It is often said that there is no reward without risk, and Singaporean wunderkind Haven's story perfectly illustrates this.
The 19-year-old artist considers making music to be "what [she's] meant to do" but recalls having to deviate from the safer and more traditional route in order to turn it into a career.
"When I started out [making] music, I was still in school. So trying to balance both music and school was really tough because I didn't know how to manage my time. I didn't know how to prioritise different things and I would be so focused on music, but then I'd neglect school," recounts the singer-songwriter, who would then go on to put her studies on hold to pursue her dream.
"But that is obviously another hurdle because sometimes people ask me, "Oh, what are you going to do? What are you doing now? Are you in school?" And I'd be like, "No, I'm fully committed to my music," she shares.
Although the road less travelled is riddled with uncertainty, those who opt to take it — and stick to it — are often rewarded. In the case of Haven, the biggest payoff she has received to date is a place in the WILD Entertainment Group family.
Also home to fellow local artists Tasha Low and Dharni as well as international names such as Sorn and former Wonder Girls member Yubin, the global entertainment company, label, and marketing agency is where Haven has kickstarted an exciting new chapter in her career with the launch of her empowering new single 'Future Somebody'.
Speaking to Hear65 in an interview, Haven reveals the inspiration behind her debut single under WILD Entertainment Group, reflects on her journey so far, and talks about connecting with her fans on social media.
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Complete this sentence: When people listen to my music, I want them to .
I want them to go crazy
What’s the story behind the stage name that you’ve chosen for yourself?
I chose Haven. It's not actually my real name. I chose Haven because I wanted my songs to be a space, like a safe place. So I felt like Haven was just very fitting.
"I chose Haven because I wanted my songs to be a space, like a safe place."
Your new song ‘Future Somebody’ is described as an anthem about “self-discovery and empowerment”. What inspired you to write and record it?
Honestly, I just wanted to let myself experiment and to actually put myself out there because I felt like I didn't want to get myself into [a situation where I would be] like, "Hey, this is not..." Because it's something that I've never done before. I was a bit scared at the start but I thought, you know, I had to just go for it because who knew what would come out of it. And I was just very lucky that I had very supportive friends and especially my producer for guiding me throughout this whole time.
"I was a bit scared at the start. But I thought, you know, I had to just go for it because who knew what would come out of it."
Was there a particular personal experience that inspired it?
Yes, it is actually based on personal experience. You know, I was single for a very very long time and I felt like, "Oh, I can never find my future somebody, I couldn't find anyone to love me." And I'd beat myself [up] for it. I felt like that was how it started for the song. But after making and producing it, it started to form into a self-love, self-empowerment song. So it's all based on that.
The song features production from Zie of brb. How did he help to bring the story you wanted to tell to life?
He's great. He's so great. Okay, he wouldn't agree but I would say he's like a male version of me. I would give him really crazy ideas like, "Hey, can I have like some like demonic sounds? Can I have like some haunting sounds?" I just threw him stuff and he was like, "I know what you want." And then he just developed on that and made it even better.
"I feel like I just got accepted into this new home. And there are so many sisters, [and] so many brothers, and everyone is so loving and so supportive."
The single is your first release via Universal Music Singapore and WILD Entertainment Group, which also has artists such as Tasha Low, Sorn, and Yubin on its roster. What has your journey with WILD been like since you joined it in 2022?
Honestly, it feels like a family. I feel like I just got accepted into this new home. And there are so many sisters, [and] so many brothers, and everyone is so loving and so supportive. Every single time I meet them, they teach me a lot of things along the way. [I would say,] "Hey, do you know what to do with this? Do you know what to do with that?" And they would help me [with] that as well. We also love to make content together so we combine [and say], "Okay, let's do this." Stuff like that.
As a young artist navigating the local music scene, what are some hurdles that you’ve had to overcome so far?
When I started out [making] music, I was still in school. So trying to balance both music and school was really tough because I didn't know how to manage my time. I didn't know how to prioritise different things and I would be so focused on music, but then I'd neglect school. That was the first hurdle that came about, but ever since then, I've decided that I really want to pursue music and I know that this is what I'm meant to do and this is my passion. So I decided to stop schooling for the meantime. But that is obviously another hurdle because sometimes people ask me, "Oh, what are you going to do? What are you doing now? Are you in school?" And I'd be like, "No, I'm fully committed to my music." We're an Asian household, so [the response is] going to be a little bit like, "Huh? Really? No school?" I'm very grateful to have a very supportive mom and supportive friends [who helped me] get through that because I feel like I would have beaten up myself or I would have quit if it hadn't been for them. They've just been the greatest.
"I've decided that I really want to pursue music and I know that this is what I'm meant to do and this is my passion."
Besides making music, you’re also known for being a social media personality, particularly on TikTok. What goes through your mind when you’re creating content for social media?
I [will] just pull up my phone and go, "Okay, I'll record anything and everything.” If it works, it works. If it doesn't, it doesn't. I don't want to make it a business thing or something so planned out and so scheduled. I want to be real. I just want to be real on my social media platforms, especially on TikTok, so I just create any kind of content that I feel is coming to my head or is something I want to share with all of my fans or listeners.
"I don't want to make it a business thing or something so planned out and so scheduled. I want to be real."
What other kinds of content are you hoping to explore on social media moving forward?
I really want to try doing vlogs, but I'm so terrible because when I go out to do stuff, I would forget my phone. I would just lose my phone. But I do want to do vlogs. That's something that I'm actually quite interested in, but I can never bring myself to because I'm always so in the moment that I forget to record stuff.
Finally, share one short-term goal and one long-term goal that you have for yourself as an artist.
I want to release at least, maybe, two more songs before, let's say, September? I think that's the short-term goal for me. And then [for] the long-term goal, I really hope to come up with an album soon, work on EPs, and hopefully get to travel a lot more for my music and perform on bigger platforms as well.
This interview has been edited for clarity.