YouTube has been good to Robynn Yip
|By Junior Reporter Kylie Lee|
Recently, a singing competition was held on YouTube to find the next Asian pop star. Out of more than 600 contestants to enter Hummingbird Music's Brand New Star 2010 contest, one star shone brighter than the rest: Robynn Yip Ching-ching. Her prize was a professionally produced new song and music video.
'It was like a dream come true - everything was so surreal,' says Yip. 'I'm really grateful for what's happening to me. The prize is exactly what I dreamed of.'
Yip graduated from Northwestern University in the United States with a degree in human development and psychological services, and is a part-time therapist for autistic children in Hong Kong. Though helping children is dear to her heart, making music has always been her dream.
Now in her early 20s, she has mastered vocal skills and the piano, and recently taught herself to play the guitar. With a jazzy, soothing voice, and the determination to be true to herself, she says she has prepared herself for a professional career by being open-minded and taking chances. She started out by jamming with her university friends. She bought more instruments and set up a mini-studio at home, filming and sharing homemade videos of herself singing on YouTube. She started writing her own songs when she was 18. The song Perfect Little Soul, which she sang in the first round of the competition, was written for a child she met at work.
And all her songs are inspired by her own experiences. 'I can't write a non-personal song. You have to be real,' Yip says.
On her YouTube channel, Yip showcases a wide variety of videos, including covers of songs sung by famous artists, and crossovers with other local YouTube artists. To polish her performance skills, she also organises live gigs and mini-concerts with her musician friends at Backstage, a bar and restaurant in Central.
'Music is a way to express myself,' Yip says. '[It makes me] relaxed and more honest [with my feelings]. It's like telling my stories.'
YouTube has long been a stage for talented young people to show the world what they've got and a platform which brings music lovers together. It's a place where many singers have made their name and gone on to sign record deals.
But Yip warns that the internet can be a harsh place where candid criticism is common. Even so, she enjoys sharing her music.
'It's about being honest and being yourself,' she says. 'Go for it if you have something to share, because you never know what's in store for you.'
Yip is looking forward to becoming a professional singer one day. 'It's just the beginning,' she says excitedly.
Hear Yip sing