'I keep going back to music'
In the first of our Levi's four-part series on local women in music, we catch up with Singapore Idol 2 singer Gayle Nerva
Nearly a decade has passed since multitalented actress, host and singer Gayle Nerva emerged a Top 12 finalist in local singing competition Singapore Idol 2 in 2006.
Today, the 26-year-old is still doing what she loves with the same passion and drive.
This year, the bubbly entertainer landed a supporting role in long-running Channel 5 drama Tanglin and featured on the recent SEA Games album Songs Of The Games.
She also showed off her vocal prowess at the Celebrate SG50 countdown concert and past National Day Parade performances.
And she is still making waves in the music scene with her self-penned single Pretend, which was released in August.
For Nerva, her journey in the entertainment industry has only just begun. Next year she'll be part of school outreach programme *SCAPE Invasion Tour, in which musicians perform at schools.
You held your first solo concert last month at the Esplanade as part of the Singapore Street Festival. What was that experience like?
I brought the audience through my personal journey through music, playing an equal mix of original songs and covers that have shaped important moments in my life or influenced me. I sang songs about boys that I wrote when I was 17, like Promise To Remember Me and California Love. I also sang Everywhere (by US singer Michelle Branch) because it was thanks to her that I felt spurred on to pick up the guitar. Then there was Beautiful Disaster (by American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson) that I sang when I was competing in Singapore Idol 2.
You are currently starring in Tanglin Previously, you hosted several children's TV programmes and starred in local musical TV series The Kitchen Musical. What are some of the challenges of acting compared to singing?
I play the fun, playful and at-times ditzy (job-seeker and part-time pilates and yoga instructor) Suzanne, the girlfriend of Christopher (played by James Seah), who belongs to the colourful Tong family. When it comes to acting, there can be dramatic scenes, especially when fighting, quarrelling and crying are involved. Crying on cue is new to me so I really have to practise that on my own. It's not easy at all!
Did you have any reservations about pursuing a music career full-time?
You need to be sustainable as an adult but the reality is that a career as a musician is not a lucrative job, especially in Singapore. I wanted to be a teacher but I kept going back to music. There was a time when I felt lost and didn't know what I wanted. I worked for four years at Universal Studios Singapore as a host and was earning a regular salary, went in search of my next project and got the Tanglin role. I also went back to music. I adopted the idea that you should do what you love and it will pay off as long as you are willing to work hard.
Your mother owns Da Jie Famous Wanton Mee stall at a Jalan Besar coffee shop, where your father has been helping out for the past two years. Coming from a humble background, what did they think about your plunge into showbiz?
Parents will be parents. Mine will always be concerned about my well-being but they have always encouraged me to do what I love. Be it a hawker or a singer, as long as I completed school and my job is morally sound, they are supportive. They have lent me their support from day one.
New range of Levi's for Asian women
Asian women have even more choices for jeans now, thanks to Levi's new range - Lot 700.
It features a slimmer thigh, flattering leg and contoured seat for a little lift.
The styles include the 710 Super Skinny, 711 Skinny, 712 Slim, 714 Straight and 721 High Rise Skinny, priced between $79.90 and $179.90.
Gayle Nerva told M: "I've never been really confident of my body.
"I'm considered a chubby girl in Asia and it used to be so hard to find jeans that fit well because I felt insecure about my chunky legs."
But the Levi's 712 Slim jeans changed her perception.
The stretch fabric of the mid-rise design provides comfort with a slim leg opening to give the illusion of longer legs.
"They are great, stretchy and fit so nicely. They are so comfortable that I'm wearing them twice in a row today," Nerva said with a laugh.