Stcomm
From:The Straits Timesposted on 26 June at 7:30 AM
26 June at 7:30 AM

Bevlyn Khoo sings to her own tune

By Boon Chan, Media Correspondent

Local singer-songwriter Bevlyn Khoo performs at weddings for a living. But at her own nuptials earlier this month, she left the singing to others.

The 34-year-old tells Life! with a laugh: "Everybody expected me to sing a song but I didn't want to do that. If I were to do it, it would really have been a show for everybody and I didn't feel that I needed to do that."

Her other half is a Briton teaching English in Singapore.

Just as Khoo did not feel the need to conform to the expectations of others at her wedding, she also did things her way on her independently produced album, The People I've Known.

She says: "I just wanted to fulfil a dream of having a full-length album of original compositions that can truly represent who I really am."

She made her debut with the EP Lonely Afternoon in 2008. It sold more than 800 copies and won her the Best Independent Album prize at the Singapore Entertainment Awards in 2009.

Japanese label S2S subsequently signed her on and released three albums, You Are My Angel (2009), Bistro Affair (2010) and Feel About You (2011).

After the three-year contract was up, there was an amicable parting of ways, says Khoo.

She adds: "I didn't want to end with people thinking I sing a lot of covers and that's it. After all, I started out as an indie singer who writes original songs."

She also wanted to prove she was capable of more than just "sad love songs".

Dressed in a cheery pink top with jeans, she says: "People view me as very melancholic, but actually, I'm quite bubbly in person."

Since she called the shots on People, she decided to showcase her versatility and write the upbeat number The Haha Song. She notes happily that it "came as a surprise to lots of people".

The material on the album was inspired by people in her life, though not all would know that a particular track was about them.

She says with a laugh: "Some of them were my crushes and they don't have to know. It's something you write and feel happy about and then just put aside."

Her hubby need not feel jealous though, as there is also a song written for him titled Soulmate.

In addition to putting in $20,000 of her own money into the record, she also went to pledgemusic.com to raise capital. Established artists such as singersongwriter Rachel Yamagata and rock legends The Beach Boys have turned to the website, though the practice is less common in Asia.

There is one caveat, though: If an artist does not raise at least US$5,000 (S$6,361), then the project is scrapped and he or she does not get a cent.

Khoo found out about that detail only after she had registered.

"I had a lot of pressure to make sure I do a lot of things to get the funding." For example, for US$50, she will make a YouTube video of a song of your choice.

Happily, she raised the minimum sum.

As for the money she put in, she is not sweating over it.

"At this point in time, I have my personal satisfaction from making the album and that is priceless. So are the interactions with my supporters."

While she would like to continue making music, she is also enough of a pragmatist to know that it all depends on the opportunities that come her way.

She muses: "I used to think that music was everything when I was much younger. I really wanted to be a singer and be recognised for my singing talent.

"But at this stage, I realise life is not just about music. There are many other things I should also go and experience.

After a pause, she adds: "Of course, I still hope to continue with music since it's what I've been investing in for so long."

bchan@sph.com.sg

This story was first published in The Straits Times Life! on June 24, 2013

Copyright 2014 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn No. 198402868E. All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions