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By Nur Ashikin Louis
KUCHING, Jan 17: Local talents, particularly those in the music industry, are increasing, but we still seldom hear their music being played on local radio stations and television stations.
If Sarawak wants to boost its local talents, why does foreign music still have the most airplay on our local radio stations?
Sarawak-born crossover pianist Jolynn J Chin, who is now based in Singapore, said that the State needs to step up its game if it wants the local music industry to grow.
The 27-year-old, who is signed to a music company in Los Angeles (LA), said that it is no doubt that most of the outside world are not aware of Sarawak’s music and arts as Sarawakians themselves are sleeping on local talents.
She explained that LA has its own culture, vibe, and circle of music, just like other cities in the United States.
“I am not even talking about the United States as a whole, but this is LA’s local music scene where you will hear songs from LA artistes in local supermarkets and public areas.
“If you go to Chicago, they have different artistes and music there too,” she told DayakDaily during the Sarawak’s Diva Duo Dewi and Jolynn in Concert organised by Front Row held at Old Courthouse Auditorium on Dec 30, 2021.
Yet, another question arises: where can we get hold of these talents and their artworks?
If we go to the local shopping malls and supermarkets, we can listen to songs from international singers like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry being played almost all the time.
To this, Jolynn pointed out that local radio stations and TVS should play more works by local talents who have not yet made it into the industry than those who have already made a name for themselves.
Additionally, she stressed the importance of aiming higher to become an international artist rather than just national-level.
She believed that there are plenty of promising talents in Sarawak that need to be nurtured and exposed to international standards.
“I think most of the artistes here are enclosed; you are just staying in the same environment. So if you are the best here, you will only remain the best here.
“But it is different when you go to LA and other places because you are with the best of the best. So when you are in that kind of situation, it makes you grow better, and I believe that is what’s lacking in the local arena.
“In a way, we should have that sort of mindset, and we shouldn’t settle for what we have or stay in our comfort zone,” she said.
Jolynn, whose music career started when she was five years old, admitted that it wasn’t a smooth journey for her, revealing that she once hated playing the piano because she had to do it for the sake of getting good grades during examinations.
At age seven, she came across Croatian pianist Maksim Mrvica, who plays classical crossover music. Classical crossover blends elements of classical music with popular music genres such as pop, rock, and Latin. She was inspired by him, as well as by Singaporean violinist Vanessa-Mae.
Jolynn then went to study music at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) in Singapore, majoring in piano performance. However, she realised that classical music wasn’t her ‘thing’ and dropped out of the academy.
However, she still believed in her music and dream, which pushed her to wake up every single day and work hard to promote her music.
Following this, Jolynn opined that it is high time for the Malaysian academic arena to stop looking at the Arts stream as inferior to the Science stream.
“When I was in Form 3 and had to choose between the Arts and Science, I made the mistake of selecting the Science stream.
“I do not think I need to know about hydrogen chloride, but I do need to know which stream is getting more sales for music, etc. Therefore, the stigma on the Arts stream should be abolished,” she said.
Jolynn rose to fame after appearing on America’s Got Talent (AGT) last year. After earning four ‘yes’ from the judges, she signed with Atomic Music Group (AMG) in LA and started writing and composing music for Hollywood films and acting.
She shared that the email from the casting producer of AGT sounded like a scam at first but knowing that she did not have anything to lose, she shot her shot.
“When I got the letter, I thought it was spam or a scam where they will set me up for a call and ask me for some money.
“After getting advice from my producers and friends, I responded to AGT. They then asked if I wanted to be on the show, and I said, ‘Yeah, why not?’”
“At first, I thought AGT was for circus acts and not for musicians, but there’s no harm to give it a try, so I went to audition in 2021.
“Soon, I started getting attention here and became a full-time artiste ― writing my music, writing music for films, and acting.” ― DayakDaily