Yesterday, we spent a couple of minutes in the city with the extraordinarily talented and rising star behind the “Everything in the World” album, Wanting Qu. Mere minutes prior to meeting her, we realized how unprepared we were, and not because we didn’t have any questions – we had too many!
But we managed to narrow it down to just a handful of burning ones that we had for the girl who’s about to rock up to Stage KL tomorrow (17th November 2012, Saturday), and connect with her loving fans in Malaysia for the very first time. Gotta make it count, right?
Hi Wanting! So good to finally meet you. How’re you? And how’re you liking Malaysia so far?
“So far so good. We went to the Twin Towers yesterday and Chinatown. I had Indian food last night – I love Indian food!”
Malaysia, we’re all about food. That aside, with regards your tour, what were you most excited about?
“Aside from playing music and performing? Knowing that I’m going to meet my fans and going to countries that I’ve never been to, that’s the coolest part. To know that I can use my music as a tool for me to travel around the world and do all of this..”
Were you surprised to find out that you had such a big following here? You know, like, wow you have a Malaysian fan base!
“That’s something I’m very touched about. I’ve never actually, really..thought it through. I’ve never thought about the outcome or what it’s going to be like. I mean, when I write songs, I never think too much about it. I just express myself – I write the lyrics, then I play the piano, I sing them out loud, and then I record them. But what comes after that or out of that..and great things have come out of that, I’m really thankful. And happy.”
If you weren’t doing this, singing and song writing, what do you think you’d most likely be doing?
“(laughs) Probably a figure skater? Or a dummer, or a ping pong player, or playing CounterStrike at tournaments. I play CounterStrike really well! I didn’t even think that I’d be that good at it until I met my first boyfriend. He was such a gamer and I felt like, okay if I want to communicate with him, I play CounterStrike – but I ended up being better at it than him. I played CounterStrike from 2001 till 2007 and I was really good at that time, that a Los Angeles all-girl team contacted me and invited me to play (with them) at tournaments in the US but I said no. I wanted to focus on my music first.”
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What’s your songwriting process like? We see you on YouTube just playing music like it comes so naturally for you but which one usually comes first – the melody or the lyrics?
“Most of the time, both the melody and the lyrics fall into place together. What I do is..I would take a moment in my day and sit in front of the piano. Then I start to sing and play, and come up with the lyrics at the same time. But that moment is crucial like, it has to be building up to me wanting to express myself because there’s stuff going on or stuff happened. I need to feel like okay, I gotta say something.”
Pray tell, what are some of the challenges that you’ve faced as a new-ish artiste and what is the most common misconception about you?
“That’s a really good question! I think that a lot of people are still unaware that I’m a songwriter – I write my own songs and I compose my own music. I’m not just a singer and I’m not a singer-songwriter who can only write music with a group of other people. I’m not that. I can write on my own. All I need is a piano or a guitar and I can do it all on my own. Also, to lots of people, they think that my voice is very unique but to me, a lot of people out there that have better voices and they sing songs better than I do. So to call me a singer, I feel like that doesn’t really define me. Singer-songwriter, that’s who I am. That’s probably one of the biggest misconceptions about me, that I’m a new singer out of China within the last three months. It could be because they just heard about me or about my music. I literally started to exist only after they’ve heard about me. But the fact is, I’ve always been this. A singer-songwriter.”
One of the platforms that connected you with the world is YouTube and these days, YouTube is a very good place for aspiring musicians, to get their stuff out there. Malaysia is rich with talents but a lot of young ones are still very shy about uploading their work on YouTube. What advice would you give to Malaysians who’d like to someday be just like you?
“I have to say that if you want something to happen, you have to create that buzz and you need to work towards it. You can’t be anybody if you don’t want people to know who you are. Open your door, let other people see you, share your music, and share your stories. Use YouTube as a platform – in fact, utilize everything. When I was in Canada, the internet was the only thing I could utilize. I put lots of stuff on YouTube and multiple Chinese websites because they can’t access the platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter) that we can. I did double the work because I had to also upload my stuff onto platforms in China. If I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t have gone anywhere. If you’re going to be shy about your work or modest about yourself then, people are never going to find out about you. People usually look at where the buzz is – so make them get excited about your work! Be ambitious, be driven, be brave and strong.”
We know what you’re thinking – Wanting is as talented as she is honest and inspiring. Much love and respect for the girl who wasn’t afraid to be heard! Thank you for taking time to speak to us, Wanting. We can’t wait to see you perform live at Stage KL tomorrow night!
Special thanks to our friends from Universal Music Malaysia for making this happen.