Since COVID-19 set ablaze, there is one community that we have come to appreciate more than ever – our healthcare workers, nay, heroes. They have worked tirelessly in hospitals and clinics tending to the sick. Yet, they go days and weeks without getting to meet their families back home to keep them safe, they are surrounded by illness and negativity, and even if they’re drained, they never run from their duties. They may be the healers, but after all that they’ve been through, I think they’re the ones that need the healing.
One such individual is Shaun Tan, a 26-year-old Singaporean doctor that tends to the Emergency Department at NUH. He is a healer, but to him, music itself is a healing source. Through the difficult times, he has always relied on music to comfort his heart. And today, Shaun asserts that music isn’t just his healing; it’s a passion.
Shaun’s love for writing songs was what ignited the flame of passion for music. This flame has been burning and spurring him on, and today, we finally see Shaun making his dreams come true as he emerges as a folk-pop singer-songwriter. Taking on the stage name Shonn, he released a music video to his debut single, Worth The Wait, on 25 June, from his upcoming 5-song EP, Solace!
I had the opportunity to ask him some questions about this new venture, and I’m so excited to share his story!
As mentioned, the flame of passion in Shonn has been burning for the longest time – in fact, he performed in front of a crowd for the first time when he was just 11! Singing at church soon became a norm for him, and even sooner, he found himself falling deeper and deeper in love with the art.
When a feeling gets so intense, you know you have to do something about it. And that’s how Shonn decided to work on his music alongside his role as a medical professional. Releasing his own music soon became a dream, one he knew he had to make come true to truly bring solace to his heart. And despite the ongoing pandemic, Shonn has always found ways to set aside time to work on his music. That, ladies and gents, is true passion.
Shonn’s debut single, Worth The Wait, was released on 25 June, alongside a music video on YouTube. It was filmed amidst the rich greenery of Coney Island! The gentle and cool hues of the visuals make for a very dreamy music video that complements the story Shonn is trying to tell.
The story is about finally finding ‘the one’, the one you’ve waited your whole life for, and realised that life with them is so much more perfect. Shonn writes this song out of experience, as he shared that he himself had to wait a long time for the one that he could journey the rest of life with, someone who made him feel whole and happy. “As the lyric of the song goes, I felt that of all of the girls out there, she was the one who was worth the wait,” Shonn shared. Aww!
We know that Shonn has a different style, but what truly sets him apart from other musicians is his background as a medical professional, a doctor. The things that he and more in the medical field have seen are atrocious. Being caught in an environment of constant stress, panic, uncertainty, negativity, and fear, is one of the most difficult things ever. So many thoughts run in their minds, so many emotions take over the heart – how do they heal from what they see, do, and experience?
Shonn shares that music was his partner through it all. He uses music as the avenue of expression, to let it all out. He even draws inspiration from his daily experiences and encounters for his songwriting. Shonn said, “Having worked amid the pandemic, I’ve seen the fatigue it can bring to both healthcare professionals as well as patients and their families. This has inspired me to write a song recently about holding on to hope during these times.”
Hence, the name of the EP was born – Solace. He wants his music to be a source of solace to the souls of those trapped in darkness. He is a healer physically, but mentally too; he wants to heal people. Such is the true soul of a musician and a doctor.
When asked what he was looking forward to for his career beyond the pandemic, Shonn shared, “to be able to perform my music for people and do live gigs. I think live music is something that music lovers have been missing ever since the start of the pandemic.” That is so well-said.
Shonn’s story is an inspiration to one and all – never allow yourself to give up on your dreams and your passion. If you love something and want something, you have to work for it. Shonn works in one of the most competitive and raging fields there is, and he still worked hard to launch his music career that he’s been dreaming about since he was just a kid.
You can do it too!
Visuals courtesy of Shonn.