The second student to be featured in our TEDx EF Academy series is Claudia, from EF Academy New York, who shares her thoughts on the importance of pursuing your dream.
Dream is like a star
What is your dream? My mother started taking me to study music when I was 2 years old. Soon after my teacher told my parents that I had a real talent for music. So they got me more lessons. Then, I began entering competitions and sometimes winning. I also started to learn different instruments, such as cello, trombone, saxophone, and others. I love all of them. I compete on these instruments too. My parents talked to me about making a career in music, “We invested a lot in your lessons, so make it your goal”. But, I just want to work in an office and make money. This was the normal life I saw surrounding me. But to please my parents and because I enjoyed it, I continued studying.
When I was 14, my schoolteacher’s husband who is a popular music producer in Hong Kong heard my recordings. He encouraged me and found me a new piano teacher. This teacher not taught me only piano, but recording, production, and other aspects of music.
I began to work on my songs. My teacher also brought me to different recording sessions. I played along with singers, did some productions, and was treated as e a professional. I knew then: this will be my goal. Today, I played around 12 instruments.
In 2021, I released my first original single “Love Castle”. I wrote, sang, produced, and played almost all the instruments on it. I am very proud of myself and felt like FINALLY! The world will hear me. At the same time, my first sponsor and ad appeared.
On the next day, one of the students in my school came up to me and said “I heard your song. It’s not professional enough.” I tried to ignore this comment. But then I checked on online comments. Most of them are very negative. “You are not pretty enough.”, “Just go and get plastic surgery.”, “You are affecting my ears.” This all went on for two weeks.
The imperfection of this song and people’s opinion of my appearance became a thing everyone can scold me for. I continued to finish the next song in a heartbreaking mood. One day I felt so stressed, tears fell down from the corner of my eyes. I asked myself, is this what you want? Do you have the courage to keep going? That night I wrote songs all the way until the next morning. I gave myself an answer. I said, “It took you fifteen years. You released your first single. Started to do what you want to do.”
Faced with a strange field, I have not yet given up. I ignored everything and keep on walking on the road which I chose. I found that music turned out to be my best friend. It knows the deepest part of my heartbeat. It is most willing to accept my negative energy unconditionally, and is willing to accept every tear of mine. Music is the inner and true me. What melody do I hear, what picture do I feel. The emotions expressed by the song is the truest me and cannot be faked.
I released other songs. Still got some negative, critical comments. But also some very good ones, and now someone followed my music. I hope I can break through in 2021. I chose to write my dream chasing experience to different songs, release my first album in my life. Nowadays, my album is on different music platforms. I would like to share with you the topic of my speech “Dream Is Like A Star’” is exactly the same as my album’s quote, which always reminds me to follow the star.
I think when I was 13 years old, I certainly didn’t expect that today I have these listeners who would like to listen to my music. I didn’t expect that my dream can come true.
Today, I release my own music. And I own three companies in Hong Kong. One of them is an entertainment company. Its main business includes music production, artist management, also responsible for film production, as well as multimedia. The other two are my own brand.
I don’t regret any choice I chose in the past 16 years. I tried my very best for everything.
There is still something pushing me to the forefront. I am no longer afraid. Every step is learning, every step is growth. I know I gained far more than I have lost. How did each step come through, how did I make every unswerving choice to start, I keep it in my heart. I know singing and composing are definitely something I will do in my whole life. But they won’t be the only things I can do.
I know this now: no matter what I do, someone will criticize it, someone will hate it. What matters is: do I love it? Do I believe myself?
Whatever decision I make, I will respect my choice. I think this is the super energy that young people have. Don’t be afraid, go all out and you can be the best version of yourself.
Find more TEDx EF Academy stories here.