Lauded songwriter Hagen Troy Tan teams up with City Radio to touch the lives of youth.
Contributed By Jonathan Teo and Dawn Seow
Young people are the future. Sometimes, they just need to be encouraged and to feel connected.
This was the motivation behind a recent outreach by City Radio, an online Christian radio station, to two children’s homes in Singapore.
Started in April 2011, the Internet radio station today averages 127,000 hits per week for its seven programs.
On May 24, City Radio’s program producer Bernard Loh visited the Singapore Boys’ Home. The humorous and eloquent Loh was there to host a screening of a film that was targeted at inspiring the boys to pursue their dreams. With him was international singer and songwriter, Hagen Troy Tan.
Tan is a singer and composer who has written songs for Asian superstars like Jolin Tsai, Zheng Yuan Chang, Liang Wen Ying, Guo Mei Mei, Chen Wei Lian, Chai Chun Jia, Harlem Yu, Wilbur Pan and others.
About 90 boys and social workers were treated to the movie entitled Young 21, a short film produced by Taiwanese production house 99 Passion Dreamworks. It tells of a teenager, Zhe Yao, who aspires to fulfill his dreams.
However, due to financial problems, he decides to quit school to go out to work in order to help support his family. The 30-minute movie shows how Zhe Yao battles through tough circumstances, and in the end, receives help from his grandmother and friends. The touching story portrays values such as friendship, unity and perseverance. Zhe Yao later goes on to fulfill childhood dreams of performing in a band and completing in a local marathon with his group of friends.
Following the movie, two short videos, 321 Be Happy, and the making of Tan’s music video for his song “Out Of My League” were screened. The first of these comprised 321 students from 25 participating schools sharing their aspirations and dreams of what they want to be when they grow up; while the latter showed a sneak peek into Tan’s music video and some exclusive behind-the-scene footages.
Since his album Answer was released in March this year, the multi-talented artist has been touring schools recently to encourage youth to “believe in themselves.” As a youth living in the UK, Tan gained inspiration from musicians he came across, which fueled his passion for music.
“As a singer, I would like to share my story with others, as I believe there are others like me who aspire to be singers and musicians,” said Tan. “I saw the invitation to perform at the Boys’ Home as an open door of opportunity. With encouragement and motivation, these youth can believe that they will achieve success as long as they pursue their dreams.”
The next day, Tan and Loh made their way to the Singapore Girls’ Home, where 60 residents gathered for a meet-and-greet session and the movie screenings.
In a short interview session, Tan encouraged the girls to find someone trustworthy to talk to when they are going through tough times. He told them that everyone meets with difficult times but it is how one copes with stress that is important. Laughter broke out when he offered to hug anyone who was going through stress.
“When we feel stressed, we can talk to counselors,” Tan said to the young women. “For me, I will talk to my sister and my parents because I’m very close to them. I think it’s very important to have the right people to hang around with that we can talk to.” Tan revealed that at the start of his career as a songwriter, he met with challenges and discouragement. It was the advice of his mother that gave him strength to keep on believing that he had a future in music.
“I thought that music was not going to happen for me. For the first six years I had been writing songs, nothing happened. But at the moment I wanted to give up, I remembered what my mom said about persistence. So I hung on, prayed and soon after that, my first song was released.”
Sharing his experience at the homes, Tan said that he found the youth very disciplined and attentive. “I enjoyed my time with the youth. I feel great just seeing them smile.”
Hagen Troy Tan was recently featured in the City Radio program, “Shen Shen Ru Kou,” hosted by Allen Yu. Download City Radio on your iPad or iPhone or log on to http://radio.chc.org.sg to tune in.