YTOTW: Jon Liddell, The Ang Moh Guy With The Heart Of A Malaysian
In this week's YouTuber Of The Week, we had a chat with Jon Liddell, a singer with the "ang moh" looks but has that Malaysian spirit inside. Read what he has to say about YouTube, his music and his advice to all those who wants to pursue their dreams.
Back in 2010, Jon Liddell started his YouTube journey when he uploaded videos of himself singing covers of popular songs with himself, a laptop and his guitar
Darian: "When did you start your YouTube channel and how did it start?"
Jon: "I started my channel back in 2010. Where I made some very mediocre cover videos using nothing but a Macbook, my guitar and myself."
He was inspired by other YouTube musicians such as Boyce Avenue and Tyler Ward and decided to give YouTube a go. After all, it was also a good platform for him to share his renditions with his friends.
Darian: "What inspired you to make videos?"
Jon: "I used to watch YouTube musicians such as Boyce Avenue, Tyler Ward and David Choi and I thought to myself, if they can do it, why can’t I? It all started as a way of sharing my renditions of pop songs with my friends."
Jon is a huge fan of Ed Sheeran, and has been trying to get tickets by serenading a lady with Ed Sheeran songs just as how Spiderman got his by dancing in the LRT. Hotlink, if you're seeing this, maybe show some love to Jon?
Darian: "That Ed Sheeran video. Tell us about it! Did you get tickets?"
Jon: "All I can say is – Ed Sheeran is easily one of my top 2 favourite artists at the moment but still no tickets! Have you got any?"
A Malaysian at heart, Jon and his family came over 20 years ago and have made Malaysia their home. Besides being musically talented, Jon was also a semi-pro go-karter!
Darian: "Tell us more about you! Your hobbies and maybe a secret talent?"
Jon: "I was born in the UK and moved here a long long time ago (around 1995) because of my dad's job. Then we never left haha. So I'm happy to call this place my home!"
Jon: "A lot of people don’t know this about me but I’m actually a HUGE petrol head. I used to race go karts semi professionally for about 10 years. So I guess you could say driving is my secret talent but that’s boring right? I can juggle?"
There are plenty of YouTube musicians out there but you can always count on Jon to put his own spin to popular pop songs. Did you know that he sings pretty well in Malay too?
Jon: "I wish I could say something fancy here but what you see is what you get haha. I like to put my own little twist on pop songs. You’ll also come across a couple of originals every now and then. There’s so much more to come. Oh and I did a cover of a Malay song!"
This year, Jon plans to churn out more original music, vlogs, and also to collaborate with other local musicians
Darian: "What's the one thing you want to achieve for 2015?"
Jon: "For me 2015 is all about my original music. There will still be covers here and there but I think its time for me to share more original content and I can’t wait to see how that pans out."
Jon: "I’ve recently teamed up with a few local musicians and I plan to do a few more collaborations this year. But I’m definitely looking to expand my channel with vlogs, behind the scenes videos and maybe some fun challenges."
So far, Jon has been starting the year strong, by releasing his single "Make It Right" on YouTube. It is also by far his favourite video to make!
Darian: "Which was your favourite video to make and why?"
Jon: "Definitely the music video for my recently released single ‘Make It Right’. This one means a lot to me. It all started with a concept that I put down and then I gathered a bunch of friends and we filmed for 3 days straight. 3 full days of hard work and never ending jokes. Couldn’t have asked for a better experience!"
Most of Jon's original songs are inspired from his life experiences and "Make It Right" is no different. It started with just the chorus before everything else fell into place.
Darian: "Tell us what is your first single about! How was it inspired from and what was the process like?"
Jon: "The story behind my new single was largely inspired by one of my past experiences. The idea of trying to fix a failing relationship. I won’t go too much in to it but I guess it’s safe to say that everything I write is based on something that has happened in my life. The song writing process is pretty much the same for me every time. It all starts with a small idea, in this case, I wrote the chorus and built the rest of the song around that."
P.S. Can you spot Jenn Chia in that music video? She was our YTOTW previously!
One of the biggest challenges as a YouTube musician is that they are perceived to be just cover musicians. But that's not the case for Jon, as he put a lot of time producing original music.
Darian: "Do you feel it's hard to break out from that "Cover singer on YouTube" mold?"
Jon: "I guess it is hard to break out of that mould for any musician but I don’t really see myself as a cover artist. I put more time in to my original music and there is a lot more to come, trust me! I cover songs that I enjoy listening to and songs that I want to cover."
Instead, Jon's biggest challenge is sticking to a schedule. "It's not easy putting out videos every week". Despite that, he still enjoys making videos as it is a great platform for him to express himself.
Darian: "What's the biggest challenge you currently face as a YouTuber?"
Jon: "I find the biggest challenge for any Youtuber is sticking to a schedule. Its not easy putting out videos every week or every other week. There’s a lot of work that goes in to each video."
Darian: "Do you feel making videos is a 'chore' now that you depend on it for content?"
Jon: "It’s definitely not a chore. I enjoy making videos and it’s something that I think I will continue to do for the rest of my music career. Youtube is a great way to express yourself. There’s so much enjoyment linked to each video release that it drives you to keep making new content."
Jon goes on further to encourage aspiring video makers to not give up and to keep making content
Darian: "What would you say to someone who is aspiring to be a YouTuber?"
Jon: "All I can say is keep making content. Don’t give up. I look back at my first year of making videos till now and its crazy how much I have learned!"
Jon does know what he's talking about. One of his covers got noticed by Tyler Ward, a popular YouTube musician and Jon had the chance to meet him personally and was given words of encouragement by Tyler himself.
Jon: "For me, the journey has been a massive roller coaster. I go through YouTube phases. I find that inspiration and I dedicate myself to it but then something always gets in the way and I end up neglecting the service. But the one experience I will never forget is the day I woke up to over 100 emails in my inbox because Tyler Ward (YouTube Musician) had shared one of my cover videos. I was then lucky enough to meet him a few times and thank him personally. It gave me a huge boost of encouragement and motivation and I think its safe to say that that’s most probably why I’m still doing this."
Besides that, his cover on Nick Jonas' "Jealous" has been making waves on Malaysian radio. He sure has come a long way!
There will be more to come from Jon so do check out his channel here to keep updated!
Darian: Any future projects or videos that's coming up soon?
Jon: Of course, there’s definitely more to come. You’ll have to wait and see and subscribe to find out more!