The sky's the limit for busker and songwriter Lyla Ng
If you’ve been down to The Cathay in Orchard Road recently, you might have spotted a busker that stood out for more reasons than one.
Most notably, how young she is.
Lyla Ng, 10, a primary four pupil from Haig Girls’, has been winning hearts with her musical performances over the past eight months.
She plays a variety of instruments, including the piano and bass, and sings in both English and Mandarin.
A closer look at the girl’s background explains her musical prowess – her father is local producer and songwriter Eric Ng, who has penned songs for some of the biggest names in Asia, including Sandy Lam and Wakin Chau.
Having a musician as her father, Lyla was always amazed whenever he performed on stage. This inspired her to learn the piano at the tender age of five.
By age six, she learnt the drums and began singing. By seven, she started writing songs and learnt how to play the guitar. A year later, she went on to the bass.
“My dad always asks me whether I want to be extraordinary or ordinary,” Lyla told TNP.
“I said I want to be extraordinary because all my idols worked very hard to be extraordinary.”
Ng takes to social media to spread the word about his daughter’s gigs – TikTok (PapaAndLyla), Facebook and Instagram (LylaHZN).
Although Lyla admits that nerves sometimes get the better of her, she shared a tip from her father on how to remain calm before busking.
“It’s better to have more people than fewer, because if you have fewer people, you can see their expressions,” she said.
“For example, if one audience member isn’t (impressed), then I’ll get more scared, but when there are a lot of people, you cannot see their expressions because they are like tiny ants.”
Juggling school and music hasn’t been easy, of course, and Lyla has had to manage her time wisely.
“Normally I will do my homework first. If there’s time, I will practise my music.”
“During practice, maybe, I play new songs or revise what I'm going to do for my busking.”
Some of the songs on her repertoire are Shake It Off and Anti-Hero by Taylor Swift, one of Lyla’s favourite singers, along with Olivia Rodrigo (she is currently learning how to play and sing Vampire).
@tnpdigital Lyla Ng, 10, daughter of local songwriter Eric Ng, has been winning hearts with her busking performances over the past eight months at The Cathay! 😍😍 Read more about it on our website! #sgnews #fyp #busker #busking #tiktoksg ♬ original sound - TNP
Ng has not only been supportive of her busking, but also been her driving force.
Among many other things, the 47-year-old has helped her learn to use the Pro Tools app to record and arrange her music and vocals.
To date, Lyla has written four songs. She sang her latest, Dreams Can Come True, in front of 9,000 people at the Indoor Stadium during Wakin Chau’s concert in May.
“It can take her from one week to three months to learn a new busking song,” Ng said.
“Her most memorable moment while busking was when she met Minister (of State for Culture, Community and Youth) Low Yen Ling.
“It was Lyla’s first show, and she was almost out of breath because she didn't drink water or take a break; she just kept singing. She was breathless from excitement, I guess.
“At one point, (Low) went up to speak to the crowd so that Lyla could catch her breath. She also spoke well of Lyla.”
For now, Lyla’s ambitions are clear: “I want music to be my career, and I hope I get to keep doing it.”