TEDxKenyalang Preview: The Man Behind The Scene

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RECEIVING Best Theme Song trophies for his song he performed and produced alongside Zee Avi, “Arena Cahaya” during the Golden Horse Film Festival 2016.
ALVIN Wee (left) in a red carpet picture.
ALVIN works behind the scenes, perfecting his crafts and producing masterpieces.

THERE is always those people behind the scenes in a production, people that are not in the spotlight but without their contribution, a production will not be able to succeed. People whose names appear in the credits that no one really bothers to look for, and yes, without these people, the whole production may not be able to deliver well to its audiences. Such is so for 29-year-old Alvin Wee, who is convinced that his soul is 200 years old while his girlfriend thinks he is 5.

The funny man hails from Kuching, Sarawak and is currently residing in Los Angeles, California. His behind the scene works includes being a music producer and a sound engineer, and his past collaborations has been with famous names such as Hans Zimmer, Pharell Williams, Roberta Flack, Jay Chou, Jesse Carmichael of Maroon 5, Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy, and Zee Avi to name a few.

Not to forget the original soundtracks he has made for international movies such as Kingsman 2 : The Golden Circle, Kung Fu Panda 3, The Zookeeper’s Wife, Jack Reacher 2 : Never Go Back and Ola Bola. He also produces music for games such as Resident Evil VII, Metal Gear Solid V : The Phantom Pain, and many others. In 2017, he co-wrote and produced the song “Together We Rise” with composer Rendra Zawawi and singer/lyricist Leah Dennis.

The song performed by Jaclyn Victor and Vince Chong became the theme song for this year’s 28th SEA Games closing ceremony recently held in Kuala Lumpur. While his work is primarily behind the scenes, his most recent produced song for Zee Avi won the Best Theme Song at the Golden Horse Film Festival 2016, Alvin also enjoys performing from time to time.

Always interested to path his journey into the music entertainment world, Alvin started with ABRSM Piano Lessons before picking up electric guitar at the age of 12. “I was inspired by guitarist Paul Gilbert who performed live in Kuching, and all through my teenage years, I have played in many bands as well as learned to write music,” Alvin shared in an email interview with New Sarawak Tribune.

“I love collaborative process especially in a musical setting, so I started doing simple recordings and arrangements for other people’s music. In the process of working with other musicians and bands, I was told that I should explore the possibility of going to school for music. It also did not hurt that I got unwavering support from my mom and dad as well.” Having relate to new aspiring musicians and creative individuals in Malaysia, especially those who may not have found their artistic voice yet, Alvin’s passion to create great sounding music through focusing on the collaborative aspect of his creative process.

His goal has always been to create a successful and sustainable career in music without necessarily having to be in the limelight. As a producer and music engineer, Alvin values perseverance, optimism and resourcefulness – all traits he believes to have positively impacted his career and that he has acquired as a result of his upbringing in Kuching, Sarawak and he aims to share that message with his fellow Malaysians.

Recently, Alvin and his fellow Malaysian, Rendra Zawawi have banded together in hopes to better bridge the gap between the United States and Malaysia music and film industries. Alvin believes that for Malaysia musicians, composers, producers, and music engineers have a great potential and could excel when given the opportunity in a more expanded artistic community such as in the United States. With his hopes to share his experience with his peers and to inspire them to achieve more, Amplitone Productions was born to serve as a bridge between Malaysian and Los Angeles entertainment industries.

Amplitone Productions Both Alvin and Rendra have already been actively reaching out to fellow Malaysians residing in LA before starting the productions. Many whom are Directors, Actors, Composers, Musicians, Dancers, creative individuals, and students.

Alvin shared, “The goal for Amplitone Productions is to be a springboard for those aspiring creators from Malaysia to help them get their footing with whatever resources we have in LA as both Rendra and I knows how challenging it is to get your footing here in the US, especially when dealing with the music industry.”

Amplitone founded on the community-based platform distilled from the Malaysian “lepak” culture, Alvin shared, “We see it as an opportunity to partner with fellow accomplished and talented Malaysians here in Los Angeles and make those skillsets available to the creators back home as well. “I think this cross pollination of ideas and resources will help generate and even larger population of creative individuals to emerge from Malaysia and by extension Sarawak.”

His perception on the current music and film industry in both countries “I think the common theme between the USA and Malaysia’s ever-evolving industries is the format in which the general public is now consuming media.

Streaming has caused the rise and fall of many many companies, even the current state of both industries seems to be doing better than 5 years ago.” Alvin commented how different streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon are pouring unparalleled amounts of money into new original content while Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal are thriving and expanding their offices all around the world. “Even Youtube and possibly, Facebook are coming up with original content such as TV shows.

The question then is how does the ripple effect of those big industry moves affect the Malaysian market?”Alvin posed a question. He then continued by explaining, “The internet has helped shrink the world and increased access to informational resources exponentially, which means we can easily connect with new people and find out about things easily.” He further clarified that it is now much easier to reach a wider range of audience in a much shorter time frame.

“I think its completely up to what Malaysian creators want to do with the advent of this new model of content delivery.”

“Movies in Malaysia are getting better, many have won prestigious awards around the world. As for the music scene, we have some of the best talents in the region,” Alvin in saying this, he wants to encourage his fellow Malaysians to continue the great effort to be recognised globally for the talents born in the country.

Alvin who is one of the TEDxKenyalang speaker held this November 25 at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching, thank the organisers for bringing him back for the talk as he could once again enjoy Laksa Sarawak. The bearded man who is a permanent resident in the USA, admittedly still pinches himself for being starstruck as he meets big names during his career.

“These people are modern day geniuses of their crafts,” as he puts it. TEDxKenyalang 2-day conference will see many talented speakers from all walks of life sharing their stories – among them are Professsor Mushtak Al-Atabi, Alvin Wee, Azmir Zed, Magdalene Muuk, Aziph Mustapha, Sada Borneo music band, Dr. M. Abdullah Zaidel, Anthony Sebastian, Diane Russell, Datin Valerie Mashman and James Lai.

Shaped by their experience and ideas, our speakers will explore paradigms that will inspire, empower, and motivate participants to embrace new perspectives. On top of that, there will also be workshops by BIMP-EAGA, products showcase and bazaar selling a variety of goods.

The event is expected to attract 500 participants. For more information, do visit www.tedxkenyalang. com or search TEDxKenyalang on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For enquiries and registration do email curator@tedxkenyalang.com or call 082-238636. This event is managed by Place Borneo Sdn Bhd.

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