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THE LIFE! INTERVIEW WITH LEONARD SOOSAY

Champion of music talent

Music producer Leonard Soosay is passionate about using his skills to mentor upcoming artists

Published on Jun 30, 2014 7:16 PM
 

When he was a teenager, music producer and studio owner Leonard Soosay had a crush on a Catholic Junior College (CJC) student, so he would hang around the canteen of the school in Whitley Road, hoping to meet her, never mind the fact that he was from another school, Temasek Junior College in Bedok.

He did not get the girl but some of her schoolmates were sizing him up. They went on to form local synth-pop group Breaking Glass.

Soosay recalls the story with glee as it was this band that led to his life-long involvement with the home-grown independent music scene and his status as one of its prime movers.

He says: "To blend in, I even contemplated buying a CJC uniform. But these guys were checking me out instead and, when we got talking, we discovered that we were all into Depeche Mode and we all played keyboards. So we decided to form a band and go jamming."

 
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Background story

My life so far

“I told her, ‘Mummy this is what I really want to do’ and my mother said, ‘OK, if you are really serious about this, then we will pay for your school fees’. My dad was very cool, he left it up to me. My mum was worried but then, me being so far from home, I think she would rather get a call from the school than get a call from the police.”

Leonard Soosay, on dropping out of his economics course at York University in Toronto to study music production at the same city’s Harris Institute For the Arts. His parents found out only when York University called his mother to say that he had not been paying his school fees

“It was my proudest moment because it marked a new era in local music. Before that, local music was confined to jamming studios or community centres and other venues in Singapore. It was the first time seeing a Singapore band on an international stage playing to an international audience in America. It dawned on me at that time that I had actually made a difference to the scene and that anything was possible.”

On accompanying local indie rock band Electrico on their first performance at one of the United States’ biggest music industry events, South By Southwest (SXSW), in 2007. Soosay produced all their albums, was co-arranger for their songs and acted as their sound engineer for their live shows

“Our claim to fame was when we were asked to write a jingle for what was then a new and upcoming (beauty and body care) company called Ginvera. The first television commercial that featured the jingle had a young Fann Wong, then an unknown 16-year-old model. That commercial helped to put her in the public eye. Ginvera ended up using the jingle for nine years.”

On synth-pop group Breaking Glass, a Depeche Mode-influenced act that performed at many teenage girls’ house parties and restaurants such as Jack’s Place in the mid- to late-1980s