It’s like meeting a being comprised of just energy and excitement. Speaking to her, you can definitely feel that she oozes enthusiasm.
Singaporean singer-songwriter Daphne Khoo got a really early head start, having started singing since she was three. She then chronicles her musical journey. “I started singing professionally when I was fifteen… went to school, and since then, I’ve had an album, an EP and a couple of singles… I’ve always wanted to sing, the songwriting part came a bit later.”
Interesting fact: she’s only had one “real” job before committing herself to music, but said occupation wasn’t far off from her passion.
“I was a radio DJ for a while, but I’ve done music pretty much full-time, between being in school and after I left.”
Her early musical preferences started with female country singers – more specifically, it was the storytelling element that piqued her interest. It then shifted to pop, listing singer-songwriter Michelle Branch as her key influence. “I begged my dad to buy me a guitar,” she recalls.
Currently, she favours pop music for its continuous evolution. “It’s always changing; it’s not one particular genre.”
Aside from pop, she is also part of the EDM (electronic dance music) scene. “The EDM stuff started around 2012. I’ve been doing a lot of toplines… that’s a really fun world. I’m in a different mindset when I’m writing for EDM.”
Daphne is also a cancer survivor, having had a bout with a rare form of ovarian cancer in 2012. Everything had to come to a screeching halt. “I had to stop school, went to get surgery done, did chemo(therapy), came out of it, went back to school and just kept making music…”
That said, she didn’t quite stop creating music. In fact, it was during this trying time that she explored producing EDM tunes. “I set up a small studio at my apartment, and I worked from there,” she recalls, adding that she didn’t need to visit a recording studio to make music – cutting out a major energy drain.
From her battle, she came out an enlightened victor. “It has definitely taught me to slow down… It’s important to work hard, but it’s also important to listen to your body. Also, (it’s taught me) to be smart about the goals I want to achieve.
It was a sucky experience, but it also gives me a platform to talk to people and encourage them… I’m grateful for that.
So, what does Daphne do during her downtime? “This is going to sound really ‘nerdy’, but… I like to knit. And I’m trying to learn to draw because I really can’t draw!
“I’ve knitted so many scarves; they’re all not very good!” She jokes.
Yeah, I certainly didn’t expect the “knitting” part.
Aside from maintaining an active YouTube and social media presence, Daphne has good news to share – there will be new stuff coming soon. “I actually wrote a song for two artistes in Korea, and it’s coming out in a week. Hopefully, I will be producing a new single in the next couple of months. I also wrote two songs on Nathan Hartono’s EP.”
Finally, she has these words of wisdom for aspiring musicians. “It’s a tough industry, but if you know that this is your passion and it makes you happy, just do it. When the going gets tough, just get tougher, and know that the more you believe in yourself, the more people will start to believe in you as well.”
For more information about Daphne, you can check out her various social feeds:
Official website: daphnekhoo.com
Asian Connection ft. Daphne Khoo
Photo credit (live show): PowerPuff Shooters