Famous actor and musician Simon Lai starred in the new Nescafe Ad Film. The commercial released on April 03, 2016 in Singapore and it went viral. The video has garnered nearly half a million views on YouTube. The commercial shows Simon, a musician, interacting with his band members. When they decide to go for a cup of coffee they discover a local cafe.
Simon Lai is guitarist of Cynation rock band, songwriter, musician and actor. He has enjoyed success in music and Television. He is regarded as an innovator guitarist and is the winner of the “Best Guitarist” in the Yamaha Asian Beat Awards and the 1st Place winner “Hidama” at the Singapore Street Festival Taisen. In July 2017 Cynation released “Dancing Devil” single available on iTunes.
Meet the Artist: NY Elite Interview with Musician, Actor Simon Lai
NY Elite: Thanks for the time for this interview. Name a song you have been loving these days.
Simon Lai: Thanks for having me! I don’t particularly have a song that I love, but I have been listening to different artists from all genres. But if I have to choose one, I would say it’s an instrumental song by a instagram/youtube sensation known as Mateus Asato, the song is called ‘The Bridge’.
NY Elite: How is 2017 going for you so far. Where are you performing recently?
Simon Lai: 2017 has been crazy so far, but mostly I been very happy with the development of Cynation and the projects that we are embarking on. With our first single out “Dancing Devil“, we are currently working on our second single “Go Louie Go” before we move on in doing an album.
NY Elite: “Dancing Devil” is named “Single of the Week” in UK. Tell us about your guitar solo and the composing of this song.
Simon Lai: Most of the credit goes to Josh Mak, our frontman/vocalist of the band, he is the brainchild behind all the composition of the songs. Our role in the band when put together is to create the colors and textures of what Josh sees and hears in his head, imagine us being the architect of an idea that he sees in his head. We just come in and put his vision in place as well as inject our creativity to what Josh has to add on to the songs. There are parts where we also compose on top of Josh’s composition.
As for the solo, I would still credit Josh for the main idea of the solo. I went with it and added my own colors and texture to it. It’s a team effort I would say for this solo. I myself am very happy with how the solo turned out.
NY Elite: You won “Best Guitarist” at the Yamaha Asian Beat Awards. What have been some of your other highlights and accomplishments in your career.
Simon Lai: Winning “Best Guitarist” was quite a shock to me, and at the same time I felt blessed and grateful that I did. It was an acknowledgement to me where I got some returns from all the hours of hard work and practice to my instrument.
As for other highlights and achievements, to me even though I landed some big gigs along the way where I sessioned for some famous artists, what I am really proud of and grateful for is my Distinction that I got for the my Rockschool Grade 8 Music Exam. To others it may have seemed like its an “easy” thing to do, but it holds a lot of meaning to me, because I have dedicated myself to doing music since the young age of 16, where I told myself I am going to strive as much as I can and do the very best even if it takes everything from me. And here I am, happy and smiling to myself for a grade 8 Distinction where I feel happy that I at least made my mother proud.
NY Elite: How do you balance your acting and music career.
Simon Lai: For music, I take it very seriously in the sense of me being critical to myself. I am always open to listen and to see where I can improve in areas that I need to, so I can be proficient in the language of music. As for acting, it was a passion I picked up along the way when I attended Film Sound and Video Course here in Singapore via Ngee Ann Polytechnic for my tertiary education, where we learn about filmmaking, audio recording and video editing and so forth. From there I was introduced to acting as I would take part in friends’ projects.
Just like the boys in Cynation, most of us are into movies and the art of it. I was drawn to it because I simply just love watching movies myself and from there I saw the beauty and the art of the actors putting a performance on screen, on the characters that they are playing. Pretty much how you would put yourself in the shoes of a certain song in what the song wants to portray. From there I just went on into acting as much as I can and when I can.
The question of how I balance both of these, wasn’t something that I actually find it hard to do, and honestly I didn’t give any thoughts to it. To me it came naturally. I learn as I go along from fellow actors around me or just by watching my favorite films and analyse what they do and try to apply it! Maybe one day I would take up classes just like Josh who is also in my eyes a wonderful upcoming actor!
NY Elite: What was it like working with Shin in the making of “One”. Tell us about your acting role in the music video.
Simon Lai: When Shin approached me to do his music video for “One”, to me it was more of a fun factor, because I get to work with my friends in this project which we are both excited to promote his work as well as work with each other in the professional setting. I liked the idea of the music video and the storyline and I agreed to take part as soon as I heard about it. My role in the music video was to play the best buddy to the lead actor, Shin himself, as well as a friend to the lead actress, Simona.
