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Michelle Jeon of whirring

Michelle Jeon of whirring

Meet Singaporean music artist, Michelle Jeon of whirring

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi, I’m Michelle Jeon. Most people call me Mich. I sing and play the synths as part of whirring, with my good friend Aqid Aiman. We’re an electronic-pop duo band. I initially dabbled my feet in this project wanting nothing more than “to make good music” – now it has grown to something larger than myself, and it is really exciting. During the day, I teach in a special education school. I’m in the midst of learning how to navigate this without wearing myself out.

 

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

It’s a really safe and clean country. I appreciate that very much. But I would also say there is a backdrop of weariness and dread in the air. A lack of color. Some may disagree with me, but I think many people here move with drive and purpose, but not necessarily with passion.

 

I initially dabbled my feet in this project wanting nothing more than “to make good music” – now it has grown to something larger than myself, and it is really exciting.

 

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

The best thing is how easily we can get from one place to another. Like if I hear there’s a show happening somewhere an hour from now, I know I can be there on time. With public transport. I think that’s pretty cool. The worst part is that… there is a lot of repression going on. I believe it takes a toll on all of us. 

 

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

Collaboration, Authenticity, Stories.

 

How did you start your career in art?

I’ve picked up the guitar when I was 10 and played in bands here and there. I always preferred the supportive role of an instrumentalist. Making things sound better, without the pressure of being in the spotlight. The turning point for me was deciding to create music as whirring with Aqid. It became sort of a safe space for us to explore different ways of expressing and creating, and also making a ton of mistakes, learning, all that. We are still growing and its been fun and frightening at the same time.

 

The turning point for me was deciding to create music as whirring with Aqid. It became sort of a safe space for us to explore different ways of expressing and creating, and also making a ton of mistakes, learning, all that.

 

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

Yes and no. They are along the lines of “make music, but don’t let it threaten your livelihood.” It is not particularly encouraging, but I take it that they are concerned for me. And that even if they are truly excited and supportive, they may not know exactly how they can show genuine support or ‘be part’ of it. My parents especially. They seem quite nonchalant on the surface, but I know that they support me as long as the decisions I make are intentional and meaningful. 

 

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

I wish to create things that are bold, introspective, but accessible. I’m grateful to have a bandmate who shares that ambition. We remind each other to step outside of comfortable territories every now and then. As long as I am able to do that, I’ll be happy. Oh, I’ve also always wanted create post-rock music, so that’s one thing that I’ll eventually work towards. 

 

I wish to create things that are bold, introspective, but accessible.

 

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

Lauren Mayberry. I admire the way she stands for the things that are close to her heart. Collaborating would be cool, but I’d probably be happy just sitting there listening to her speak

 

How would you describe the women around you?

Bold, sensitive and selfless. We uplift one another, take care of each other, and remind ourselves about the things we are grateful for and how we can do better. 

 

Bold, sensitive and selfless.

 

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

Sara Wee, Mindy Kon, Stasha Wong, iNCH. I wasn’t particularly young, but these were the first few musicians I saw on stage with their instruments, playing their hearts out. It helped me visualize a version of me I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to, and that to me was really powerful.

 

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

Not really. The people I’ve come across have been nothing but respectful and kind.

 

What matters is that you get ever-slightly better each time you try. And to not be afraid to speak your truth, whatever that may be.

 

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

I want to tell them not to be afraid to put themselves out there and to fail because they’ll never reach that ideal, perfect version. What matters is that you get ever-slightly better each time you try. And to not be afraid to speak your truth, whatever that may be.

 

 

Photos courtesy of whirring, Mun Kong, Danial Isaac, Phoo Myet Che, Zane Motalif.

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