PETALING JAYA: Among the many Malaysians adversely affected by the Covid-19 lockdowns, performing artistes were among the worst hit.
With venues shut down and live events postponed, many lost their rice bowls and were forced to find other means to earn a living.
However, even in the face of adversity, some of these artistes persevered and honed their craft in anticipation of better times.
Among them was DJ and music producer, Sean Leng, who goes by the stage name, 7UFO.
At the start of the pandemic in 2020, Leng struggled to adapt but chose to continue his passion of deejaying despite the unfavourable circumstances.
Fast forward to 2022 and Leng has certainly bounced back from his troubles to achieve new heights that even he could not have imagined.
Just this year alone, he signed a song of his to a London music label; no small feat for a self-taught artiste.
His newest song, “Everyday”, is thus likely to reach the ears of audiences around the globe and hopefully, it will be Leng’s first of many successes.
Leng is currently based in the UK, having been there since August last year for “performance, work and studies.”
Speaking to FMT, Leng shared how his life and music has changed in the past two years and what direction he hopes his life will take next.
“Since the pandemic, I’ve been working on perfecting my craft and focusing on the tech house and house genres. I’ve also been working on collaborations with different artistes from Europe and America,” he shared, adding that he already has songs awaiting signing.
According to him, he has moved on from his hip-hop origins to try something new. “I’ve been trying to find my sound as a music producer and to make something that I really want.”
While Leng continued to make music to please his audience, he felt that he wanted to make something that he himself was proud of.
“So, I eventually found my sound in house and tech house and since then, I’ve been enjoying myself,” he said.
For the uninitiated, the tech house genre has its origins in techno, with an emphasis on rhythms and drops. “It’s a trending genre among Western audiences.”
He admitted however, that the transition was no bed of roses, as many of his fans had followed him because of his hip-hop work.
Hence, it was a challenge to create something new without leaving behind everything that he was known for. However, by blending his old and new genres, he created “Everyday”, which has gone over well with old and new fans.
“I’m currently in Leicester and the music scene here is very wide. There are lots of genres you can find here. Prior to making this song, I attended many music events that inspired me to mix these genres together,” he said. “That’s how ‘Everyday’ was made.”
As to how he got his music signed on, he said that the label, Exigo Records, had long earned his respect for supporting young, fledgling artistes like himself.
Once Leng approached them and understood what music it was they were looking for, it was only a matter of time before his music got signed on June 17.
Spending time in the UK has also allowed Leng to get a glimpse into how the music scene there differs from that in Malaysia.
“There are a lot of people here who are open-minded to different genres. In Malaysia, the only music you can sell for a club to profit is commercial electronic dance music,” he said.
“That is quite sad as there are only a few places playing house music in Malaysia.”
So, what’s next for Leng? In addition to creating more music, he is still pursuing his studies in business and management. “It’s been actually quite easy to balance. In the night, I produce my music. And during the day, I study.”
Although he has little to no support from his family for his music career, he remains hopeful for the future. “Maybe in the future, I might just start my own music label!”