In April 2016, Billy visited his alma mater, River Valley High, as an alumni to give a talk on Chinese Pop to the students together with renowned songwriter, Zhang Si Er, and Bevlyn Khoo, one of Singapore’s outstanding jazz singer-songwriter and producer, whom were all former students as well.
As part of the 60th anniversary, River Valley High invited Billy as the special guest to be part of the opening of the BiCultural Academy that the school has started.
Billy was happy to be back at his alma mater to give a talk, as he covers multiple topics on Chinese pop music for the students who have attended.
“The music world changes its generations”
Billy who is based in China at the moment, is developing the pop music business in one of the largest markets around the world. As the founder of Amusic Rights Management, he is focused on how the music industry adapts with the changes of the internet world.
With a topic of “Chinese Pop Culture Opportunities and Challenges”, he seeks to educate everyone on how the Chinese pop music market is like. At the same time, Billy and two other alumni, Zhang Si Er and Bevlyn Khoo also joins in the panel to share with the younger students. Zhang Si Er is one of the local songwriters, while Bevlyn is an independent music artiste, who is also a remarkable composer who has written the 60th anniversary theme song for the school.
The Chinese pop music market holds a lot of potential that is waiting to be discovered. Throughout the talk, Billy shared how the Chinese music industry is changing, and the top singers on the Chinese music charts are no longer dominated by Hong Kong and Taiwan artistes, but actually made up of mostly Chinese artistes. With such a change, Billy considers it the change of the generation listening to music in China.
Billy also talked about the popularity of notable artistes in China, and the reasons that made them popular.
One of the students, Shi Hui, who studies dual cultures, said that she had learnt a lot from attending the talk, knowing that with every successful debut of a new generation of artistes, it not only emphasise on the ability to perform live, but also the ability to produce music. Si Hui also mentioned that with what she takes up in her studies that focuses on Singapore and China relations, it allows her to understand how Singapore artistes are developing their careers in China, with the aim of supporting the cultural bridges between both countries.
“Alumni shares their experiences”
Billy’s talk aimed to be humourous, which provide the audience with non-stop laughters. As the talk comes closer to the end, he invites Si Er and Bevlyn up on stage to share their experiences. The students took the opportunities to ask questions, and the alumni also patiently listen and answer most of their questions accordingly.
Zhi Yuan, a Secondary 4 student who came for the talk, mentions how the talk has improved his insights into Chinese music, and how it was a good learning experience.
Ms Huang, Head of Department for Chinese Language at River Valley High, has shared that it has been an eye opener for students to know Billy, to learn more about China, and also to encourage them to pursue their dreams.
For Billy, it has been an enjoyable experience to go back to his alma mater to share his experiences, as engagement levels with the younger generation have always been high at River Valley High, Billy gave his thoughts on whether the future of Singapore could produce any more international artistes, he mentioned: “I would not say that there is no chance, but the current situation offers none”.
As a last word of advice, Billy talks about younger generations entering the music industry to know:
While living in the digital age, absorb and enhance your music education and equip yourself well, especially for the past 50 years of musical classics, a mastery of at least one instrument, and the discovery of music creation, as well as singing and understanding music are important to any musicians. Make bands, jam together, perform live, and let your music be produced by those who are willing to nurture you.