PETALING JAYA: After nervously performing some of her original compositions at an Open Mic Malaysia event in 2017, Faith Ling was astonished when the organisers asked her to come back to record her songs.
“That’s when I realised, Oh, people can relate to the songs that I write and they like my music and think that I sound good,” she said, sounding still surprised.
Faith, a 19-year-old Malaysian singer-songwriter, radiates an ever-smiling, cheerful disposition.
Beyond her bubbly personality, however, lies a hauntingly poignant voice, and her lyrics display a maturity beyond her years, moulded by the experiences in her life so far.
“Songwriting, for me, only happens when I’m feeling a certain emotion or when I’m in a certain place in my life,” she told FMT.
“Sometimes that involves heartbreak; sometimes it involves me reflecting and deciding on writing a song about this experience that I had.”
Armed with her acoustic guitar, the first-year law student released her debut record “Letters from the Garden” in July 2019.
She has been putting melodies and words together ever since she was 11, but began songwriting in earnest at 16.
“I’ve kind of been songwriting for most of my life because I express a lot of myself through words. And I think that kind of became an actual thing in 2016 when I got my heart broken by a guy.
“I went on to write a song about him and shared it on YouTube, and people were like, Oh, this is pretty good!”
Her mother started her on piano lessons when she was just six and has always had faith in her. She still counts her mom as her biggest supporter, saying she goes to her gigs and gives her feedback, highlighting what she should work on.
“Even if the gig involves going to some shady bar where everyone smokes, everyone’s swearing and drinking alcohol, which is not her scene, she’ll still follow me to support me and cheer me on,” she said, beaming proudly.
When asked how it feels being able to perform and sing to an audience, she said she doesn’t feel like she deserves to be in her shoes.
She got the chance to perform at No Black Tie, one of the venues she had always wanted to play at, after a friend roped her in for the gig.
“When I got to play there with a bunch of really talented singer-songwriters, I felt super blessed because I didn’t think I deserved it at all.
“There are a lot of times when I’m on stage and I look at the crowd, and I can’t believe I’m there.
“I don’t deserve the opportunity to do this, but yet I have it, and it makes me treasure it all the more,” she said.
Since she started studying law at university her music career has necessarily gone on the back burner, but she is hoping to return to the local music scene soon.
For now, she’s still figuring out how to balance her music, studies, family and friends.
“I have a lot of dreams. My goal is to play at the Good Vibes Festival or at some big show, but hopefully, I’ll get to write more music next year.
Until the new music arrives, her current records can be found on Spotify and Apple Music.
“I’m in the midst of planning another album, so we’ll see how that goes. I’m not really sure how that’s going to gel with my studies and all that, but I want to do it all!” she said, brimming with excitement.
Faith’s music can be found at her Spotify artist page.