Photo credit: HYBRD


HYBRD comprises Draco Raj, 25, and Q, 27, who both hail from sunny Singapore. As hip-hop musicians in the community for the past seven and eight years respectively, they’ve taught themselves a myriad of skills in pursuing this career path and turning themselves into well-rounded creatives.

They rap and sing a little, produce, direct and edit their own music videos. On top of that, they are their own bosses – which means they plan all their shoots, concepts, and budgets. After which, they reach out to their fellow creatives to hopefully come together and create something meaningful and worthwhile.

The hip hop duo also runs a small startup known as HYBRD SOUND. In 2021, they started to write jingles for commercial use and have ventured into audio post-production. This not only creates a source of income for themselves but also makes their aspirations feasible.

On this wild journey, they’ve learnt some things about the industry and life in general and they’d love to share some of their lessons learnt with us today.

Success comes from deep within

Social media makes it  easy for you to compare yourself with others and feel like you aren’t doing well enough. You are human after all. But it’s crucial to remember the paradox of being “enough” – you will never be enough for some, and often too much for others.

Coming to terms with who I am, what I have to offer, and my strengths and weaknesses have afforded me a peace of mind for the marathon ahead. Each morning, I wake up competing with myself – to be more disciplined, more focused, more patient and a better communicator.

Confidence comes from preparation

As cliché as it is, it is impossible to undertake or complete a task you haven’t prepared for. Sure, Lady Luck might grace you once in a blue moon, but being able to enter a contest or competition and be assured that you aren’t going to completely ruin your future comes from being prepared.

Whenever I find myself feeling uncertain about my skills, I dedicate time to looking up YouTube tutorials in order to shake off the nerves and get focused. If you find yourself paralysed by fear and unable to share your work, keep working to improve yourself and build your confidence through your skills.

Tempting as it is, always trying to control the future will ruin the present

Oftentimes, our future is fluid and unpredictable. The COVID-19 pandemic is a great example. Who would’ve thought the entire world would stand still for more than a year? Goal-setting is key in giving you an objective to work towards. Actionable steps help us to achieve small wins so we feel that we’re progressing.

The important thing I’ve learnt about the future is keeping in mind I’m a mere mortal – only able to control that much. Maintaining some form of flexibility affords me the headspace to manoeuv

The company you keep should be constructive, not destructive

Think of your dreams as a newborn baby – they require a ton of tender loving care and are often very fragile, especially in the beginning stages. It’s vital that your inner circles help to nurture this dream by being honest in their critique and feedback. However, the line between honesty and cruelty can often become blurred as people who aren’t in your shoes may not understand the nuances of your situation.

Inevitably the choices fall upon you, and each step you make should be towards building, not destroying. For every negative friend I’ve removed from my life, I’ve gained a clearer head and peace of mind.

The mirror doesn’t lie – be honest with yourself

While some of us are lofty dreamers, it can be painful to look in the mirror and acknowledge all your shortcomings and failures, as well as all the things you could’ve done better in hindsight. However, these lessons are often the building blocks of long-term, sustainable growth. Being able to learn from the previous versions of yourself serves as a diagnostic tool of sorts.

Each time we release a song or video that doesn’t do as well as we hope, we identify areas of improvement and make minor tweaks each time to keep improving. Whether it’s singing, rapping, songwriting, or even the way we update our social media accounts, there’s always been something new to learn – we just have to ask ourselves the right questions.

Embrace being you.

It is easy to get caught up trying to make something that sounds trendy or similar to whatever is on the pop charts. However, at the root of it, we’d just be copying trends. No one can tell your story better than you; no one can showcase your art like you. It’s cliché but true – the best body of work comes from the most honest places and experiences.

Juggling multiple responsibilities and relationships can be taxing at times.

Always safeguard your peace and energy. Never let negativity hold you back from achieving all you have set out to do. You need to discern for yourself whether you’re receiving constructive or destructive energy for your cause.

Learning to cut off what holds you back from being the best you can be is a challenging process but is always a liberating one when achieved. It provides you with more clarity and focus to charge ahead.

Sometimes, despite all your efforts, you may get to the ‘’What am I doing this for?” stage.

As much as you might feel burnt out, you’ve got to keep at it. Take a break or a day off, but do not give up and stop entirely. Consistency is key on this journey of yours and success only knocks on the door of the man who keeps moving forward.

Cater time for your fitness and wellbeing.

I once watched an interview where it was said: “Your physical appearance is a sign of your state of mind.”

That struck a chord in me. To perform at our best, we have to be at our best, and the only way to ensure that is to take care of our bodies. Clocking in a workout a day and being mindful of what we put in our bodies are some examples. Celebrities with packed schedules work out almost every day – so what’s our excuse? The intensity does not matter as long as you take some time to yourself and go sweat it out!

Never be afraid to put your work down and take a break.

Sometimes working too hard can also backfire badly – hours burnt trying to achieve something and the results turn out subpar. As such, taking a break and giving it your best again later can yield way better results.

This article was published on Oct 26, 2021

You may like these