A few weeks ago, I designed a poster at work for a Martell product launch party hosted by the Singaporean rapper, Shigga Shay. While designing it, some of my coworkers on different teams would walk by my desk and get excited when they saw the rapper’s face. I had never heard of him, but my coworkers’ enthusiasm made me want to learn more about him for the sake of becoming more familiar with Singaporean pop culture.
Photo credit of top photo: http://shiggashay.com/bio/
Shortly after submitting my design, a public relations coworker involved in Shigga Shay’s new music video shoot asked me if I would be willing to participate as an extra in his video. Apparently the director was looking for international extras to add diversity to the group of Singaporean and Chinese extras. I was told that I would be paid just to dress up and pretend to party in the background of the video. I happily agreed and spent the next few days excitingly planning my outfit and familiarizing myself with Shigga Shay’s music.
When the day finally arrived, I headed to the studio and met the director, other extras, and various crew members. There were so many interesting international extras with completely different backgrounds. The countries represented included: Germany, Belgium, Burundi, Malaysia, Russia, Denmark, Finland, China, Singapore, and the United States.
Some of the most interesting people I met on this shoot:
Elodie- She is a student from Charleroi, Belgium studying abroad in Singapore. Her family is originally from Bujumbura, Burundi, but she and her family left as refugees when she was young. At the time, I ignorantly did not know anything about Burundi other than the fact that it was somewhere in Africa. Later I did research on why she left the country and was surprised by what I found. Below is a link if you are interested in learning more:
Mikhail- He is an international student that spent part of his childhood in Russia and part of it in China. He was born in Russia and at age 10, his father sent him alone to go to school in China. I asked him why his parents sent him to China by himself at such a young age and he explained, “As relations between China and Russia gained momentum in the 2000’s, a lot of young Russian kids like me were encouraged to learn Chinese. My parents did not have a lot of money to take care of me, so they sent me to China for a better education and better career opportunities.” I then asked about why he was in Singapore. He explained that he wanted to improve his English and Singapore was the perfect place to move because English is the most commonly used language, but he still could stay close to Chinese culture.
Radio- He is a rapper living in Kuala Lumpur, but originally from California. He moved to Southeast Asia because he was offered a contract to perform in Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia. He previously performed as an opening act for Stevie Wonder, Brandy, T-Pain, Keisha Cole, Mario, B.O.B., and Chris Brown. He has also had the chance to be on the shows Flavor of Love (season 2), American Pie “Naked Mile”, and The Voice.
When I first met Radio, I casually assumed he was another average international extra. I quickly realized he was involved in the music industry when he started freestyle rapping for our group. I won’t pretend to be particularly knowledgable about rap, but I was blown away by his talent. His creativity and passion was inspiring and infectious. To learn more about him, go check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-_GqT0ow5k