Ever since quitting her six-figure income job to pursue a vlogging career, Chinese-Australian beauty and lifestyle vlogger Wengie has acquired 12 million subscribers on YouTube. Now, she has a hit music video making its rounds! Not bad for a girl who decided to go for her dream career, don't you think?
In an email interview with Cosmopolitan Philippines, Wengie talked about the differences between the beauty and music industry and how she navigates both effortlessly.
You've had a successful career as a makeup vlogger. How did you decide that music was the next step?
A lot of people may not know this, but I actually started doing music covers, and considered that my passion. They were so much fun to make but it took so much time and I stopped making them to focus on my beauty videos. Now I think it's time to return to my first love: music.
Can you describe your sound to people who haven't heard your music yet?
I've really been wanting to do an east-meets-west pop fusion. I grew up listening to C-pop, J-pop and K-pop as well as American pop so I really wanted to launch my music with those influences—and make my songs super uplifting and happy! I wanted it to be the kind of music you listen to when you're getting ready to go out! My favorite thing to do growing up was watch music videos while I put on my makeup!
Through YouTube, your music was able to reach an international audience quickly. How did you feel when people started reacting to your music?
I must admit I was so nervous. Music is one of those things where you feel so vulnerable when you put it out there. Releasing music like you are giving your soul to whoever can hear you and you want people to be gentle with it. I was really scared. I usually get excited to read comments but when I put out my first music video, I was too scared to look at them till a couple days later. Luckily they were overwhelmingly positive, but I still get super scared every time I upload a new song because I put so much of myself into every piece!
Can you describe your music process from start to finish?
First of all, it starts with working with a great team of songwriters and producers! I'm very lucky to have amazing friends —songwriter Melanie Fontana, who’s written for BTS, Girls’ Generation, f(x) and also Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, and The Chainsmokers. She has experience on the "East meets West" vibe I’m going for so it’s been great working with her! I'm lucky to work with producers Lindgren and Tushar who have also produced Eastern and Western concepts as well! Once the song is made, it's time for the planning the choreography which I love to include on all my songs! I am currently working with Isabelle Bonacorsi from 1Million dance studios who is amazing—then we move on to dance training and shooting the music video! Actually, my partner Max directed the whole "Ugly Christmas Sweater" music video and our team helped us make it happen! We were even painting the backdrops (those giant presents in the background used to be our moving boxes) in the living room and our cats were multicolored through that whole week! It was stressful but seeing the results was truly worth it. Finally, you need someone to be making sure everything runs smoothly and that's my man Danny Lee, the most amazing manager ever! It really is a team effort and I'm so grateful to have such an amazing team!
Who are your inspirations in the music industry?
I was in love with the Spice Girls! Ayumi Hamasaki was also one of my biggest creative inspirations as she really took her music videos into whole new artistic directions, I feel like she was really ahead of her time. I also loved BoA!
What are the similarities and differences between the beauty and music industry?
Both are very different from each other. The music industry is so different from anything I've ever experienced before on YouTube! However, working in both industries requires you to work hard and stay focused. You can't be distracted by the glamour and it's all about really pushing yourself to improve everyday.
How do you hope to grow as an artist?
I'm so excited for 2019 as I'm going to focus much more on my music! 2018 had me juggling YouTube and releasing singles and it's definitely been a learning experience. I feel a lot more confident now and I'm going to be really working on training as a performing artist next year. I'll be singing, dancing, performing and also be dabbling in some exciting collaborations with other artists which I can't wait to share with you guys!
Any plans to visit your Filipino fans soon?
Yes! One of the upcoming collaborations could be with a Fillipino artist so there's a hint I can give! I can't wait to be in the Philippines again and see all my amazing Filipino fans (You guys are one of my favorites!) I had such an amazing time in the Philippines and you guys are one of the most welcome and warm crowds I've ever experienced! See you soon! Love you!
*Answers have been edited for clarity.
Follow Erika on Instagram.