Born to entertain
Article from the Sun daily by Rachel Law (posted on 21 April 2015)
THANKS to his parents, friends and a Rastafarian cousin, Jaysoninder Singh Walia aka Jay Walia grew up to a colourful playlist that ranges from reggae to religious and rock.
When he turned 17, the Subang Jaya bloke was determined to make the entertainment scene his home. Ten years later – with a single, an EP and a law degree under his belt – Walia finally unveiled his debut studio album Romantik Eklektik.
The eight-track compilation which he wrote (in Malay) and produced in a year was released in February.
"I took my time learning about the field and what I do. I had singles and collaborations but you pick up new things as you go along.
"You may sing well but if you can't perform well, people will think you have a crappy album. So it was only after I won a Shout Award in 2013 that I decided I'm ready for an album. But the storyline behind it took a lifetime," said Walia, who towers at 1.85m.
The University of London alumni also presents in English, being the face of entertainment talk show V'Buzz on Astro Vinmeen HD alongside Juanita Ramayah.
"I don't separate myself as a singer, host or actor. To me, Jay Walia is an entertainer at the end of the day," shared the 27year-old.
Have you always wanted to do law?
My dad just wanted me to get out of the house and do something (laughs). I'm very bad at math and law was an option where talking and people skills were valued. When I set out to do law, the difficult part was memorising facts but actual litigating and presenting your points are no different from getting someone to buy your album.
Which is your favourite track in the album and why?
How do you choose your favourite baby? I would say Gadis Masa Hadapan because it's the most personal and it took the longest to write. It's an open letter to your future love. I've always wanted to explore that concept because everyone talks about someone they know. But to arrive to that mindset you need to go to a place that's very lonely.
What is it like having Altimet as your mentor?
I've got great people around to guide me and Altimet is someone who's very close to me. I've known him for a decade now. He's not the sort to spoon-feed and pamper you, and most of the time he has no hesitation telling me if I'm doing something stupid. It's a great way to learn. I didn't finalise the album until he has heard every song.
How do you spend your time off-air?
I think. Me-time is very important because you cannot write thoughtprovoking lyrics if you don't spend time thinking. I also watch sitcoms and talk shows to get ideas, hang out with my brother and friends from the industry – there's a lot of conversations scheduled in.
What's in store for the year ahead?
I want to push the album as far as I can. I'm on V'Buzz for the whole year and I hope to get acts that we don't usually see during prime time. I'm hoping to land a sitcom as well. I would say comedy is one of my strongest qualities; I don't have a problem making a fool out of myself in the name of entertainment. I'm already working on an English single, Not Thinking About You – hopefully it'll be released in May or June. It's nothing like what you think the title suggests.
Portfolio: R&B singer, talk show host and commercial actor
All-time favourite album: NSYNC's self-titled debut album
Favourite food: Chicken rice
His cup of tea: Honey and lemon
Fur kid: Sheru (Little Tiger in Punjabi) the mongrel