In the day, 18-year-old Ludfee is an average ITE student. But it is after class hours when life really begins for him, because that is when he gets to make music.
It was serendipitous, as it all started when he won second place at a singing competition that his friend encouraged him to join for fun. It was then that Ludfee started to find an interest in music. So when Ludfee went on to Temasek secondary, he wanted to do more than the usual music classes. However, getting into a musical CCA for him wasn’t that easy.
“I auditioned for choir but they didn’t accept me because I was tone deaf. Band also rejected me. Then, I got into a cappella club, which said that my tone deaf can be worked on.”
Because of a school requirement, however, he had to juggle two days of training a week for his main CCA, National Civil Defence Cadet Corps (NCDCC), and a cappella every Saturday morning, on top of his academic workload.
His love for music and a cappella grew, and soon music became a way of expression way for him. For him, it was also the opportunity to escape from the stresses of school and life.
Going Against The Will Of His Only Family
Most of us will have no qualms going against our parents once in awhile because after all, our growing up phase also meant us wanting to ‘live a little’. For Ludfee, things are different, because he never had parents.
Ever since his parents left him at the hospital after he was born, his grandparents have been his only family. He never knew who his mother or father were, how they look like, or why they abandoned him, but as I chatted with Ludfee, I deduced that he is someone who chooses to look on the bright side of things.
“I wouldn’t wish that things were different. I prefer staying with my grandma actually, because I’ve heard about friends having to face strict curfews and rules from their parents. My grandma isn’t very strict, which I’m grateful for. But she nags about religion.”
Making the decision to pursue music wasn’t easy back at home as his grandmother wanted him to take a ‘traditional route’ in business. He wanted to study Digital Audio Video Production, but went for businesses services at ITE College Central in the end so as not to complicate matters at home.
Nonetheless, arguments with his grandmother still happen from time to time.
“My grandma would always say that my priorities are wrong and that I’m choosing music over religion. It gets tiring to have to argue about this again and again.”
Ludfee explained how he has had to forgo events like family dinners or religious gatherings for competition trainings or performance rehearsals.
However, he tries to ‘lessen the burden’ as much as possible, like taking up a barista job after secondary school to earn his own keep and to fund his own music pursuits.
“My grandma have somewhat of an income as she works at a food stall with her friends. But I want to earn some money for myself and for my music instead of relying on her.”
Making It Work
Like all musicians in Singapore, Ludfee knew that it wasn’t going to be an easy route.
With a cappella group, That Acappella Group (T.A.G), he has gotten many performance opportunities including singing for our President and also competing in this year’s National A Cappella Championships, where they have been crowned the winner and 1st Runner-up in the College Category.
Under the tutelage of vocal director Dylan Foster and other music teachers, Ludfee has also improved on his vocal techniques, and on his own accord, picked up songwriting and music arrangement.
“I’m not really earning money from music yet, but I’m working to write and produce my own music.”
Since none of his family members are musically-inclined, I asked if anyone at home showed any interest in his music pursuit.
“Nope. I feel sad about it because I’m that odd one out who’d always not have anyone there to cheer me on. Usually, I’d see my group mates’ family cheering for them at performances and deep inside, I’d hope that my family is like them too. But yeah, it’s impossible.”
Support Our Local Talents At Voices
Although Ludfee has big dreams of publishing his own music and also sharing his interest as a music teacher in the future, his current goal is getting more publicity and appreciation for his music.
Catch Ludfee at Voices – A Festival of Song at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay this 7 to 9 December, where he will be performing with T.A.G as the lead bass singer, and also tenor and alto with Sticks & Kebab!
In its sixth edition, Voices will feature a range of forms and styles of singing, including choral, a cappella, musical theatre, show and pop choir, classical singing, jazz, doo wop, motets and madrigals, xinyao (a uniquely Singaporean genre) and more.
If you’re looking for a weekend date idea, check out the many free performances and fun choral activities including chorus sing-along where you will be part of a new makeshift choir. Or check out the ticketed vocal workshops here if you’re an aspiring vocalist who wants to how to use your voice better!
Find out more about Esplanade’s Voices – A Festival of Song at www.esplanade.com/voices.
(This article is written in collaboration with Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay)
(Header Image Credit: @minimxlist_)