Yo VJC! We hope you enjoyed Lasting Affair 2016, also known as canVAs!
Surely, one of the highlights of the night for most of you would have been the performance by ShiLi & Adi, our celebrated singing duo. They brought the house down with their renditions of pop songs that got the entire audience singing along, and their rousing vocals (that got us singing along) were simply amazing.
The duo is made up of Yap Shi Li and Widya Adi Rachmadian (yes, he’s Indonesian), who met in Victoria Junior College and went on to study in NUS together. They are professional singers and have been named “Singapore’s Most Popular Duo” online, and it was really an honour for us to have them perform at Victorian Affair 2016. (For the article on Victorian Affair, click here.)
After the performance, The Victorian Press headed backstage for an EXCLUSIVE interview with ShiLi and Adi — and this is what they have to tell us!
Firstly, we asked them which batch they were from. “Do we really have to say?” giggled Adi, before revealing that they were in the class of 2004, the “03–04 batch”. Indeed, one of the teachers who taught at VJC in their time was Mr Seet, who felt proud and inspired to watch them perform.
We then asked them about the whole VA and how they felt the performance went.
“For me, the most important part is the energy of the crowd,” said Adi. “It’s really incomparable, so we can only get this kind of energy from VJ. It’s a really, really big homecoming for us.”
ShiLi agreed, saying “Yeah, I’m really surprised they were so enthusiastic and passionate about the performance, so we really had fun.”
We then moved on to a very common question — “What was your most memorable experience as a Victorian?”
On this question, Adi passionately recounted his experience with the Choir.
“I think one very life-changing moment for us is that we were both from VJ Choir; VJ Choir has been very established since then, so our batch especially — we went to Germany to represent Singapore for Choir Olympics in 2014, then we won the gold medal — 3 golds, including 1 champion. So the moment where our name ‘Victoria Junior College’ was announced as champion, we just screamed our hearts out, we hugged each other, we cried. We ran to the stage and then we sang Majulah Singapura for Singapore. That was the most defining moment for us, for me,” he gushed.
“I was also in the same CCA as him. We went through that together!” exclaimed ShiLi.
In general, though, there were other things that they remembered about Victorian life in general.
“To me, it was very intense lah,” quipped ShiLi. She was a student conductor in choir, so she had quite a lot of responsibilities.
Also, “I remember those mass dances. I’m not sure if the songs are still the same though! I really had a lot of fun doing it!”
“During our time, there were six mass dances, but I don’t know that song just now,” said Adi, referring to The Nights, which was played to end the event.
What were the dances in their time, then? We asked and ShiLi & Adi attempted to list out the names. They remembered La Bamba, Whiney Whiney, I Want You, Neutron Dance, the Friendship Dance and one more we could not name on the spot. (Editor’s note: The sixth would be the Tribal Dance. As of 2016, the Tribal Dance and La Bamba have been “replaced” in common usage by I Want You and The Nights, making a total of five dances currently.)
Adi also shared some insights about the Victorian Family. “I might add that I think that the friendships we made during VJC are really everlasting, they don’t die out. I think you students won’t know it now, but you will experience it when you come out to work, the network that you form in VJ — the bond is really unbreakable. Now you meet people, you meet random people, you didn’t know each other in VJ but you just click—”
“—immediately, through your association with VJC,” ShiLi finished his sentence.
“This kind of network is very precious for you when you are in the working world, and it’s all thanks to your college,” said Adi.
We then moved on to asking what they feel is the most interesting thing about performing professionally. On that, both ShiLi and Adi feel that it would be the people they interact with.
“I think music allows us to connect with different people, so there is no limit to who you can meet and who you can connect with at one point of time.” That, to ShiLi, is the beauty of doing music, as a performer and as a musician.
Adi concurred, saying, “For performances especially, we get to meet different kinds of crowds.” According to him, by reading the crowd, they learn how to play to the crowd’s tastes. “That’s the excitement that keeps us going in music because the crowd that you meet is always unexpected and you have to just suit the crowd.”
At this point, we recalled the video montage that we watched of ShiLi & Adi at Assembly, featuring their performances and photos. On that, we asked them to share their most memorable experience when performing.
“That would be our very first F1,” beamed ShiLi. They played for F1 for four years in a row. The first one was memorable for them because they were singing to the whole Cabinet of ministers, and the Prime Minister was there. “He personally came over to thank us after the performance.”
We wondered if that would be a stressful experience.
“Yes,” said ShiLi, “and also very exciting I guess.”
Adi, however, saw it differently. He feels that in performances, you cannot see something as stressful. Every different crowd requires a different approach from them, so when they know they are going to be performing to dignitaries, for example, “you just need to know the boundaries. But that’s all you need to know. I mean you don’t have to be stressful, you just have to be yourself and display the best that you can display, and the rest will take care of itself.” The best performances, according to ShiLi & Adi, are always when they are being themselves.
Finally, we asked them to share advice that they have for the current Victorian student bands or juniors who want to go into performing. On this, both ShiLi and Adi had a lot to say.
“I think if you want to be a full-time musician, or performer, you should just go for it, don’t let anything stop you from doing that. And if you know early, you should pursue that instead of waiting for time,” said ShiLi.
Adi took a slightly different tone. “For me, the message is education is important, so yes, please finish your school,” he said, smiling. “We all finished our schooling and got degrees. A passion is one thing, it’s lucky for us that we can have passion and profession in the same field, to be working in a field that we really, really love. So if you students one day get to see your passion, work on it, make it something that pays, that can make a life out of you, that’s the best that you can do.”
ShiLi ended off with these words of wisdom: “Some people finish their university. Some people know right away in JC what they want to do and just go for it. I think there’s no hard and fast rule. Just don’t limit yourselves.”
All in all, it was an honour to interview ShiLi & Adi and once again, we thank them for coming to perform at Victorian Affair 2016!
Ryan Ch’ng, 16S47