Timing is almost as important as talent in the music industry. Up-and-coming singer-songwriter Ahy Choi, a first year Hong Kong Polytechnic University student, thinks this is a good time to release her debut album. The album, an EP titled Homemade, was released last Friday. It is a collection of light, guitar-driven songs, with some instrumental tracks and three music videos. The songs convey Ahy's thoughts about daily life and her reflections on love. Later this month, she will publish an illustrated book to elaborate on the themes of her music. Such personal music by a young unknown and without strong backing from a mainstream music company, would have been unlikely to make the charts a decade ago when sweet, formulaic pop ruled the industry. 'The music scene has improved a lot,' said Ahy. 'More mainstream singers are willing to try new things or add innovative elements to their songs. Many musicians just starting out in the industry already know how to write songs and sing. Hong Kong people now place higher demands on singers - good looks are not enough.' Ahy, 20, signed with independent music label J-Sonic after being spotted singing for the non-profit group Wholala Organisation, which organises street performances. Ahy started writing songs and recording demos when she was in secondary school. Her musical talents are complemented by a girl-next-door image and a gift for drawing. 'To me drawing, writing and singing are the same thing. When I write a song it's not just a melody. There are also pictures and words in my head,' said Ahy. 'I'm not good at talking and I don't know how to share my thoughts with people. Art and music are great means to express myself.' Ahy said she writes songs to encourage herself when she's feeling low, which is why her music tends to be light-hearted. The lyrics in Happiness In A Bottle, Puppet and Rice Fragrance read like the diary entries of a sentimental girl thinking about dreams and love. 'I write about things that I've experienced. There's a real-life story behind each song,' said Ahy. Ahy wants to share her stories with others. 'Releasing the album is a dream come true for me. Over the past few years, I've written a number of songs that I hoped to share with more people. Getting feedback will help me to improve and bring me greater happiness.' But more exposure means more pressure. Ahy said it's important to keep a cool head. She keeps reminding herself of the reason behind playing music - to make herself and other people happy. 'The record company and I have agreed that I must complete my degree [in Language and Communication],' Ahy said. 'When I signed with the label, I thought I'd just give it a try. I still don't put too much emphasis on results. The process is the most enjoyable part.'