To many, venturing abroad is a daunting thought, but to singer, Jeremy Teng; he knew it was something he had to do to be successful
By: Heidi Chan and Hilmi AK
Confucius said, “choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” Many young Singaporeans pursuing a career in the entertainment industry are finding it hard to live by that quote. In fact, many of these Singaporeans are flocking abroad for a chance to be heard and recognized on an international platform.
Jeremy Teng, 21, is the example of a Singaporean who has made it abroad. Having won the Nodojiman The World singing competition in Japan in 2014, Jeremy has also competed in well-known competitions shortly after such as Super Idol as well as The Voice of China; with him being the first Singaporean to compete.
The Catch team was lucky enough to clinch an interview him about his thoughts about his singing career and competitions.
To start, at what age did you start joining local singing competitions?
I was about 15 when I started joining singing contests.
Throughout the time when you were joining local singing competitions, you regularly posted videos of yourself singing on YouTube. Would you say that this has helped you in terms of practice and exposure?
Yes, I would say that posting covers on YouTube has helped me quite a lot. I managed to find some sort of validation with my skills online when people would comment, “you sound good”. I actually found out that I could do something with my hobby.
How was the experience being there and winning the Nodojiman The World Competition in Japan?
When I was invited there, it was kind of nerve wrecking because only when I reached Tokyo did I realize that the other participants were pretty established singers themselves. They have albums, some sort of presence or following in japan. Having to know that I was competing against them made me feel anxious.
I didn’t really expect to win because by being invited to join the completion was already a privilege, as I was able to represent Singapore there. When it came to the moment when I won, I was pretty shocked because I thought that it couldn’t be. It was really very surprising and people were really very encouraging there (Japan). It’s an extraordinary experience because it was my first time going overseas, joining a singing contest.
So from the Nodojiman competition you were then invited to compete in Super Idol in Taiwan right?
Jeremy at Nodojiman The World
Right but I must to say that they weren’t related. I just felt pretty lucky that I got another stage to compete outside. When I asked the producers in Taiwan, they didn’t notice my achievement in Japan.
If you don’t mind me asking, I believe you needed to find sponsors to bring you to Taiwan for Super Idol. What are your thoughts on Singaporean artistes who need to do this for themselves to find exposure away from home?
The competition in Taiwan was special because the show didn’t offer to pay for expenses unlike the other two shows. This Super Idol competition in Taiwan has garnered a lot of attention in Taiwan itself, which was why I wanted to go. In Singapore, people don’t really care about things like music; they are pretty empathetic about it.
The amount of exposure alone is pretty sad so if local artistes want to pursue their dreams and want to raise funds for it, it’s really difficult and you really have to prove your worth. I personally feel that there needs to be some kind of support in our local music industry because we are so small a country and a small industry. So it’ll be good if there was a support system.
I feel we do really have a lot of talents that are unscouted here as Singaporeans probably think that singing or music in Singapore is not a proper job because people have this perspective that it doesn’t earn a lot. I think people need to change their thinking, not only if you become a doctor or a lawyer then can you earn a living. What has happened to doing what you like to do? What happened to pursuing your dreams?
I believe that you were the first Singaporean to compete in The Voice of China, How would you describe your experience there? Say the differences between this and your other competitions you joined?
I would say that The Voice of China (TVC), the experience was very special. If you want me to compare among the three, TVC is pretty much the biggest contest and achievement I had. TVC is something that even locals follow if you talk about the others, (Nodojiman and Super Idol) not a lot of locals would know.
There was a lot of pressure as when news came out, I was going to National Service (NS) so I had to push back my enlistment. People were very concerned, “ hey this guy is pushing back his enlistment date for this contest is it right or wrong?” There was a lot of attention that was how it was different as I had newspapers journalist calling me asking this and that. There were more eyes on me this time around.
From doing all these competitions, what would you say is your personal achievement, besides winning, and takeaways from competing on an international stage?
I would say that it adds value to my portfolio because if you’re limited to this country, Singapore, it’s pretty hard to get a broad range of experiences. The music industry in is pretty small. It’s really important for musicians to venture out.
In terms of personal achievements, I think by joining these contests overseas, it really taught me about how different television shows work in different countries. It really gave me a better insight on working overseas. Also, you’ll be able to meet people with the same interests and build connections. You’d never know how handy connections could come in one day.
Since competing in many of these competitions I believe there has been many positive and negative responses. So how have you dealt with the amount of negativity that you’ve received?
Negative comments have been something I’ve always received and I think every singer, be it in Singapore or anywhere else have received negative feedback and it’s part and puzzle of the journey. No one can please everyone. I always think about the support I’ve always had, my friends and my parents do support me and I always concentrate on that instead of the negatives.
As much as you can try to find something constructive within these negative feedbacks, there are people who are out to just watch you fall so we should just ignore them. However, it is still important to have an open mind.
Any future plans for your career or anything you’re working on right now?
I’m already enlisted in NS so I’m actually using the time in NS to think about what I want to do because there are a lot of things I want to do in life, not only singing. So I’m just using the time in NS to think about what I want to do next, I’m even thinking of pursuing a university education in Japan.
So that’s all the questions that we have. Thank you so much Jeremy for your time!
Thank you so much! Can’t wait to read your article.
For those out there wanting to see more from Jeremy, be sure to check out his Facebook page; Jeremy Teng, to keep updated.