A HUSH falls over the audience, and a girl begins to sing. Sarah Vaughan said: “When I sing, trouble can sit right on my shoulder and I don’t even notice.” That is visibly true for Devi as she serenades the people gathered to watch the first story at the ‘Verse In Prose’ one-year anniversary event.
Devi Hangsoth is 14 years old and Khmer and attending Kent Ridge International School. Devi wants to be on stage. This has been a dream of hers for the last four years, ever since she was asked to perform at a friend’s wedding. It was the response from that event that helped her realise she has talent.
Since then she has performed for a number of audiences including being a contestant on ‘The Voice Kid Cambodia’. She plans to perform even more, as well as applying for ‘Xfactor Cambodia’ next year if possible.
Beyond talent, Devi also has a drive and love for music. In an interview with Youth Today, she told us: “Music is something that can make your way out, and you can express your feelings through the lyrics and through the beat. People around me told me to achieve my dreams, and I have the strength to do it.”
Since the Verse in Prose event, Devi has also been creating original music. She is inspired by Lady Gaga, and often finds inspiration for music in social media. Injustice matters to her, and she plans to incorporate issues with real meaning into her music.
However, Devi faces many roadblocks on the way to stardom. Her biggest concern right now is her parents, who according to her, are having trouble understanding her drive to sing professionally, and who prefers her to aim for a more practical career choice.
In fact, the only reason she has been able to participate in events like Verse In Prose has been her teacher at Kent Ridge International. This way, these events are framed as an academic activity, which her parents allow.
This situation is also true for upcoming events like the 15th annual STEM festival, at which Devi will be rendering an American country music rendition of Boyle’s Law. Without her teacher and her school’s help, becoming a part of this event to showcase her talent would have been difficult to achieve.
Another hurdle is Devi’s age. Many events have an age requirement, or at a minimum parental consent for a minor. Not only that, but she has to balance school and social concerns with her music career.
For now, those challenges are keeping her dream at bay. Devi said her plan is to start recording original music and begin her music career after school ends. Then she plans to post her original music on Youtube and from there on, find promoters.
Ten years from now, Devi sees herself on the big stage, or touring the world, but for now she has to score good grades and win over her parent’s approval. If you like to hear a small sample of her music (she’s promised us she will post more videos soon), check out Devi’s Youtube page: