Updated: Jun 2
Hi all, welcome back! Hope that everyone is doing well in this uncertain period of time. I am back with another blog post to (hopefully) help you in passing your time. 😉 We will be introducing a series of local businesses that you should totally check out. #supportlocal Am I right? P.S. Continue reading to receive some sweet treats for your ears! 😎🤗
To start off this series, we have Theunemployed, our very own local buskers 🤩 We have Cheng Wei and Young Yee, the mates behind Theunemployed! In lieu of the circuit breaker, we conducted an interview with them on Whatsapp, let us find out more about the band! 😁
How Did The Band Form?
Cheng Wei: We actually met back in our neighbourhood primary school but linked up again proper in VJC in the choir!
Young Yee: We were pretty used to performing together so after we graduated from VJC, we wanted to have a platform to continue performing and Cheng Wei raised this idea of busking!
Cheng Wei: Back then we were always making covers in the choir room, hence the decision to try our luck performing to an audience.
To those thinking of starting something new, now is the time to do it! As the saying goes, if not now, then when? 😉
Also, I'm sure everyone is wondering, what is up with the name? (Yes, I'm sure I read your mind with this question)
Cheng Wei: We completed National Service and while waiting for University to start, we considered ourselves Theunemployed and called ourselves as such. Plus, we wanted to challenge the stereotype Singaporeans had of buskers & the busking community through a thought-provoking band name.
They definitely did a good job coming up with a relatable and impressionable name!
First Busking Experience
Young Yee: We bought a second-hand battery-powered amp, hooked up our guitar and mic, and just started playing at the MRT station near our place. We were hoping to just cover our lunch costs but we were able to earn enough for a good dinner too!
Cheng Wei: Thanks to the ever savvy YY, who managed to get basically the entire setup for our first ever gig. It was surreal for me as I had no clue as to how these wires and gear interacted and basically lean onto his expertise. I remember it was really awkward just standing there and setting up and we got a lot of awkward stares as well as we were not the typical busker demographic.
Young Yee: Mainly heartland East side locations ie. Paya lebar and Tampines! Although we go there less now ever since I moved from Pasir Ris to CCK
Cheng Wei: As we have had our license renewed a number of times, we have also tried busking in places along Boat Quay, Clarke Quay as well as Raffles place area
Those who frequent these areas, keep a lookout for Theunemployed, you might just get a sweet treat for your ears the next time you're there! 👀
Cheng Wei: We aim to make a bond with our audience. Nothing feels better than a musician singing their favourite song. This is an art and it is for us to figure out by reaching out for dedications, looking at the general demographics, the time of the day/week as well as making an educated guess!
Young Yee: IMO our objective is really quite simple, to bring joy to our listeners and make their day better! In terms of engagement, a large part of it is to understand the preferences of our audiences at different points of times, then tailoring our music/ song choices accordingly
There will be many stories when out busking in the open, meeting countless people on a daily basis, here's one!
Young Yee: A guy once asked us to be part of his wedding proposal plans! It was sweet to witness and yet funny because the actual proposal happened randomly in the midst of us singing James Arthur's Say "You Won't Let Go”. We didn't coordinate the flow at all, so the singing and speech were really messy! The good news is that she said yes :)
Cheng Wei: For me, it is always most touching when someone writes us a simple note and we have had a few dropping us a drink as a form of appreciation. Something notable, in2018 we participate in DBS Busking By the Bay where buskers gathered for friendly competition as part of DBS Marina Regatta and we came out on top!!
Psst, guys who want to impress your girl, you know who to find! 😉
Young Yee: It's a huge downer for our busking plans, and I think it'll be quite a while before we can head out to busk freely again! On the other hand, this season does force us to try new ways of making music together!
Cheng Wei: On the upside, we have still been able to create content online and its been an interesting experience. Luckily for us, we remain employed and do not depend on busking for a living. My heart goes out to a good portion of our busking community who depend on busking as their main source of income. It is heartening to see some of them take their performance online or in this period venture on a new path to sustain themselves
COVID-19 has definitely done some type of impact on everyone, what's important is to make the best of this extra time that we have. Be it to take a well-deserved rest, work on something new, or spend time with your family! 😊
To those who are looking for a sign to do that one thing you have been wanting to do, here it is!
Cheng Wei: Taking a risk and not living in regret is something I hold onto deeply. There are so many talented artists around us who are just too shy to take the first step but will definitely do better than us. It is all about your attitude and your determination to try!
Young Yee: Don't be afraid to step out (to busk, upload a work, stream live) with something raw! Most people don't get it right the first time, but they certainly learn a lot from taking that step out! At the same time, be humble enough to accept constructive criticism, especially from people who know what they're talking about.
“If you have a dream, don’t just sit there. Gather courage to believe that you can succeed and leave no stone unturned to make it a reality” - Dr Roopleen
Thank you Cheng Wei & Young Yee for sharing what it feels like to be a part of the local busking industry. If you’re a fan of local talents, do check them out! #supportlocal
Facebook: The Unemployed
Here you go, this is what you have been waiting for. You're welcome! #stnetschallenge