Music dreams, money woes
Fym Summer on the struggles of a local singer-songwriter
Although she had been accepted into prestigious music institutions such as England’s Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance and the US’ Berklee College of Music back in 2014, Miss Yumin Foo was unable to take the next step because she could not afford it.
The local singer and songwriter, whose stage name is Fym Summer, faced financial challenges and her application for a National Arts Council (NAC) scholarship was rejected.
Miss Foo, 25, told M: "I wanted to go to the overseas institutions as I'd been dreaming about it for a long time, but it was so costly and my family wasn't supportive."
Despite her father insisting she study business and not something "insubstantial" like music, she is soldiering on with her self-funded music dream.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business from the Singapore Institute of Management under an international programme with the University of London in 2013, Miss Foo worked all sorts of part-time jobs, like pushing around cadavers at a mortuary.
FROM HER HEART
She is now doing marketing administration at a software firm, drawing a monthly salary of "below $3,000".
With her savings, she managed to release her debut English-language EP, Heart, last January. Featuring five acoustic songs, it was inspired by her 15-year journey as an artist with only her passion to drive her on each day.
She has been involved in the annual NAC-organised Noise Singapore event, which provided her opportunities to perform at Timbre and Esplanade's "Featured Artist Of The Month" concert.
She has also worked with local mentors like singer-DJ Vanessa Fernandez and guitarist Randolf Arriola.
Miss Foo, who will be taking a music course at Lasalle College Of The Arts in October, recently visited the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London to gain inspiration for her next album, which she hopes to release by 2017 or 2018.
She said: "To go to a great producer to produce a song, it is easily $3,000 to $4,000... That is why a lot of people argue that the arts is only for the rich and the working class can stop dreaming." Miss Foo is hoping for more affordable music production rates and financial support from corporations, organisations and the Government to nurture local talent.
She said: "My main drive is just coming from my love of music and how it can empower... people who are weak, sad and trying to reach out to something but cannot find it."