Sipping coffee with the delicious scent of pastries and coffee grounds wafting through the air at a cafe in Petaling Jaya, singer-songwriter NYK (full name Nicholas Ng Yungkit) and I are having a long overdue catch-up session. With the pandemic putting major social activities on pause, NYK laments that it has not been easy for musicians who rely on live gigs for income.
The 27-year-old was slated to appear at the annual Good Vibes Festival this year but the pandemic has scrapped the plan. In the past, he has performed as opening acts for and alongside the likes of HONNE, James Arthur and The Sam Willows.
In a year of uncertainties, one thing is for sure: NYK isn't about to let the pandemic bring him down and stop him from doing what he loves most. In fact, he's kept himself busy, making the most of social media and online streaming tools in place of the usual live performances.
"You lose a source of income and a platform to market yourself when you can't play at live gigs," says NYK, who adds that plans for an international tour were also shelved. "It's a challenge to promote your music at this time. It's a challenge creating music too; I have to work with my producer in Singapore completely online, which was rather inconvenient because of the time lag and scheduling issues."
If I reach a certain point when I can do shows overseas and pack venues, it will be a huge deal for Malaysia and the arts scene here. Even if I don't reach that stage, I can take heart that I'll be part of the movement, and hopefully the next generation would be able take it even further.