Field Advice by Kuala Lumpur based artist, SHN, she/her.

Photo by SHN

Tell us about yourself.

I love oat milk and making things. When I was 5-years-old, I made up my mind to be a singer-songwriter when I grew up, and though that resolve had wavered throughout my college years, I’ve managed to see it through. I posted YouTube videos of covers as well as songs that I wrote back when I was a teenager which got the attention of a Chinese record label. They signed me as an artist to venture out into doing bilingual music, going to China to train and audition for reality shows. I’m now independent and focused on the English music market and I am working on new songs to be released soon! I also teach vocals on the side.

Photo by SHN

Describe your workspace.

I get inspiration nearly anywhere. This could range from when I’m taking a shower to when I’m in the middle of toasting some bread for breakfast. When that happens, I typically record a voice memo or type out the lyrics into my phone. Once I get a chance to get to my workspace, that’s where I’ll either record vocals over a demo, or start creating a demo. My new favorite thing here is the microphone arm my husband installed for me recently. It’s been so convenient, not to mention space-saving, to have it hang over the workstation. I also like having some instruments nearby as I work on demos.

What is your field advice for aspiring artists?

Share.

I wrote a song once with a friend who took it for herself and gave me no credit. I think since then, subconsciously, I’ve been a little stingy with my creative work. I’ve only recently realized how much more beautiful or meaningful a body of work can be when you collaborate with creatives around you. Even if, at the end of all that, the product of the collaboration falls short of what you were expecting, the relationships you build with your fellow peers are of immense value.

Photo by SHN

What are your thoughts about the creative industry?

I have a lot of respect for people who choose to be a part of the creative industry. Everything you put out feels like an extension of yourself, and it’s out there for people to judge – whether they like it or not. I feel like a majority of us have to wrestle with imposter syndrome. And yes, making art can be a very personal thing. But I suppose doing this for a few years now, and having to work at a quicker rate, I’ve had to learn that your work does not determine your value. My work still feels very personal to me, but if you were to create masterpieces every time you create something, you must be God.

What is your current favorite song at the moment while you work?

I don’t listen to any music when I work since I work on music. But my current favorite right now is Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah”. Leonard Cohen wrote a masterpiece- at every turn I find something remarkable in the way he crafted the song, with as much intention as passion.

What does LOCAL mean to you? 

Growing up in Malaysia, I was taught from a very young age that if you wanted to get anything of quality, you must import it. So the term ‘local’ was truly associated with something of lesser quality. But as my people progressed, learned and honed their skills, I have now found that local products, crafts and of general being is of incredible value, and is most definitely comparable to imported goods or international art. To me, the term ‘local’ now is associated with potential and pride.

Photo by SHN

What is your favorite local spot that our readers should check out in your local neighborhood?

I would most definitely recommend “Tiffin at the Yard”. They host a variety of local food businesses with the mission of bridging the culinary and creative world, almost like a well-curated market. The vendors change every few months so it’s never the same foods served. Being at Tiffin is truly an experience. 

What does the Local Wolves community means to you?

First and foremost, I am honored to be featured on Local Wolves. One of the most important and satisfying aspects of my work is and always will be storytelling. I believe stories are what turns a stranger into a friend. I truly appreciate that Local Wolves celebrates creatives in that light.

Connect with SHN: Website / Instagram / Facebook