CCM Magazine recently discovered a new artist we just had to tell you about…Sek Hao. Check out what he had to say to CCM and Christian music fans about himself and his new album Be.
CCM Magazine: Where are you from originally?
SEK HAO: Malaysia, the land of miracles!
CCM: If you had only five words to describe your new album, it would be…?
SH: Partially unpredictable, Eclectic, Electric, Intimate, Relevant
CCM: Do you have a favorite song from the new album? Why?
SH: Well, they’re all written out of a season that I was in at the particular times. So sadly, no – there isn’t a specific song from the album. But musically tho, I think I would really enjoy playing “Here” live!
CCM: What led you to pursue a career or ministry in music?
SH: It all started out back when I was 13 when I first stumbled across Switchfoot’s “Awakening” from the album, Oh! Gravity and I instantly fell in deep with the songwriting of the song along with the sound. And I remember telling God how it’d be cool to be some sort of a missionary of music, just like Switchfoot. A year after highschool, I decided to jump in the bandwagon to pursue my Bachelors in Contemporary Music majoring in vocals in UCSI University, a local university back in Kuala Lumpur. It was really a leap of faith without any formal music background but God made the way and He led me through the designated four years of my university life. It was after then, that I was approached by the record label I currently publish under, Jumuro Music, that I felt God was calling me to. Just a side note, our dreams are very much His. He cares about our dreams.
CCM: What are your hopes for the new project?
SH: Really just to relate to people. It could be the songwriting or the music, but really just to share and bless people with my life stories. And hopefully, inspire.
CCM: What was the last song you listened to on your playlist or stereo?
SH: “Watch Me Dance” by Tom Misch.
CCM: What was the last book you read?
SH: Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot
CCM: If you could tell the world about another artist/band to check out, who would it be?
SH: Mutemath, Switchfoot, Bombay Bicycle Club, Darren Ashley, SHN (artist on the rise!), Ryota Katayama
CCM: What has been interesting to you musically lately? Perhaps something new to you in terms of listening habits or influences?
SH: Recently, I’ve been really interested in the new wave of indie electronic pop music that’s currently on the rise and just the vibe it exudes. I have some hopes in expanding on various types of sampling into that sort of vibe.
CCM: When was the last time that you had a surprising or particularly memorable moment at a live show and what was it?
SH: Haven’t had a lot of shows to play unfortunately! But if there was one, it would be the Musicsynthesis show hosted by Jumuro Music. We were on the bridge of “Choose” (also one of the songs in the record) and people were totally vibing in their seats. Truly a sight to see!
CCM: How did you arrive at the name of your new album, Be?
SH: Essentially, all of these songs other than “Rest/Birth” were written as singles and then only planned to be compiled as an EP. The name of the album first came off when I met up with Basil Cha, visual designer for the album and my best friend to discuss about potential art directions for the record. We settled on “Be” being the title track to drive the album since it represented so well of majority of the seasons I was in while writing this record.
CCM: What can listeners expect in terms of the sound, style and lyrics?
SH: Sincerely, I’m hoping to find that answer out myself! I love the element of surprise in music so I’d definitely set that sort of expectation for listeners. Indie electronic rock is probably what I’d categorise the genre of the album but it’s flexible! I try to write from a place of honesty so my lyrics are mainly my personal perspectives of matters.
CCM: What’s the story behind your latest single?
SH: “Outshine” is based on a scenario I remembered during a show when I witnessed a good friend of mine put on something she didn’t feel absolutely empowered in because she was told to do so. (Not to say that what she wore was ridding her of her dignity, all was good) Inspired by the incident, I wrote the song to counteract what beauty was thought to be and that was that true beauty firstly comes from the inside rather than just the outside.
CCM: What was the songwriting process like on this record?
SH: Most times, it came from a choice to write based on an issue that was on my mind or some sort of inspiration and some times, some songs came from (I would say) pretty dark places. Places that needed the light of hope to shine upon.
CCM: Are there any underlying themes or threads that tie this project together?
SH: My personal journey in stepping out into an unfamiliar territory and the realities in walking the faith.
CCM: How important is your faith or spirituality within your music?
SH: Vital. The understanding of music as a means to influence and possibly change lives is absolutely true and that’s what makes the approach behind it so detrimental. For me personally, I make it a point to seek and find some sort of inclination to what the Spirit would want to speak in terms of an issue/subject.
CCM: What message do you hope listeners will take away from your music, regardless of what they believe?
SH: To the least, some sort of relevance and hope.