This Kuching Singer Went From Battling Schizophrenia To Performing At Good Vibes Festival
23-year-old Allester Shaun, born and raised in Kuching, is on his way up in the Malaysian music scene
Having released his first single just under a year ago, Allester already has nearly 153,000 plays from both his tracks, 'Blue' and 'Sweet Babycakes' on Spotify.
As a self-taught guitarist, the 23-year-old also reached top four of the 2018 Kuala Lumpur Vans Musicians Wanted competition with his impressive guitar licks.
Allester first picked up the guitar at the age of 12 after being inspired by his uncle, who used to perform at the family's pub in Kuching
"We own a pub in Kuching, and we've always seen him perform, and I felt like 'oh, it's so cool'," he said.
The 23-year-old then began to write his own "silly" songs with friends.
"We started making stupid songs like 'Harambe', or sing about the high school teacher who we didn't like," Allester added.
The Kuching native, who was studying architecture in university, had taken a year off studies to battle schizophrenia
"I had to (take a year off) because of this disease called schizophrenia, I had to take a break from studying," Allester told SAYS in a recent interview.
"I had to take a break from almost everything for a year to recover," he added.
The musician did not take music seriously while he was on his one-year long recovery.
"I stopped performing, I just uploaded my music onto Soundcloud if I felt like it... Then boom, I'm in a label now, it was unexpected," he added.
Allester was signed to local music label This Way Up Records in late 2017 after its founder, Jin Hackman stumbled upon one of the 23-year-old's song covers on Instagram.
Despite being signed by a label, Allester did not have it easy with his parents over the decision to pursue music
"You know that Asian mindset, you gotta get a degree, that's the goal. So (my mum) doesn't really support me in doing music," the 23-year-old told SAYS.
"When I told her about the label, she was not really supportive about it. She always thought that music cannot support you in life," he said.
Allester stressed that he aims to continue his studies as he has passion for both architecture and music.
Nonetheless, Allester expressed excitement for his performance at this year's Good Vibes Festival
"Excited... but not really nervous (about it). I look forward to the audience there," the Kuching native said.
Allester also had a few things to say to the Good Vibes Festival audience.
"I'm going to play a lot of sad songs, so prepare some tissues because I'm going to turn Good Vibes into Sad Vibes," he said, before adding that he hopes his fans will remember the lyrics to his songs.
Catch Allester at Good Vibes Festival, happening on 20 and 21 July at The Ranch @ Gohtong Jaya!
This feature is part of the #saysplaylist series, providing your playlist with a breath of fresh Malaysian air.
If you have any Malaysian bands, singers or songs that you think we should feature, let us know in the comments below!