The Freshman Interview (Featured Artist)
Today we welcome The Freshman! We are very blessed to have such wonderful women on God giving up their time and energy to meet with us today! We hope that you are blessed and encouraged by their words!
The Freshman Interview
Carrie Yeo and Chen Diya from The Freshman
NSC: Church you attend or serve in?
Church of Singapore Balestier
NSC: Did you become a Christian before or after you got involved with music/entertainment?
Carrie: I became a Christian after I joined the entertainment industry.
Diya: I grew up in a Christian family, so technically I was born a Christian!
NSC: When and How did you become a Christian?
Carrie: When I joined Project Superstar (a talent search competition on national TV), I met Diya and we became quick friends. Because I am actually a Malaysian, Diya kindly offered to let me stay over at her place whenever we have late nights at the TV station. I then became very close to her family, especially her mother. They are a lovely Christian family. I saw how they love others with such open hearts and generosity, eventually understood that they can be so joyful and loving because God loved them first. I started attending their church and was touched by Jesus, not without some struggles, as I came from a non-believer family background. One day, I parked my car at a dodgy place. When I came back and realised my car was not locked, I was sure my valuables would be taken. When I got into the car and found that everything was intact, I “heard” God saying “Don’t worry, I’m protecting you.” I started crying uncontrollably in my car, feeling so happy and warm like I’ve never felt before. And I knew, God is real.
Diya: Even though I was born into a Christian family and grew up in church, I think a big part of my commitment and salvation happened during my first few years in the industry where I struggled a lot with God and really came to understand the true meaning of the grace of God and his death on the cross for our salvation.
NSC: How has that shaped the work you do? Does it have a huge influence on your work?
Carrie: Oh, it has tremendous effect. I’ve always loved singing. But I was singing for myself, which is really not much. I was lost, and I didn’t know why I was singing? Who am I singing for? After I became a Christian, I felt this strong sense of purpose. Now I know, I sing for Jesus, to spread the love and to spread the gospel. Also, I am no longer scared of going on stage, because Jesus is with me.
Diya: I think he is everything I am today. I never envisioned myself going down this path, never imagined I’d sail through auditions in a nationwide singing competition, never imagined leaving the competition with any accolades, never imagined there would be so many angels in my life who would play such small but integral parts in getting me on this path. Everytime it feels like I can’t go on anymore, I look back on these events and I can only say that God opened the door for me, door after door, and that he must have his purpose and plan. I don’t have visions of what we will do, but with each and every obstacle that comes in my way, God never fails to show me his way, to remind me that he is there, and to give me not just worldly success and fame, but a simple peace in my heart, that he is with me, and I have to learn to trust not in my strength, but his!
NSC: How do you think artists who are Christians can help to shape culture more?
Carrie: I think we definitely have our influences (as limited as it may be), to share about love. Loving yourself, loving our neighbours and of course Loving God. We, the Freshman, like to write songs about love. Haha! We like to weave God into our secular songs. And I hope that when our fans eventually learn the true meaning behind our songs, it will reveal God to them. But that’s all in God’s hands.
Diya: Like what Carrie says, we can’t have expectations of how artists like us can shape the world or it’s culture. I think as much as we can, we try to be as real and as true as possible. Yes, we’re Christians. Yes, we’re artists. But no, we’re not perfect, and we fumble and fall as much, if not more than all of you out there. But God is our anchor, and we can live and sing a God-inspired life and songs and hope that it will be glorifying and that he will be able to use us in ways, big or small.
NSC: What is the band/singer that has had the most influence on you?
Carrie: It’s so hard to choose one! HA! I don’t think there’s any particular band/singer that has had the most influence on me! But I admire singer/band that stands for something! Like Bono standing up for human rights. Like Jason Mraz whose tunes are so joyful and full of love and hope.
Diya: I’d say, Carrie has had the most influence on me. It’s not been easy to work with me (I know!) and we’re just such different characters. I’ve changed a lot over the years, for the better I like to believe! And a big part of why I think I’ve grown up to be a better friend, daughter, musician, partner and Christian is because of Carrie. She’s taught me a lot, and given me a lot of grace, even before she became a Christian! She’s also given up and given in a lot of her own quirks in order to sometimes allow me free reign in the creative moment of things and I think this has really helped and allowed to be to develop as a better singer and person. I could learn a lot about love and life in songs, but I think I’ve learnt even more in the process of living life and singing songs together with a sister-in-Christ like her.
NSC: Are there any projects, songs, shows that you are working on right now?
Carrie: Yes of course. We are hoping to release a new album this year! But praying and fasting for clearer direction from God.
Diya: We’ve got a showcase at Esplanade coming up on February the 15th 2013, and it’s going to be a challenge for us to re-invent and re-live songs from our first album. We also really hope to have new material to share, but I’m not going to give myself too much stress in that area. As of now, I think we really just want to make sure the songs we’ve put so much heart and soul into get another chance to be heard, and hopefully to be felt!
NSC: If you had one piece of advice for any aspiring Christian artists out there, what would you say?
Carrie: It sounds generic to say “in all things seek Him first”. But it’s so true. I have gone through so much heartache and dissappointment. Many times, we let our own expectation and our own definition of success get in the way, and we get very depressed and disappointed. But whenever my heart goes back to Jesus, when my eyes turn back to focus on Jesus, good things happen. I’m calmer and happier, because I know that God will lead the way and I shall be patient. So, yah, in all things seek Him first and just focus on the beauty of our Lord.
Diya: If you’ve read the parable about the Prodigal Son, my advice would be to read it again. It really depends what sort of a relationship you THINK you have with Jesus, what kind of a Christian you believe you are. Sounds cryptic, I know. But pray and seek for wisdom above all, and for an added portion of love and grace, not just for others, but for yourself as well. I used to think I was the Prodigal Son, having gone down the not so usual path (as compared to the brother who is a scholar and a fine young man with a beautiful family that I love!) until I realized that as a Christian, I lived more like the self-righteous elder Son who never understood the Father’s love. So please, read that parable again!
The entertainment circle isn’t any darker or brighter than any other industries out there, the only difference is that a lot of what say or do gets amplified into the open and the consequences of that have a wider reach and impact. Manage your expectations, and always, always keep your gaze upon the Him.
NSC: Thank you ladies for your open and honest answers. We are truly blessed to call you our sisters and will keep praying for both your life with God, with each other, and your ministry in song! We look forward to having you back at NewSong Collective!
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