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Exclusive: Lyn Lapid on being a TikTok star, med school, and what's in her mind

Exclusive: Lyn Lapid on being a TikTok star, med school, and what's in her mind

Shining bright

Text: Deanna Cheah Adelina Tan

From TikTok fame to a recording deal, 19-year-old Lyn Lapid's rise to success comes from staying true to who she is now and the person she wishes to become

With TikTok's rise in popularity (and 1 billion users) comes a new generation of creatives who've gained a massive and dedicated following on the app. One such ingénue is Lyn Lapid, a first-generation American of Filipino heritage. In the twilight months of 2019, she signed up for TikTok and quickly amassed a following of 2.7 million followers. Fame, however, truly came calling when her self-penned song, 'Producer Man', went viral on TikTok—racking up over 50 million views and 100 thousand shares soon after the video was posted, becoming the the "most-viewed unreleased demo on a TikTok video in 2020".

Lapid's success on TikTok and her evident talent opened the door for a deal with Republic Records, resulting in the full version of 'Producer Man' as her debut single. In subsequent releases, the 19-year-old classically trained musician—she's a multi-instrumentalist, too—has retained her distinctive sound. This year's hit single, 'In My Mind'—tribute to introverts with rich inner lives—featured in the soundtrack of The Hating Game.

In a chat with the vocal dynamo and genre-breaker, her fearless individuality comes through in her thoughts about the music industry, being a TikTok star, and how she ended up pursuing her passion:

How has life changed since you went viral on TikTok?

Lyn Lapid: "It's been a really wild ride this past year. I've gotten to meet so many cool people who have helped me develop my music, my writing; and overall, its been great to also gather a fan base and really get close with my fans"

What are your thoughts on TikTok as a platform for aspiring singers and musicians to find exposure? Any tips to share from your own experience?

LL: "TikTok is a great opportunity for musicians to get recognised. In fact, I think it's the best platform at the moment because it's so big all over the world. It really allows anybody and everybody to go viral, and I definitely encourage anyone who wants to start putting out music or develop a following to go on TikTok.

"Starting out is the hardest because you know that no one is watching you, but you just have to keep pushing through. I know it can be discouraging when you see that nobody is watching your videos, but there is an audience for everybody out there so don't give up." 

What was the inspiration behind your viral TikTok song 'Producer Man'?

LL: "I wrote 'Producer Man' based on an experience I had with a producer, who will go unnamed. I didn't have the greatest experience with him and I was thinking to myself what would my life be like if I continued to work with this producer and listen to everything he had to say about myself as an artist, as a person and my music. So, it was a compilation of all those emotions.

The music video for 'Producer Man'

"I mostly write all of my songs based off my own experiences and 'In My Mind' is no exception—it's based on how I grew up as one of the quiet kids in school, with people often telling me that I was more on the reserved side."

'The music video In My Mind' 

With the landscape of the global music industry changing, we're seeing more Asian representation. Do you have any advice for other Asians who aspire to pursue music?

LL: "Keep pushing through. It's so great seeing all the individuals who are bringing a truthful representation of the Asian community—finally!—after so long. I highly encourage all the Asian creators who want to post content or music to just do it. It's so great seeing all of my Asian friends who are also creating music and pursuing what they love."

Where did your love for singing and music stem from? Was there a definitive moment in your life where you knew this is what you wanted to do?

LL: "Before I started posting on TikTok or on social media, I decided from a very young age to go to med school and become a doctor—to make my parents proud—and I was trying for so long to convince myself that it was what I wanted to do. But when I had to start thinking about my future and what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I started to have doubts. Seeing that I can go viral and that I do have an opportunity there, I decided that I really really did love music over everything else and medicine was definitely not for me.

"My definitive moment—it started from a bunch of different things. My family, as well as other Filipino families, is really big on karaoke so I would often be put on the mic when I was really young to sing for family events and stuff. My parents also put me through piano classes when I was really really young. I've always been involved in music, in more ways than one, and I guess my passion for it stems from there."

Who are the inspirations for your music and what can your listeners look forward to in your future releases?

LL: "I take inspiration from so many talented artist and singers. I remember watching many singing talent shows like The Voice, American Idol and America's Got Talent when I was younger, so I also took inspiration from talented vocalists who were on those shows. Ariana Grande, especially—I listened to her a lot when I was growing up."

Stream Lyn Lapid's 'In My Mind' on Spotify.

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