Photo credit: MARCUS LEE 李俊纬


Marcus Lee 李俊纬 is one of Singapore’s most promising acts. In 2017, Marcus won the Singapore selection stage of Sing! China, and was a featured artist on Temasek’s The Great Singapore Replay (TGSR) Season 2. The bilingual artiste was also awarded the “Artist of The Year (Non-English)” award at the Youth Music Awards 2021, an award that recognises the top young music talents in Singapore. With over 1.2M streams to his music and over 20,000 monthly listeners (Spotify), Marcus has become a mainstay in coveted editorial charts such as 流行音乐榜 and 上班轻听 and has had his music played across radio stations in Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and China. His debut full-length album “For You, I Can ” was released in August 2021, incorporating and showcasing his strengths as a well-rounded writer, producer and vocalist.

Take your time

Discovering one’s passion isn’t an overnight thing. I only really decided to pursue music halfway through university, in my early twenties, even though I started performing at about 13 years old. The process takes time, so be patient and don’t rush into it!

Try everything

Try as many things as possible to understand yourself. Know what you like and dislike, as well as what you are good or not good at. Back in school, I took up both arts and sports CCAs, such as choir and water polo. I also didn’t shy away from external activities, having formed a band with some of my schoolmates where we wrote our own songs and got to play on stages such as the Baybeats Festival and the Youth Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. Nowadays there’s access to many interest groups, even outside of the context of school, so be brave and try everything!

A word of advice, something that you have an interest in may not always be a natural strength for you, and that’s okay if it brings you joy and relief – but perhaps it also might not be suitable as a career and may have to remain as a hobby

Work hard

Working hard is important no matter what profession you’re in. However, pursuing your passion might mean taking a road less travelled, in which you must be prepared to work even harder for sometimes even less immediate results.

Set small and achievable goals

Breaking down your long-term goals into mini short-term goals makes them easier to process and digest. I usually set short, medium, and long-term goals; the short ones are about a quarter of a year, the medium ones are approximately a year, and the long-term ones would be two to three years. For me, thinking about a goal that is too “long-term” stresses me out. On the other hand, there’s a huge confidence boost each time you accomplish a goal and celebrate small wins, and morale is key in the long run.

Seek out mentors

Nothing is better than hearing from people who have gone before you. Talking to somebody older or more senior adds perspective and enlightens you on things that you never would have thought about or considered.

Know when to stop

This point is slightly controversial but I think it is really important. There are times when passion and career don’t collide and this could be for many reasons from a natural ability to market demand or even the environment you’re in. Set goals and targets that you want to achieve that are time-sensitive, and evaluate whether what you’re doing can be sustainable. Remember, it is better to try and fail than to never try at all. When this happens, just reset back to “one” and try again, but you can also consider accepting that a passion might have to remain a passion – and there is nothing wrong with that.

Find Close Friends

Whether it’s close friends or family, surround yourself with a few trustworthy individuals who have your best interests at heart. These people have the ability to uncover your blind spots and speak honestly to you. Ask these people what they think about your career choice – their opinion matters.

Initially, my parents were against the idea of me pursuing music when I was in my teens. Fast forward to my mid-twenties, they changed their opinion because they saw my efforts and that I genuinely enjoyed what I was doing. I would say that I would not be able to be where I am today without my parents. There’s a lot of stress and pressure in pursuing music in society and their unwavering support has been pivotal in helping me stay grounded and focused on what I’m doing.

Shut out the noise

After you’ve decided on what to do, you might face pressure from society, your peers, or from yourself. This is especially so when you decide to pursue something unorthodox or unexpected. Although I received a lot of support from my family when I decided to pursue music, I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well and was always afraid of making mistakes and wasting time. I felt really stressed out and burdened by these thoughts until one day I decided not to entertain these thoughts and focus on the joy and purpose that I have in doing what I love. In your own journey, it’s important to identify what is wisdom and what is noise and choose to shut out the latter.

Protect your mental health

I can’t stress the importance of this. The last thing you would want is to suffer from burnout. Remember to take breaks and to remind yourself that you are more than just your achievements. For me, I decided to go for therapy to seek help in dealing with my inner struggles. Negative thoughts or even just overthinking is the demise of every hope and dream out there, so don’t let this stop you.

Be thankful

Being in a position of gratitude is very powerful. There’s just something about counting your blessings that makes each step you take more worthwhile. That’s because when you are grateful for something, you appreciate the true value of the experience. Whether it’s a positive or negative experience, gratitude helps you see clearly the lesson that needs to be learned and internalise it for what it truly is. Always be thankful for whatever comes your way in this path that you choose to take. Good luck!

This article was published on Feb 1, 2022

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