Singapore Idol finalist Tabitha Nauser on how to succeed in the music industry, feminism in the workplace, and being her mum's legacy

By junior reporter Amanjot Kaur

From the moment she stepped foot onto the entertainment scene in 2009, she has not stopped working

By junior reporter Amanjot Kaur |

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Singing is hard work, Nauser says, but worth it anyway.

The path to stardom has always been in Tabitha Nauser’s blood. Nauser remembers seeing her mum, a Tamil singer, on TV when she was younger. Tamil is an official language of three countries: India, Sri Lanka, and Singapore.

“I grew up watching her,” the 2009 Singapore Idol finalist, who was in Hong Kong recently to promote her new single Rules, told Young Post. “It didn’t occur to me that it was her job – I just thought that it looked like fun. I love to sing, and she would sing all the time. It really made me want to follow her footsteps.”

Since finishing as the second runner-up in Singapore Idol, Nauser has dabbled in various aspects of the entertainment industry: acting on stage, radio DJing, and performing the theme song for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games.

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“I’ve been in three musicals,” the 26-year-old singer said. “I have never had any training in musical theatre acting, but I’ve always had the interest. When I had the chance to try it, I took it. I have so much respect for theatre: the actors, and how difficult their job is to act, sing, and dance in front of a live audience every night.”

Nauser’s career as a singer seems to have been cemented this year with the release of Rules. The song talks about the difficulties a person faces in life. The Singaporean’s aim was to create a track that would bring joy to those who feel down because of external pressures. The idea for the song, she said, came from personal experience.

“I’ve had some trouble with people I worked with earlier in my career who didn’t have my best interests at heart,” she said. “In the music industry, people can be pushy and [try to] tell you what to do.”

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Nauser went on to say that this isn’t just the case within the entertainment industry. “Women are told to change their manner of talking, their behaviour, and how they complete a given task. [With this song,] I’m just telling my girlfriends that they can do whatever they want to do. You know what’s best for yourself because you know what your heart and mind wants,” she said. “Just go out and do it! At the end of the day, if you put 100 per cent into it, then it will come back to you 100 per cent as well.”

A little self-reflection, she added, doesn’t hurt – nor does trusting your own instincts, no matter what others say or suggest. “You want to be honest in your music, and tell the truth with it as clearly as you can. I have realised, in the past couple

of years, that I should have trusted my gut a little bit more. I could have avoided certain situations [if I had]. These are things that you learn with time, though. Some people learn it faster than the others.”

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When asked how others can achieve the sort of popularity Nauser herself is currently experiencing, the singer said that there’s no magic formula or a single answer she can give. Every person, she said, is different, which means breaking out in the music industry is different for everyone, too. One of the important things, though, is not to go into singing looking for fame.

“Know why you are pursuing it and love what you do,” she advised instead. “It takes time. It’s not an easy job, so always work hard. I think people see the pretty side of singing, but they don’t really understand that a lot of hard work goes into it. Respect the craft, work hard, and it will work out.”

Edited by Ginny Wong