It’s going to be an exciting weekend as we gear up for the first music festival after the pandemic. Held over two days at the Surf Beach in Sunway Lagoon, we’re all set to celebrate the post-Covid life in style with the interesting line-up of musicians. The first day will be filled with local acts and one of those we’re looking forward to seeing is Claudia. Having graduated from Lancaster University, England, and known for her extraordinary performance in the Malaysian pop culture scene, Claudia is not just a singer-songwriter but an author too, whose novel Perfect Addiction has hit over 90 million reads on Wattpad! We got a chance to catch up with the multi-talented 24 year old about what she’s currently working on and the surprise element that she’ll be revealing at the Good Vibes Festival.
For those who aren’t familiar with Claudia Tan, how would you introduce yourself?
“I’d say I’m a singer-songwriter who is into fun pop music, but I’m also a romance writer. I grew up listening to the radio and write music that I like to listen to. When I decided that I wanted to be a musician, that’s when I said I’ll focus on pop. I’m always trying to make my music as catchy as possible so that it’ll get stuck in your head. When you remember it and have sung it for five times, then I know that I’ve achieved what I want. Other than that, I write fun and romantic reads which are available on Wattpad.”
What have you been up to since releasing your catchy single, Mikaela last year?
“I’ve been busy doing non-music stuff and writing a lot cos I have a few books coming up after releasing my latest book, Perfect Addiction in July. So, with this moving quickly, I’m looking forward to releasing another one next year.”
What inspires you to come up with a new song?
“It’s different for every song and I wouldn’t say it’s deep. I’m not an emotional person so I just go with the flow. For instance, sometimes I feel like doing a pop song so I’ll try to figure it out and my producer will then give me his input to write it from a perspective and we take it from there. I live through my imagination and I guess that’s why I’m also a writer.”
You’re known for playing the ukulele too. Can you tell us more about the love that you have for it?
“I don’t play the ukulele during my live performances, but use it when I’m writing songs. I can only play very basic chords, but it’s basically my baby. When I feel sad or happy and just want to get a song out, it’s very easy to play compared to a guitar, which is why I love it. I’ll pick it up and strum on it, and find the source of my inspiration. That’s how the process of my work usually starts.”
From your perspective, how do you see or place yourself in the local music scene?
“The current local music scene is very diverse and I’d like to say that I’m a bit more of a new generation of local artistes. More and more people are coming out with their own music and I’d like to think that I represent this new era.”
What does it take for someone to become a singer in Malaysia and what are some of the challenges that upcoming singers face in the industry?
“Producing is a very important skill especially if you want to save cost. When you’re independent at the start and don’t have a label backing you nor the funds to hire big-time producers, you’ll need to be an all-rounder. Arming yourself with the knowledge of how it actually works really helps and if in the past it was inaccessible, it is now different. Just open your laptop, download a few programs and learn how to do it using YouTube. It’s also good to learn the basics and how the behind-the-scenes work cos once you’ve mastered it, you’d be able to give constructive input to your masterpiece too. The local scene’s getting bigger but overall, it’s still quite small. It’s hard to reach a large audience, but is not impossible with social media. For a beginner, make friends with the pros and you’ll realise that everyone is generally eager to help out. You can always get them to give you feedback and share their thoughts with you. When you have all these connections, it’s easier to get your music out there.”
Is there any change that you’d like to see in the Malaysian entertainment scene?
“In terms of listening to music, I hope that people won’t continue to think that the Malaysian music scene is a felony or something. It’s slowly changing and I hope that people will continue to be surprised and supportive of new artistes. Be open minded to listen to local acts just like how you are open to listen to international stars.”
Given the chance, who in the world would you like to collaborate with?
“I’d love to collaborate with my boyfriend slash producer, Irwin Lim. We always have a good time bouncing ideas off each other. Locally, it’d be the ‘Tan Trinity’ where it’d be great if we could get all the Tan singers – Elizabeth Tan, myself and someone else to put an act together. Internationally, I’d say Dua Lipa.”
When it comes to fashion, how would you describe your style? What are some of your go-to pieces?
“I’d say cute, flirty and bright – I especially love pink! I just love mixing and matching different colours together. I love crop tops, graphic tees and high-waisted jeans.”
If you had to style a guy or a girl to attend the Good Vibes Festival, what would you pick for them?
“If it was a guy, I’d go with a streetwear look that’s really popular now, styled with a few chains. For a girl, I’d love for her to put on face jewels to stand out, and space buns with a mesh dress and boots, which is a very Vanessa Hudgens look!”
On a separate note, what’s your take on the topic of sustainability?
“Global warming and climate change are real and we’ve seen many incidents across the globe this year itself. We have the option of helping our environment and every small step matters. I thrift a lot and don’t buy new clothes, and when it comes to getting rid of them, I make sure that they don’t end up in landfills. In terms of writing, I’d say that it is better to read from a Kindle or any other device as unsold books will usually end up in trash. In terms of concerts, just like Coldplay, using renewable energy is a good step up. Even the confetti was made from renewable and recycled materials. It can even be biodegradable so that once you leave a concert space, you don’t end up with a whole load of trash!”
Moving on, can you tell us more about your travel adventures?
“I love Italy, which I’ve been to thrice! I love Italian food, gelato and the entire vibe there. But if I were given a magic wand to migrate, I’d pick Canada. I’ve never been there before, but it’s a different version of the USA and that’s my dream.”
What’s your comfort food and the one thing that you’d never eat?
“My favourite is Kolo Mee since I’m Sarawakian and it’s something that I can eat every day. The one thing I’d never eat is olive. I’ve never even tried it cos I can imagine just how disgusting the taste is!”
What’s the one thing you’re looking forward to the most at this year’s Good Vibes Festival?
“I’m going to be releasing a new single next Friday, but my fans can expect to get a sneak peek of it tomorrow! It is romantic, fun and very chill. I hope everyone will have a good time as this is the first Good Vibes Festival after the pandemic. The feeling is amazing as I’ll be performing too. So come, have loads of fun and go all out. See you guys tomorrow!”
Catch Claudia at 5pm on The Blue Stage, Day One of the Good Vibes Festival.
Featured image & banner image: @claudiaaatan