by Hyliana Mohamed
Winner wows judges and shares how singing has impacted his life.
Leon Chua, along with five other finalists from the School of Humanities & Social Sciences (HMS), battled it out during the finals of HMS Got Talent on Jul 8, and eventually emerged victorious.
Leon, a budding singer-songwriter who is also known by his stage name Li-Onn, was picked by the esteemed judges to be the eventual winner. Three of the judges are lecturers from Diploma of Arts Business Management, while the fourth is a NP alumnus. All of them are well versed in the arts.
After Leon’s amazing rendition of Jessie J’s “Mamma Knows Best”, one of the judges, Dr Jeffrey Tan, who specialises in drama and is a playwright, commented, “Leon, I’ve got two questions for you. Who is your agent, and when is your debut album coming out?”
Dr Tan is not too far off from the truth. Leon, who is from Diploma in Early Childhood Education (ECH), is hoping to release a small EP later this year. A part-time song composer at Universal Music, Leon dreams of becoming a celebrated singer-songwriter like Jessie J or P!nk.
“I want to inspire others to chase their dreams like how Jessie J inspires me because she’s being herself – she’s who she is.”
– Leon Chua
“The reason why I started to write music was because when I was younger, I was constantly being bullied. I couldn’t take it, and my only escape was through music. I want to tell people that it’s OK. That three-minute song you listen to; you jam to it then you cry, and when it ends you’ll be like “OK, let’s go and face life.” I want to be that artist [with that song]. I want to inspire others to chase their dreams like how Jessie J inspires me because she’s being herself – she’s who she is,” Leon shares.
Another finalist, Maynard Wong, who performed a street jazz dance piece to the tune of Britney Spear’s “Me Against The Music”, also used the performing arts as a tool to cope with a difficult situation. “I started dancing because of a depressing episode – some unhappy stuff happened. And so I used dancing as a coping mechanism,” Maynard says.
Although this was a competition, none of the finalists thought of one another as competitors. “Everybody’s pretty good, they all got here equally,” Erra, a powerhouse vocalist and also a finalist, says. Win or lose, the most important thing is always to have fun.
“Some of the audience told us that it was enjoyable and they had fun. Not only did the audience have fun, but the planning committee had fun planning and executing as well,” Natalie shares.
Held to commemorate HMS Day, this event saw a 400-strong crowd turning up to either support friends, or to just soak in the stellar performances.
Mr Clarence Ti, the principal who has recently joined Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) in May this year, also graced the event.
This is the first student-led event Mr Ti has attended in NP. Natalie Goh, one of the student organisers of this event, says, “The principal actually saw our publicity posters and was interested in attending the event.”
With all performers and majority of the students dressed in black and white, HMS Day’s monochrome theme could clearly be seen on and off stage.
An Instagram contest was held where students can upload a picture of themselves wearing a black and white outfit and hashtag #HMSDAYOOTD to win themselves some tarts from NP’s very own bakery-café Cupplets. Natalie says, “The monochrome theme is actually inspired by our school mascot, Hummy The Panda. Most of the students today actually came in black/white.”