Not every university undergrad would be given a chance to go on tour with David Tao and Wang Lee Hom, but that was how Tay Ke Wei got her big break in singing. Six years on, her passion for singing is still burning strong. We speak to the 31-year-old on early beginnings and choosing singing over a more stable career.

What’s the best thing about your job?
I get to travel to where my music takes me, and share my music with people from around the world. I’ve performed in China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and more interestingly, Turkey last year!

What kind of challenges do you face in your job?
The music industry is changing so fast every day that there is no set path to follow. I have to constantly evolve and improve myself to survive in this industry.

Did you always know you wanted to be a singer? If not, what did you want to be?
I learnt Erhu, piano and violin as a child, but only started singing in university. I got my big break in my third year when I was selected to be David Tao’s backing vocalist in his world tour. I toured with Amei, Wang Leehom and JJ Lin for six years since. I was in [Wee Kim Wee] School of Communications and Information in NTU, so I would probably have went into PR or communications industry if I weren’t a singer.

Were your parents supportive of your career choice? If yes, what kind of support have they given you? If no, how did you convince them?
Like most parents, they were worried about [the] job stability. But touring with a huge Mandopop star was a rare chance, so they were very supportive. When I decided to make this my career, I made sure I made a decent living and could support myself – I wanted to prove to them that this was a viable career option. I worked very hard; I sang regular weekly gigs at pubs, live music joints, weddings, and set up a business providing live music for weddings and events.

What advice do you have for people who want to be a singer?
You have to love music, love performing so much that even without fame or fortune, even in face of rejection, you will find the passion to carry on.

Tay Ke Wei will be one of the panelists at the CLEO Career Academy.

Join us at the CLEO Career Academy
Venue: Mandarin Orchard Hotel, Mandarin Ballroom III
Date: 29 August 2015 (Saturday)
Time: 2pm to 4pm
Fee: $15 for one person, and $20 for two

Sign up for the CLEO Career Academy here. Due to overwhelming response, we have added more seats! Sign up today!