She just released her much awaited music album, Panic Bird and her recent single ‘Dawn’ has been generating a lot of buzz in social media. Making music day and night, we had to catch up with the Sabahan-born songstress, Michelle Lee, the brainchild behind Froya, for an interview! Taking this opportunity, we asked Froya about her album Panic Bird and a lot of other random questions!
Q: We understand Froya refers to the goddess of beauty, love and sexuality in Norse mythology. Why did you choose this as your stage name?
Believe It or not, I actually juggled a few letters to get “Froya” before knowing what it actually meant… All in all, I thought that it was a simple yet elegant name that I could instantly remember or relate to it. The second I looked up online for its meaning, I was sold! Glad that I picked this name, no regret! (Apart from getting mistaken by Froyo frozen yoghurt a few times!)
Q: During the day, you’re an award winning composer for commercials and films and at night – you’re busy making your own music. What else do you do beside music?
I try to brush up on my baking skills when I get some free time. That’s my retiring plan when I’m old and grey; when my creative brain cells have drained out and too weak to perform. At least I could make a living by selling some mean cupcakes or some signature heavenly cakes.
Q: You have an eye for perfection – this shows in the production of Panic Bird. If there was one thing you could do differently for Panic Bird – what would it be?
This could go on forever… There are so many things in this album that I wanted to do differently! I’m not sure I would call this album perfect because it solely just me writing a bunch of songs, recording events, moulding or searching my sound. Basically I have no idea what I was doing but I think that’s alright.. Because I just want to express myself. Looking back, I would change a lot of things in this album but I think it has the beauty on its own; it still has this beautiful value of its own. It reminds me about where I come from and also served as a good learning curve for my songwriting and production skills towards the next album.
Q: Panic Bird girl is about you – a girl who comes to a big city, struggles to find her place. What was the biggest challenge you faced when you first made the transition from Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Lumpur?
The biggest challenge was myself. I have low self esteem, zero confidence, shy, naive… I wasn’t as tough as I thought living in the big city. There was a lot “growing up” that needed to be done and I’m glad that I’ve been through that to shape who I am today. I’m still shy today, but I learnt how not to let that side of me affect what I do.
Q: Music making is an intricate and long process – what aspect of music-making do you love? (composing, arranging, songwriting, etc?)
I love all of it! I love the process of composing a simple idea, sound or melody; pairing them with different arranging ideas, sound or groove, record editing and final mixing it.. I just love producing and yes, it’s a cave that I would happily be in for days to produce one track.
Q: Most interviews have you asked to select a track which you personally love – our question is, given the choice, which track you would choose if you had the opportunity to work on it again?
I would say Sealed Jar.. All because while I was arranging horn sections for a song during my album launch in April, I ended beating myself up for not thinking of incorporating a horn section into the track. it really brought it to a cool place, but i guess that meant everyone at the show truly got the best version of that song!
Q: You have played in numerous music concerts and opened for many artists – which concert/gig has been most meaningful?
It would definitely be the “Panic Bird Album Launch” Curated by Guinness Amplify! It was such an emotional day, alnost like a graduation day of my life . I am so thankful to Guinness Amplify for sponsoring that day. From where I was coming from a low self esteem girl who knows nothing about the music industry and finally getting so much support is beyond my little ‘Panic Bird’ mind… Again, so grateful!
Q: One Malaysian talent that you would love to work with.
Too many! OJ Law? He works just one kilometer away from my studio and I’ve always had a soft spot for his work, perhaps that would happen..
Q: Fun question – You are now deserted in an island and you could only pick 2 people and 2 items to bring along – who and what would it be?
Rosie my dog and my boyfriend (a real life walking encyclopedia); frying pan and sleeping bag.