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Froya

Froya

Meet singer-songwriter from Kuala Lumpur, Michelle Lee aka Froya.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Michelle Lee and I’m a self-produced singer-songwriter/performer under the moniker – Froya. By day, I work as a full-time music composer for TV commercials & film at a studio. It is kind of a blessing to be able to make a living with my passion and in return, can continue to support my dream of doing creative work as a music producer for my own passion projects.

 

Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.

I grew up in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah but now I’m based in Kuala Lumpur – The heart of Malaysia. To me, Kuala Lumpur is more like a concrete jungle compared to the place where I came from. Back in my hometown, it was just a few minutes drive to get to the beach or jungle and the mountains are not far from sight too. Kuala Lumpur is the opposite of that, but it offers more of a vibrant, modern, youthful and colorful lifestyle.

 

To me, the rhythm of this city can sometimes manifest its good and the bad side. On a good day, the city drives me a lot and it has the vibe to keep me on my feet. On a bad day, its rigidness and chaoticness can drive me up the wall.

What is the best and worst thing about living in your city?

To me, the rhythm of this city can sometimes manifest its good and the bad side. On a good day, the city drives me a lot and it has the vibe to keep me on my feet. On a bad day, its rigidness and chaoticness can drive me up the wall.

 

Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.

“Thriving”, “fulfilling” yet “challenging”

 

How did you start your career in art?

I’ve always questioned what kind of work I would like to do for the rest of my life. Deep down I know I wanted to create something that I could call my own and contemporary music or songwriting let me do that. After my music degree, I was fortunate enough to get a job as a full-time music composer which fulfilled the aspects of creativity I craved. “Froya” came much later when I finally felt like I had something to put out over the years of writing a collection of songs. After my first few releases, I was really lucky to get more and more gigs performing as Froya.

 

I’ve always questioned what kind of work I would like to do for the rest of my life. Deep down I know I wanted to create something that I could call my own and contemporary music or songwriting let me do that.

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

Both my parents are graphic designer themselves, and I guess there wasn’t much of an objection or resistance against me on wanting to pursue music. In fact, both of them were really supportive of my decision. My dad, also a creative himself, shed some light about succeeding in the art scene (I think it’s applicable to anything we do really) is to be persistent and persevere until the end.

 

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?

There are so many possibilities and angles that I want to take for future music directions but I think whatever it is, the most important thing is that it needs to come from an honest place. My core of creating music has always been about self-discovery, self-improvement and soul searching. As I get older, I don’t feel like there is an urge to compete for anything other than making music to express my inner self and explore the possibilities of my creativity.

 

There are so many possibilities and angles that I want to take for future music directions but I think whatever it is, the most important thing is that it needs to come from an honest place.

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?

Imogen Heap. She has inspired me tons in becoming an innovative female music producer, I have so much respect for her contributions towards music. Would be nice if we could collaborate or chat about music one day.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

Growing up, I had the opportunity to make friends and hang around with women of all ages. I particularly look up to older women with admirations because I can often sense their resilience for what they’ve been through. What makes them memorable isn’t their appearance, but their shining inner quality, strength & composures.

 

What makes them memorable isn’t their appearance, but their shining inner quality, strength & composures.

Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?

The one that sticks out to me is Jennifer Thompson. She was my lecturer in my music business class back in college and I genuinely feel that she’s there to nurture the future creative youth. Miss Jennifer is one of the leading advocates for our music industry, constantly looking out for the welfare of local musicians. Whether you’re a new band starting out or an established band, if you have an upcoming gig, she’ll be the first few people to spread the news about it. She has been providing the best platform possible, guidance and guidelines to our local musicians and industry, truly an amazing and wholesome woman!

 

Are there any challenging aspects of being a female in your industry?

I can only speak from my own experience. from what I can see, our local industry is becoming more and more supportive of women in the field. Opportunities are there but the real challenge is if we are ready when opportunity knocks on the door.

 

I’ll probably share the same advice my dad gave me – to be persistent and persevere until the end.

Do you have any advice to young women who are aspiring to work in your field?

I’ll probably share the same advice my dad gave me – to be persistent and persevere until the end.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Froya

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