In the music video, I brought both of them together but they had a rough beginning. Eventually they fell in love with each other but the lead actress found out that she was terminally ill, where she shared this piece of news to me without wanting to let her lover know, which I got caught up in the mix and misunderstood as the third party of the relationship. But due to her wish of not wanting to let Shin, the lead actor know about her illness, I had to make a promise to her which I did that eventually led to her in her dying breath; she made me pass her heart felt letter to her lover Shin and he eventually found out the truth.
To me, the music video says a lot on the content of the song “One” and I thought it was nicely presented and portrayed the meaning of the song very well. I hope more of such projects would surface from fellow artists to promote original music here in Singapore.
To me such projects are most fun and have a lot of heart, because not only you are having fun working with people you enjoy their company, but you are very proud of your friend’s work and the standards that he sets in this industry. This will motivate you to give your all and your best to the project.
NY Elite: What is the song ‘One’ about?
Simon Lai: Its essentially a song talking about the heartaches of two lovers, how some people would blame themselves while others would be strong and move on from a failed relationship. “One” would be a depiction of these people facing these heartaches and how they eventually make the choices to make just to forget about the person they once deeply love, or would they ever forget?
NY Elite: You are also featured in the viral Nescafe film ad. Tell us how did you land this role and about the character that you play here.
Simon Lai: I was contacted by a local Casting Company to come in for casting as a role of a musician trying to find a place to chill out with my bandmates. My friends from the industry introduced me to them as they knew I was a musician myself, thus I agreed to go in and did the casting. The director liked the vibe and feel that I had being a real musician myself and I could actually deliver what he wanted in terms of the ad. I landed the gig and was very happy about it. The ad film was received very well in Singapore.
NY Elite: What type of roles do you like to play?
Simon Lai: Pretty much anything that is out of my own comfort zone, I am pretty open to the idea of any role as I am pretty new to this myself. I would like to get my hands on anything that increases my experience. But I would say I look forward to playing a role where it is pretty much action packed. I love action films since I was young. Bruce Lee was my childhood hero, so any role that gets me into action would intrigue me!
NY Elite: Who is your dream director and why?
Simon Lai: Fan of Christopher Nolan, I love how he directed The Dark Knight, Inception, Man Of Steel… Just love his style of how he makes his movies. I love that balance between heart and edge.
NY Elite: Cynation is also working on putting together an EP and the making of the new single “Go Louie Go”. Tell us a little bit about what Cynation has planned.
Simon Lai: We are currently recording the new single “Go Louie Go” which we are all very excited about and we can’t wait for the audience to listen to what we have in store. After which Cynation is planning to recording a EP followed by a full Length Album, we hope to tour in Australia once we are done with the EP to get as many people listening to our music as much as possible. We also look forward to touring USA, places like New York, LA, Las Vegas, to amazing places like Albania, to Europe as well as Asia!
Once we are done with the Album, we look forward to spreading it to everyone all around the globe by doing tours and meet some of the fans that has been with us since the beginning. We very much appreciate and are grateful for all the support and love!
NY Elite: Who continues to inspire you and your music?
Simon Lai: I would say the band of brothers in Cynation as well as many things that happen in life inspire me. Music is an outlet for us to speak our minds and shine truth to what things really are. We hope to share that to the world, letting them know that there’s always both sides to a story and things aren’t always what they seem.
NY Elite: What is message of Dancing Devil song? What do you hope your fans take away from your music?
Simon Lai: I think in the nut shell, Dancing Devil is a song that not only talks about the sex industry, but it also talks about the hearts of men, and shines the truth on what is actually there. Often times we hear the expression “sex sells”, but seldom people ask “who’s buying?”. To me it basically speaks the truth on two sides of a story: what’s really in the dark in what people do and why they do it, as well as Shine truth to the people that that claim that it is allright but what they are really thinking and doing behind the dark.
Don’t judge until you see everything and experience everything, is what Dancing Devil is talking about.
NY Elite: Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers about your music and acting?
Simon Lai: Thank you for reading this and supporting us from wherever you are. We will continue to make more music and share it with you. I also want to thank friends and family that showed me the support in what I do, be it music or acting. I feel very blessed to be able to do what I do. I am working very hard and I am progressing along the way and learning from different experiences. Stay tuned for more at www.simonlai.info and www.cynationband.com.