“When you see Shun Ng, you won't believe your eyes nor your ears -- he belies all stereotypes, all premonitions. I was simply blown away by both his soul and his science -- his creativity and his uniqueness is astounding. ”
- Quincy Jones
Talk about overcoming early challenges in life to excel in one’s craft and Shun Ng will probably have many interesting anecdotes to share.
Born in Chicago, raised in Singapore and now based in Boston, the 23-year old guitarist/singer/songwriter is now a world-class performer in demand internationally.
Diagnosed at an early age with dyslexia, Shun struggled with reading and learning; abilities that many of us take for granted. Despite these early challenges, the determined young boy never gave up. He went on to compete for the Singapore national gymnastics team and picked up the guitar along the way.
It was in music that Shun finally found his dream. After graduating from the Diploma in Music and Audio Technology (DMAT) in 2010, he went onto pursue a degree in music at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA, and was awarded a scholarship by the college for his excellent academic achievement. During this time, Shun was also actively performing in Singapore, notably at the President’s Star Charity and with local jazz legend Jeremy Monteiro.
Today, he stands as one of the most innovative new performers, playing international festivals and winning accolades from some of the industry's top names. Shun was recently named one of the Top 10 Acts in Boston by Improper Bostonian, and has just come back from LA after meeting with legend Quincy Jones, who was "blown away" by Shun.
On the 22nd of this month, Shun will be performing live in Singapore for one-night only at the Dram Centre Theatre, National Library. The show, titled "Rhythm of Christmas", will also feature world-renowned artiste Lawrence Watson.
I had the privilege to interview this fine young gentleman, to find out what it was like on the rocky road to success.
Hi Shun, thanks for spending time with us, and sharing with us some of your inspiring stories. Perhaps you can start off by telling us how were your DMAT days like?
They were honestly some of the best days of my life. I met like-minded people and made the best friends of my life, friends that challenged my thinking and broadened my perspective on life, music and the world. It was in DMAT where I had to time to really discover my musical identity. My days at DMAT were probably some of the most important days of my life and I only realized it after I left.
You have garnered huge success on the local and international stage since graduating from DMAT. How did you do it?
Thank you so much for saying that. Well, I don’t know about huge success, but I guess it’s about how you define what success means to you. To me, success is doing what I love, sharing things like love, joy and hope through the medium of music, not fame or money and I really mean that.
It is also very much about being happy and content with yourself, because I’ve learned that if you, as a person, aren’t enough without success, you will NEVER be enough with it, no matter how much of it you may garner.
Success is also about working hard, having the naivety to dream, a willingness to fail, being bold and constantly stepping out of your comfort zone. One should always be pushing boundaries to reach the next level, whatever that may be to you.
Tell us more about your upcoming show, "Rhythm of Christmas" with Lawrence Watson.
This is a Christmas concert organised by Eagles that I am co-producing. This show is about to me, what Christmas is all about. Not the light nor the facade or the shopping sale. It’s about love. It is something that I want to share in this concert, through great music and a greater existential message: Remember to love.
I met Lawrence when I was a student at Berklee College of Music. Tuck Andress of Tuck & Patti introduced us to each other. Lawrence is an activist, an educator and one of the most dynamic performers I’ve seen. He is the real deal. We share the same philosophy on music and what we feel we want to use it for. So I decided to fly Lawrence back to do a co-bill with me, because I believe that his music has the power to impact people but importantly, to let the Singapore audience have a great time with passionate, energetic and sincere music.
Any words of advice for the current students of DMAT?
The world is smaller than it seems. I remember when I was in DMAT, the world seemed so big and scary; scary enough to deter people from ever stepping out and going for your dreams. But you know what, it really isn’t! The world is there for you to make an impact in it and the only person that can stop you from doing that is yourself. So, work hard, be yourself, be tenacious and always stay humble!
Catch Shun in action LIVE in Singapore,
22nd December 2013 at the Drama Centre Theatre, National Library.
Get your tickets from SISTIC today at www.sistic.com.sg