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Meet Eia, singer-songwriter from Brunei

"Hello World."

Profile Pic - EiaWhat do you do?

I am currently in my second year of a BA in Performing Arts, majoring in Pop Vocals. In my free time? Honestly, besides university and rehearsals? I like to curl up on my bed a watch a good movie. Probably a chick flick! But yes, I do go out, mostly to watch gigs done by friends and other artists. I also enjoy writing songs, reading new books and collecting CDs! Say NO to piracy.

Describe yourself in a few words.

Bubbly, outgoing, and optimistic :)

How long have you been away from Brunei, and what do you miss most about Brunei?

I have been away from Brunei since 2010 (did a Foundation in Performance first) and I would have to say that I miss my family and friends the most. But if I didn’t count that, then DEFINITELY the food. I miss the food so much! And how reasonably priced it is! (Thanks, now I am really craving some Nasi Katok and Thien Thien Chicken Rice :( not to mention Escapade and Lé Taj’s Indian food…)

Are there a few 'must-visit' places / events for students for a true Singapore experience?

Hmmm… if I were to bring you around in Singapore, I would most probably bring you on a food hunt. That is something you cannot not do if you come here. Other than that,  I would recommend coming during the times where there are Music Festivals going on, like “Timbré Rock and Roots”, “F1 Concerts”, “Music Matters”… not just because I am a musician, but because the vibe that you get is something you cannot experience in Brunei. Plus, you get to watch awesome shows! Coming back to the food… there are tons of tourist-y places, yes. But thanks to my local friends, I have discovered all of the little coffee shops and eating places that you would not normally step into. And oh! You should really hit Gardens by the Bay – it’s beautiful!

When did your musical journey start?

Really, really start? At the age of three. I started doing JMC (Junior Music Course) at YAMAHA, and then Piano at age five. I then started the violin and only in 2008 did I start proper vocal lessons. PJC Music School believed in me then, and granted me a Vocal Scholarship.

Click in the picture link below to hear a preview of "Hello World" by Maria Grace, a.k.a. Eia

Maria Radio 2

"With my dad, my producer and manager and sound engineer in Thailand"

Maria 3

"With a few friends after recent workshop"


What / When was your first public performance? What has been the highlight of your musical journey to date.

My first public performance was probably during a Piano Recital at YAMAHA when I was three, but other than that my first major performance would probably have to be Expression Music’s “The Dream Begins”, first major concert in their amazing chain of concerts they have done at The Empire Theatre / Jerudong Park.

Highlight of my musical journey to date… definitely working on my Album with the best team anyone could ever ask for. Performance wise, there are a few that I would have to name. The Jerudong International School (JIS) Concerts – if not for JIS, I definitely would not be the artist I am today. Singing In front of Prince Charles and Princess Camilla with the JIS Orchestra was priceless! As for Singapore, it was awesome performing with the LASALLE Rhythm Ensemble at Esplanade for the Sun Festival in 2010, being a part of the short set on the Roof Garden of MBS and doing charity concerts.

What opportunities has being in Singapore presented you with?

Singapore has really widened my perspective of the music industry, especially because in Brunei gigs and such are not common. I have done gigs and charity concerts here and there; these have introduced me to the most amazing musicians.

The BIGGEST opportunity Singapore has presented me with, was LASALLE bringing in my first producer, Joseph Curiale (composer and conductor for Santana, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross… to name a few) in. Thankfully I was brave enough to approach him after his talk, and he agreed to give me feedback on my songs and he really liked them! It was after this, that all of the recording stuff happened, getting introduced to Chris Craker (most recently the General Manager and Senior Vice President of the International Division of Sony BMG Masterworks) took place.

"My friends and I after watching Stevie Wonder at Java Jazz Music Festival, Jakarta"

Maria 1

"One of the many pictures I've taken of my fav artists at their concerts"

Maria 2

Who inspires your music?

My idols in the world of music would have to be people like Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Maroon 5, Mariah Carey, Adele and Jessie J. I also LOVE Zee Avi and Yuna. ASIAN PRIDE! I also love listening to Muse, Passion Pit, The Killers, Guns N Roses and Sigur Rós and Aretha Franklin.

Are there any Bruneian artists you are a fan of?

I love D’Hask, Feez Madea and Maria. I love their voices and their styles!

If given the chance, which artist(s) would you love to collaborate with?

Collaboration – performance wise? Top of my list would have to be artists like Christina Aguilera, Stevie Wonder and Maroon 5… to name a few. As for song-writing, I would have to say Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Adam Levine, Jessie J, Stevie Wonder and Sting. Oh, also The Script.




Where do you see yourself in three years?

I am going to be completely ambitious and say it here – doing concerts, hopefully touring with my amazing band and writing new material for a new album. In other words, a Pop Star!

Any shout-outs for friends and family back in Brunei?

Yes! To my family, I MISS YOU SO MUCH! To my friends and teachers at Jerudong International School, a big HI! (I cannot believe the Arts Centre had to be built AFTER I left) And to everyone else…don’t ever lose faith in yourself, always remember that anything is possible if you believe it!


Editor's Note: Maria or "Eia" is a local singer-songwriter currently training and growing creatively at the LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore. Previously a student at Jerudong International School, Eia recently debuted her first single, "Hello World" on Apple's iTunes store. As I read about her journey, I cannot help but think of the phrase "luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity".

I get the sense that Eia won't just be sitting around waiting for opportunities, but rather will be knocking on doors to bigger and greater things. This inspires me to do the same. Find out more about Eia via her Facebook Fan Page here.


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