmy closely so..there was this particular someone from the US who sent each one of us presents. Jimmy got a saxophone pendant, Yuri got a replica of a guitar, and I got some ties from my shows. She initially contacted me on Facebook and now we’ve become friends. She would text me off and on again, it’s very encouraging.”
Now, we know that there are probably a lot of artistes that more often than not find themselves having to deal with this. How do you deal with haters?
“In whatever that you do, there will always be people who are simply out there to put you down. But you just gotta keep believing in yourself. Also, you need to ensure that the quality of whatever you put out is topnotch. When haters get you down, just remember that it’s a blessing that there are people who have been with you from the very beginning.”
What are your thoughts of the common misconception that the Malaysian industry is weak and that it’s not a suitable career path?
“I honestly think that Malaysia is still a very good platform to explore because we’re more laidback and musicians/artistes are given leeway to express whatever they want to via their music. The reality is that our market is very small. You just really need to focus on how you want to make a living in the Malaysian music industry. Figure out if you want to do it via shows, or by getting involved with the Malay market, or if you should venture into the mass market.”
So, what would you change about the music industry if you had the power to do so?
“I wish there was more guidance in the music industry. Such as a proper record label who wouldn’t exploit artistes or provide training to the artistes under their label. The industry lacks that right now and a little bit of that can make a huge difference.”