‘Constant grind’ for Madox to juggle stage and classroom
He will sit the all-important International Baccalaureate (IB) exams from today.
But local pop singer-songwriter Toby Madox is so passionate about his craft that he has no qualms squeezing in a gig at Wala Wala Cafe Bar on Thursday night, despite having to take his language and literature paper the next day.
In fact, he is scheduled to perform two-hour solo sets every Thursday in November - the same period as the exams.
The Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) student told The New Paper: "Music fuels me and makes me feel more productive when I am studying."
Juggling school commitments with his music career, however, is a "constant grind" and it "takes a lot of grit" to balance the two.
"Sometimes I have to stop doing music for a few weeks to focus on studies and also sacrifice the time spent with my friends and on sleep," he added.
Madox, who rose to fame in 2010 as boy wonder Miguel Antonio Vedanaigam when he was 10, was discovered after a video of him singing the Les Miserables song I Dreamed A Dream in a school competition went viral.
He then went on to work with Canadian producer-composer David Foster and US pop group Black Eyed Peas member apl.de.ap.
Almost a decade down the road, Madox, who turns 19 on Saturday, dropped his latest single, 16, on Spotify, iTunes and other music streaming services last Friday.
It is the follow-up to last year's debut single Ship In A Mason Jar, ever since signing with Warner Music Singapore in 2017, and is about his nostalgic summer of 2016 involving a teenage romance.
Madox said: "16 also stands for my age because I was born in 2000.
"While I was inspired by a girl I used to like, it was more about the spirit of that summer where I had a lot of fun with friends."
And then there is the brand new stage name.
Madox - who cites Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber and Bruno Mars as his major influences - said: "I have been doing music for a while and I wanted to grow out of my 'young boy image', so I wanted something that could encapsulate my personality now, which is more fun, daring and mature.
"I decided on Toby because I wanted to pay tribute to my late grandfather Tobias.
"He died before I was born but I heard a lot of stories about him from my mother. He is a great person and a tough guy, and I aspire to be like him in some ways."
Describing music as his life, Madox said university is not a priority right now.
After his exams, he wants to concentrate on composing more songs inspired by his teen years for his EP before enlisting for national service and hopes to eventually break into the music scene in the US and Asia.
As a child, he felt that he was not confident about himself physically and mentally.
He said: "As a teenager, you get more enlightened and it starts affecting your thinking because you start questioning what is in store for you and who you are and so on.
"Over the years, I have grown out of that awkward puberty phase, and I have become more opinionated after gathering many perspectives on things.
"Everyone feels a certain way about their teenage years, and I just want to share my perspectives with everyone."