The Sun (Malaysia)
Hitting the right notes
> Shereen Cheong is composing her very own symphony internationally
Other highlights of her career include arranging, orchestrating and conducting for Chinese-American superstar Wang Lee Hom, composer/ guitarist Kaki King, and Grammy Award-winning artiste Pablo Ziegler.
Over the years, she has also worked with musicians of different musical backgrounds such as Bill Elliot, Joe Carrier, Fernando Michelin, David Fiuczynski, Oscar Stagnaro, Ed Tomassi, Ken Zambello, Yoron Israel and Lee Abe, to name a few.
What are you working on now and what's next? “I am currently the pianist and keyboardist for RocNation’s newly signed artiste, Victory Boyd, who was discovered by Jay-Z himself.
“We recently performed on Good Morning America live show, and were on tour throughout the US with American actor and singer, Jussie Smollett [known for his role in HBO drama series, Empire].
“Aside from that, I am working on an original [track] Imaginasi with Malaysia’s ‘Gadis Keroncong’, Jamilah Abu Bakar, with music arrangements and orchestration fully produced by yours truly. We are hoping to release Imaginasi soon and are very excited about it.”
What is the American music scene like? “The American music scene is definitely competitive, but I believe [one should] never stop fighting for what you believe in and always stay humble in all that you do. Being in this industry has a lot of uncertainties, but that is also the beauty of being a musician.
“I believe strongly in working hard and to never stop fighting for what you’re passionate for. Pursue what you love to do, and do it because it’s your passion and it’s a part of your life and who you are. Regardless [of] where we are, there will always be work if we are willing to persevere and work hard.”
How do people react seeing an Asian performing alongside Americans? “From my experience, people would usually react with curiosity and approach me with questions about where I come from and I would always proudly acknowledge myself as a Malaysian. I love Malaysia very much; it’s forever my home because I grew up there and everywhere I go, I hold strong to my roots.”
How do you think Malaysia can make it to the international stage? “I think that someone would likely have to first step out of the country and become established internationally first, and then utilise their connections to bring in artistes from Malaysia and present them to the world by holding concerts or cultural events overseas, among many ways.”
Do you see yourself going solo? “Yes, I do see myself going solo one day. Mainly as an established arranger, orchestrator and producer, and having my own production label.”
What is your ultimate goal? “[To] give back to the society to the best of my abilities. I want to find ways to help the Malaysian music industry grow in every way possible, from providing free music education to the needy, donating funds generated from charity concerts to charitable organisations, to providing scholarships and sponsoring local talents who cannot afford higher music education overseas.”