You might have heard of Ling Kai, the YouTube sensation from Singapore who chalked up over a million hits for a clip of her singing an original composition in her bedroom. It led to her signing up with an Australian record label and releasing an EP.
That was over 4 years ago. That original clip which gave her her 15 minutes of fame topped out at 1.2m hits, and at last check, most of her clips get an average of 3,000 hits. So what has Ling Kai been up to?
Thankfully she’s still working hard plugging away. I heard her live for the first time last weekend at a special event held at the Arts House.
“One Dream” is the brain child of Peter Ong, who runs his own consultancy company. It’s a contest for Singapore students to win a cash prize of $5000 to make their dreams a reality. There will be 6 to 24 prizes in all, depending on the generosity of sponsors. Guiding them along will be experienced mentors, which is probably a good idea considering the young age of the students.
But the youth is also their strength, where their dreams and thoughts are free and unconstrained by the apparent harsh realities of life. The guidelines give the contestants lots of space to express themselves, I’m pretty curious as to what will come up.
Back to Ling Kai. She was approached by Peter to lend her voice and music to the initiative, and the result was the “One Dream” song.
The One Dream event was an official launch of the album, which will be sold at Starbucks starting this Friday. 100% of the gross proceeds go towards the initiative i.e. Ling Kai and her team (producer, videographer, band etc) are doing this pro bono.
This being a free-seating event, I plonked myself in the front row right next to the videographer, to the obvious discomfort of my rather shy friends. I’ve watched a couple of her YouTube clips before but watching her live was a different experience all together.
She’s got a raspy voice and emotes well, though she rarely ventures out of her comfort vocal zone. I could sit there and let her soothing voice wash over me for hours. Together with her band of three dudes, they’re called Ling and the Kings.
Between her songs, she’d banter with the audience easily like the seasoned pub singer that she is. Which I think must be a great learning journey for her, exactly what the Beatles did decades ago. Her sincerity and passion for singing shone through. I’m actually quite envious that she’s doing what she obviously loves so much.
The small (I blame the thunderstorm for the lower-than-expected turnout) but appreciative crowd got her out for a couple of encore songs, and before you know it, the concert’s over.
I bought 4 CDs. Wonder who I should give them away to?
Ling Kai has great potential, what a raw gem. I’ll be following her progress closely, hopefully she can follow in the footsteps of Tanya Chua (but she’ll have to polish her Mandarin first!).