EDM singer, folk and indie songwriter – Linying shares her thoughts on scoring Spotify's Global Viral charts, hiking habits, and go-to dim sum restaurants
Even at her most intimate, Linying makes waves as resounding as The Beatles. And that’s no understatement; just a few weeks ago, the local musician’s single, “Sticky Leaves”, clinched a spot in Spotify’s Global Viral 50 chart, sharing the acclaimed credentials with the likes of The Beatles, LCD Soundsystem, and even Motörhead. But unlike her raucous, rockin’ counterparts, “Sticky Leaves” melted hearts with its stripped-down, piano-bolstered temperament – a vulnerable, docile composition that emphasises on this singer-songwriter’s cherubic vocals.
Yet, these euphonious indie-pop ballads aren’t Linying’s only global claim to fame. Her dulcet, velvety vocals have struck a chord with so many, that she’s even inadvertently caught the attention of the international music community. Dance producers from Germany (Felix Jaehn) and France (Krono) have already approached this young’un for vocal collaborations in deep house, with releases on Spinnin’ Records – to put this in perspective, this is the same Dutch label associated with Afrojack and Tiësto. Half-EDM vocalist, half-folky songbird – Linying is clearly on the cusp of a meteoric rise; we catch her for a chat before she becomes a full-fledged superstar.
Hey Linying! So while most Singaporeans were toiling through their daily lives, you had broken into the Global Viral 50 on Spotify, sharing top spots with The Beatles. How do you even wrap your head around something like that?
I was quite thrown off! But I’m very happy that it was well reacted to, because it’s the first of my own songs, and I was apprehensive and nervous before.
If you were presented with the opportunity to base yourself as a musician overseas, would you totally do it?
I can definitely imagine finding motivation and inspiration in a more musically diverse and mature environment. But I expect that that might interfere with – and distract from – the normalcy and banality of everyday life, which is the place from which I experience and write things.
On the flipside, what are some things in Singapore that are too precious to leave behind?
Food, indeed. What’s one kind of food you can not live without?
Any dim sum recommendations?
I’m annoyingly opinionated when it comes to food, so I have very specific places for everything I like to eat. But for dim sum, I love going to Hua Ting at Orchard Hotel for dim sum with the family, because it gives me that lazy Sunday late morning feeling, and they have wonderfully inauthentic mango chicken tarts. Swee Choon’s another good one with friends, because it’s the kind of place you can overeat at.
You recently spent quite a while in Paris too. Surely, there must’ve been stuff there that sparked your creativity?
Somehow, it just didn’t work that way for me. I saw many beautiful things, saw people living off ideals, surviving on passion, but it was all too new and dramatic and external to myself. Maybe it was because I didn’t spend enough time there to begin to find things boring.
Have you ever been insecure about your voice?
Yeah, a little bit. I sometimes feel like there isn’t anything very distinguishable about it.
Well, we don’t think the world would agree on that judging from the success of “Sticky Leaves”! Could you enlighten us on what that song means to you personally?
I think there was a lot of confusion, disillusion and disappointment for me growing out of my teenage years and living life out in such an emotionally volatile way. The song was my way of acknowledging that there are things that you think should be but just aren’t, and that there is, nevertheless, a worldly, fleshly, impermanent sort of beauty to living that’s worth seeing even if without understanding.
Spoken like a true lyricist. Speaking of leaves, how much in touch with nature are you? Are you an active outdoors-y person?
No!!! I’m deathly afraid of worms and snails, which is why I never, ever hike in Singapore. But it’s a different story trekking up a majestic mountain on the Italian coast overlooking the Ligurian Sea.
Contrasting against the quieter intimacy within “Sticky Leaves”, is the mind-blowing fact that you’re also hot in demand in the dance industry. Do you get swamped with vocal requests all the time? And how do you choose your projects?
Here and there, but I listen to almost everything I’m sent. I’ve learnt not to be precious about things like genre and songwriting; my solo work is what I like doing most, of course, because it’s the style of writing and producing that I find most compelling and intuitive. But I also enjoy writing to dance tracks as much as I enjoy listening to them, so I keep a pretty open mind.
On the topic of dance music, do you yourself go out to clubs often?
I’m all for clubs when I’m in the mood. It’s all sneakers, glitter, danceable clothes and getting smashed. But it’s really not often that I feel like that; most of the time I’d rather blast EDM on a good pair of speakers and hang out in pyjamas all showered and clean.
So is that what can we expect from your debut EP then? Pyjama-friendly EDM?
Nah, no dance for this EP. Though it’s still gonna be somewhat electronic, synth-y, with bits of ambient, lo-fi and folk.