After being discovered back in 2012, Asia-born song-writer and producer Wiltay is now managed by former American Idol judge Randy Jackson. With a new single out and tour plans in the works, the world is likely to be hearing much more from this rising talent in the months ahead. He agreed to this EXCLUSIVE chat with our staff writer Rebecca.
PopWrapped: Tell me a bit about yourself.
Wiltay: I was always a little rebellious as a kid. I loved to do things differently because for me that was a way of being creative. I loved to give people surprises because more often than not, such things invoke a lot of fun in life. I remember during lunch breaks in school, I would always run out of school to skateboard. I was always finding time to do something I was passionate about. I secretly took up music classes when I was studying at university in Melbourne. I always paid attention to my hobbies and passions which were really a creative output for me during my studying days. I was always very driven in school for anything related to talent - music, acting and art, I love what I do and do it wholeheartedly every-day.
PW: Was being a musician and artist always your ultimate ambition or did you have other career plans growing up?
W: I used to want to be a doctor because I loved the satisfaction from helping others. However, I actually discovered my love for being an artiste accidentally during my school days. I represented my class for our annual talent showcase. I remember singing on stage and seeing people smile. It was at that moment I realized that music could invoke an emotional response from people to make them feel better. I started to pursue music because music heals.
PW: How influential and important a role does Randy Jackson play in your career as your manager?
W: Randy is an incredibly authentic and honest manager. He gives me the space to create, and when I seek his advice musically, he always gives the most wonderful responses. When I have an idea, he listens carefully and thinks thoroughly about how that idea can be improved to become better. Based on his in-depth experience as a musician, he completely understands the importance of uniqueness based on each artiste's thought process which is very crucial for creative growth to any creative individuals. The amount of passion I have for music is tremendously fired up with Randy, he builds on the strengths and originality yet focuses on having fun in the moment! Bromance for Randy!
PW: Has he given you any particular advice that you refer back to time and again?
W: Oh absolutely! "Allow the things that you cannot control to breathe, let them be. You cannot control the things outside of you, but you can control within yourself. How you perceive and receive information and how you react to them is the key."
PW: How did growing up in Singapore influence you musically and artistically?
W: The music influence is a good mix of the East and the West. Growing up in Singapore has definitely given me more of an insight into Eastern music which is often expressive in a poetic manner.
PW: What are your ultimate influences when it comes to your song-writing?
W: I love the lyricist Vincent Fang from Taiwan. He expresses a lot of emotions through the simplest words. Sometimes less is more. I love Sia too - she is an incredibly deep artist who writes music with a lot of emotion. It is very important to be truthful in the emotive expressions because they are unique to each individual and yet everyone can relate to them. Life experiences are the number one inspiration behind my song-writing.
PW: Your new single "What Are We Waiting For" is out now - is there a story behind it?
W: There must be some point in your life when you question yourself and ask: 'what are we really waiting for?' The moment really is now. The single represents how we wait for some things to happen but they never will if we do not seize the moment. If you want something, go for it.
PW: If you could have written any song, by any artist living or dead, which would it be and why?
W: I can’t choose a song but the artist would definitely be Sia. Musically and lyrically, she is so intelligent in expressing her ideas in a very interesting manner. What is even more powerful about her is that she empowers women through her songs, and that is very inspirational to many. I respect and love writers who inspire and empower others.
PW: What do you think makes you different from the many other bands and artists of today?
W: Growing up in the East has given me musical influences from both the east and the west. I lived in Spain for two years and had incredible fun in writing songs with influences taken from the Spanish culture where rhythm and body movements are very important musically. I think the East and West influences do come out differently.
PW: You were nominated for four Los Angeles Music Awards - how important is recognition like that to you?
W: I think having nominations and awards are very encouraging for artists to feel appreciated, yet the most important notion is knowing that it isn't the award that leaves an impression and inspires others, it is how you connect with your fans that means everything.
PW: You're a big supporter of LGBT rights and have gained quite a following as a result, but how important is it to you to be able to be able to speak out about issues that matter to you, either just in conversation or through your music?
W: Being able to love someone fully is powerful. Love, art, fashion, music and acting are all forms of expression. If there's art, there is expression. The key is to be able to express your ideas to the ones you love and to love fully. I love my fans. My fans and I have a strong connection, we share our experiences, conversations and issues together as one.
PW: How helpful is it in terms of your career that you're bilingual and can speak Spanish, English and Mandarin?
W: Having an additional language always means you can express things uniquely in each language. It think it allows a greater perception. Take for example jokes in the US and UK are rather different due to being based on different cultures. Having the understanding of different cultures allows you to connect to different people which is important for me in music - to connect.
PW: What are your future performance/touring plans? Can fans expect to see you heading out on tour, across Europe, perhaps in the near future?
W: I am excited to be heading to London, New York, Ukraine and Ibiza in the coming months. No matter where I am, I feel at home because my fans and I connect as one like a family.
PW: Finally, what's your ultimate goal as an artist? What's the one thing you want your music to achieve?
W: Empowerment of people through music. That and bringing the East and West closer together.