Soo Wincci sings in crisp voice, delivering ballads in Chinese and Malay smoothly. If needed, she plays the keyboard to accompany her singing. She can also put up a deft mask change performance, a classic stage repertoire of the Oriental. To top it all, during her first solo concert, Inwiccible (2015), she was swinging with fluent grace while clinging to a 12 feet tall pole, a routine of pole dance which she has obviously mastered. Her acting in dramas has already begotten her accolades from NTV7 in 2012 and 2016. Her singing has taken her to China and Taiwan, where she was based in 2014-15 and she has recorded 6 albums to date in Chinese and Malay. Among the Malay speaking, she is a celebrity chef, a crooner who won the Master Chef All Stars. Who would have thought that the 2008 Miss World Malaysia would work so hard to put a stamp in the entertainment world? And who would have thought that she would also put her voice to comment on political governance and received some backlash, resulting in sponsors pulling out from her concert? Meet Soo Wincci, one of the workaholics in entertainment, as she shares with Top 10 of Malaysia what drives her forward.
- Can you tell us something about yourself?
I was born in Petaling Jaya, and I remember I was a little obese then and was always bullied at school, so I had low self-esteem and a poor memory on top of that. I went to a Chinese medium primary school, then to a national-type secondary school in Damansara Utama. In college I changed a few courses of studies – chemical engineering, economics – before settling down to read law; I completed my law degree in UK. I hold a Master in Business Administration and now a PhD in Social Media Strategy and Personal Branding.
- You have a rather entrepreneurial side, judging from your choice of study, taking over an artist management company, going for the Malay audience. Would you agree?
Yes, after when you have gone further into the entertainment industry you will see that it takes more than your artistic specializations (singing and the like). It involves teamwork with many business aspects to be covered, such as marketing and branding. On the international stage this is even more so as everything is done so professionally and the artist is very much a part of a very professional entity. So an artist has to take up more responsibilities and need to have knowledge in many other areas.
Going for the Malay audience was something I had worked on for quite a while, but it was only after I won Master Chef Malaysia All Star that I finally secured my footing in it. When I started out I was reaching to the urban crowd, then the Chinese-speaking audience and then the Malay audience. Now my goal is to go for the Asian audience; I have travelled to a few Asian countries quite frequently these days and am hoping to reach out to them. I desire to reach out to the global audience in time to come.
In the next 5 years I hope you will see me in the international arena; I will be working very hard to get there and I would love to bring something of Malaysia to the international scene, that’s my vision.
- Which side drives you more, the entrepreneur or the artist?
I guess it’s both because all things are linked and you need to put on a few hats, although I think of myself as an artist. You must also know the intricacies of business communication when dealing with your team (and other people as well) who takes care of the business aspects, even if you don’t need to be involved in the day-to-day operations.
- Can you share with us some of the experiences that changed you or unforgettable moments that you encountered in your career?
There are actually so many but I think what changed my life was the moment when I decided to go into the entertainment industry, something which I love as a career after winning Miss World Malaysia. At that time many people thought that fame and success will be chasing after me but reality struck and I had no job for half a year. My parents started asking me to practise law instead. However, I decided to go ahead with a career in the entertainment industry and believe me, it was no bed of roses.
Many people have said to me that I am crazy because I think I see things very far ahead, so (with a sigh)I had to bear a lot of consequences (like having to sacrifice my relationship in the past). But I rather be crazy than lazy. At work I always deliver beyond expectation because I do it with my heart.
- You had made a bold statement about the local political situation and suffered backlash; do you have a rebellious streak? Are you as outspoken within the circle of your industry?
I would say I am someone who speak up when the moment is right; I don’t repeat myself because I think if speaking up doesn’t help, then it is time for action and not to avoid the problem. It is normal to question things in other countries; my statements were just to make people think.
- What are some of the meaningful milestones that you have achieved in life?
Obtaining my PhD recently is one of them. People have told me that I didn’t need it. Now that I have gone through it, my mind is more open and I am able to see things from different perspectives.
- What are you working on at the moment and what can we expect from you in the near future?
I am busy shooting a drama here (Malaysia) now and it is taking place day and night. Also I am currently back in Malaysia for a few months because I am trying to impart what I have learned and direct the vision I managed to get overseas back to the local scene; I really hope it will help grow the industry here so that young people don’t always have to go to other countries to develop their entertainment career and even if they have to, they can always come back and do a lot of things.
- Looking back, what are some of the things that you would have done differently?
I don’t think I would have done anything differently as I have wanted to be where I am now and have followed my heart in this journey. That is most important to me. I have no regrets for the actions I have taken, the mistakes I have made and the consequences that I have suffered – all these have built me up to be the person that I am today.
- What would you consider to be life’s greatest achievement?
It will be to inspire and help people; and (being able to) dedicate one’s whole life to help people grow.
- Do you have a role model?
In fact, I have a number of them; President Obama, Angelina Jolie, Siti Nurhaliza and some young people whom I have met. Generally, I am able to draw inspiration from different personalities, each with their own character and uniqueness.