Froya, the star of Guinness’ Amplify Curates.
Michelle Lee, also known as Froya, entered the local indie music scene in late December 2011. Possessing a unique style of music which encompasses and blends a variety of genres ranging from folk to electronica, Froya’s music can best be described as eclectic with a tinge of bittersweet quirky folk and a hint of indie pop.
In 2012, she released her first single “Fries in Cream” which topped the charts at #1 for 14 weeks on Hitz.FM. The single also gained airplay on Women of Substance, a radio based in Los Angeles, USA and other local radio stations. Throughout her musical career so far, Froya has a number of international collaborations under her belt.
These collaborations include “Loan You My Eyes” with Lithuania DJ/Producer, Part Of Me. The single was signed by Love Harder Records based in Germany and a remix package was then released. She also collaborated on “The Heartbreak Song” with Australian DJ, Smile On Impact. The track quickly became #1 on Australia’s biggest radio station – Triple J Unearthed.
Apart from collaborating with international acts, Froya has also opened for various international artistes including US-based indie duo Wye Oak, UK singer-songwriter Jo Hamilton, and Melbourne-based soul singers Charlie Lim and Gabriel Lynch. She’s also played at numerous music festivals including Good Vibes Festival 2014, Festival Belia Putrajaya 2014, Yayasan Sime Darby Art Festival 2014, Singapore Baybeats Music Festival 2013, Urbanscapes Music Festival 2012, and Penang Island Jazz Festival 2012.
In 2014, Guinness Amplify selected Froya to be a featured artiste on their “Made of More Campaign” 2014, which saw her tour in Johor Bahru and Penang, gaining a stronger fan base around the country. This year, Froya will be launching her debut album “Panic Bird” during the “Guinness Amplify: Curates” show, which she is of course, headlining.
In conjunction with Guinness Amplify: Curates – an extension of the highly successful Guinness Amplify Music Made of More, we recently sat down with Froya for a quick chat.
Here’s what went down:
Hi Froya, how are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi! I’m good, thanks. Well, my real name is Michelle Lee and I’ve been writing songs since I was 19. I’ve always been interested in songwriting, way much into production and arrangement back then before I got into singing. Given my passion for music, I decided to study music for a bit, got my degree, then I started working as full time music composer so I write music for TV commercials. By day, I’m a composer for TV commercials and by night, I’m Froya.
That’s interesting. What would you say are some of the biggest challenges you face as a local artiste?
Oh hmm…wow, this is new. I would say funding is one of the biggest challenges I face. From travelling to perform, to paying my musicians, for my own photoshoots – makeup, styling and all that, it’s not cheap so funding is a problem. Also, I think local artistes need a better platform. But I must say, it’s been really encouraging because it’s growing here and the platforms are getting bigger and bigger like Guinness Amplify, Urbanscapes, and a lot more.
And if you could change ONE thing about the local music scene, what would it be?
One thing… I don’t even know if there’s anything I would change. This is a really good question. Personally, I would like the audience to be a little more engaging when us musicians are performing. It’s very encouraging when we have the audience dance or sing along with us.
Speaking of musical platforms, how does it feel to be selected as the headliner for “Guinness Amplify: Curates”?
I can’t thank them enough, honestly. I’m incredibly honoured and I feel so lucky to have been selected to headline the show and to also showcase my album during the show. It’s surreal and I really, can’t thank them enough.
You mentioned your album. We understand that it will be your debut album and it’s entitled “Panic Bird”. Could you tell us a little more about it – what inspired the whole album?
“Panic Bird” tells a story of the struggle a small town girl faces in a big city. It’s about me, moving to Kuala Lumpur from KK and often I feel, a little lost in this big city. Like a “Panic Bird”, I try to look for directions, look for a safety net so yeah, I think I’ll never be happy if I can never find a place to call my own and that’s what the album is all about.
The album features 11 tracks – which one is your favourite and why?
“Dawn” is my favourite. It’s happier and more cheerful than the rest. “Dawn” is also the last track I wrote on the album and it shows what I am going to do in the next album, which diverts away from folk – not so much electronic but I am open to and will be experimenting a lot more.
Last but not least, what is your advice to aspiring musicians?
To never give up. It’s not an easy journey, it’s easier said than done, but you must never give up.
Thank you Froya! It was really lovely talking to you.
Thank you so much.
Froya will be headlining Guinness Amplify Curates on April 11th and she will be supported by other local acts including Jumero, 2DB and Rozella Marie.
Event details are as follows:
Event: Amplify Curates: Froya
Date: 11th April (Saturday)
Time: 8pm onwards
Venue: The Bee, Publika
Admissions: Free. RSVP at Amplify. First 50 guests gets a copy of Froya’s debut album “Panic Bird.
For more information, visit the Guinness Amplify microsite.