On Top of the World

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In this age of the internet, transforming oneself into an overnight sensation is not a far-fetched matter. Elizabeth Tan, the songstress who quickly evolved from a budding YouTuber to a full-fledged recording artist with an expansive fanbase in only a matter of few years is an inspiring example. In a recent interview, the affable and energetic artist speaks to Top 10 of Malaysia about her background, career and future plans.

It only took one song for Elizabeth Tan to propel herself to stardom. An alumna of a Bible college in Texas, USA, the YouTuber who was already uploading videos onto the hosting site by then, returned to Malaysia after two years and decided to pursue her passion for singing. It was then she uploaded her cover of “Havoc”, the hit song by home-grown rapper, Joe Flizzow, which quickly took the local internet scene by storm. The idea of a delicate-looking singer breathing new life to fast-rap verses was well-appreciated, and the youngest of three siblings quickly gained significant acclaim, as the video transcended YouTube to Facebook, where it garnered hundreds of likes and shares amongst both locals and foreigners.

Since then, the nickname, “The Girl from YouTube” simply clung on to Tan as she went about with her companion ukulele, proving her talent to both her fans and her naysayers. During the Independence month of 2014, she uploaded her cover of the Merdeka anthem, “Tanggal 31” sung by the legendary Sudirman, which struck a chord of unity among all Malaysians and proved that she was far from a one-hit wonder. A string of Malay cover songs quickly followed on her YouTube channel, equally amassing more fans as she uploaded more videos. Soon enough, industry heavyweights took notice of the immensely talented artist that was Elizabeth Tan, nominating her for the ‘Best New Artist’ award at the Anugerah Bintang Popular for the first time in 2014.

The bilingual chanteuse, who is currently focused on the Malay-language market as a career-based decision, says there are many experiences and unforgettable moments that she has encountered as a legitimate recording artist. “One such unforgettable moment was when I first met my fans of my fan club, Elfians as they taught me how to believe in myself by showing me unconditional support,” admits Tan. Her fans are also what she considers to be her greatest achievement in life. “They are the people who love you through the bad times and good times.”

Currently signed on to renowned Malaysian singer Faizal Tahir’s label Faithful Music Malaysia, Tan released her first official single titled “Knock” to much fanfare. Penned by Faizal himself, the song quickly became a success and the music video a fan-favourite. She has also recorded a duet with her mentor and it is called “Setia”, a romantic ballad which is rising up fast the music charts.

As for 2016, the Anugerah Planet Muzik 2015 Best New Female Artist award winner says, “I am all geared up to branch out into different markets.” The big Yuna fan will also be recording more music, inspired by her affinity for jazz and bossa nova under the guidance of Faizal to keep the momentum going and her fans happy. Meanwhile, her personal motto, “Climb the mountain not for the world to see you but for you to see the world”, keeps Tan grounded even with all this success. Where does she see herself in the next five years? “Hopefully by that time, I already have my own business and am married,” envisions Tan.

Issue 24/2016

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