We had the good fortune of connecting with Desiree Orien Tay and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Desiree Orien, can you share the most important lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career?
The most important lesson that I learned from doing music, is to always be respectful.

Being respectful could mean many things, such as the way you treat the backstage crew, the time you take to respond to emails, or even simply arriving on time to gigs. In my experience, being respectful is a necessary component of professionalism.

I’ve met well-respected and successful artists who behave less than politely toward crew members. I’ve also met artists that don’t respect the time of the people working for them, by failing to keep to schedules. However, even when working with others who show a lack of respect in any of these ways, I always remember to maintain a level of respect for them.

Of course, having the skills are important, but respect has earned me many fantastic opportunities. By respecting rehearsal times as well as your fellow musicians, you will really go a long way. Performing well musically is expected. But if you also conduct yourself professionally, you ensure positive reviews and referrals.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
1. I’m still on a journey to figure out my artistry, but till then, I really enjoy lifting other people’s music up. There’s a special kind of joy one feels when able to help someone succeed. All my friend’s successes are mine too!

2. I’m currently really excited about starting school again. I’m entering my 4th semester at Berklee College of Music this fall and I’m really excited about all the cool opportunities that will come my way.

3. My Journey to Berklee wasn’t an easy one but it was definitely the best decision that I ever made. Prior to Berklee, I was studying at LASALLE College of the Arts Singapore, majoring in drumset studies. My journey in LASALLE was great but I felt stagnant in my growth as a musician. When the pandemic hit, I thought long and hard about what I wanted my life to become and I knew that if I didn’t give Berklee a chance, I would regret it- After all, I’ve been wanting to go to Berklee ever since I was 8.

(I literally googled Best Music School in the world and Julliard popped up but I knew I wanted to do pop music so I chose Berklee which came after hahaha)

Money is definitely an issue when it comes to school, but I’m trusting God for constant provision. A friend once told me, “If it’s His will, It’s His Bill” so I’m holding on to that!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The day would start off with us grabbing a coffee/tea at Pressed Cafe and then driving up to Woodman’s of Essex to have some delicious seafood by the river. After lunch, we’d pop by next door to Great Marsh Brewing Company for some fresh local beer, and from there most probably just chill and catch up before going for some shopping. We don’t have huge department stores like Walmart or Target in Singapore so I’d most probably take her to all of the big ones like Walmart, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, etc.

As much as I love Boston, I think I’d drive around with her to explore neighboring states like New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. We’d most probably end off the last 2 days going to New York to catch a funny musical like “The Book of Mormon”, visit some museums and maybe even do some thrift shopping.

Wherever we choose to go, I know it’s going to be great because it’s always a fun time with her. (Love you, Renee!)

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My parents, my band conductor- Mr. Jason de Hamel, and all the instructors that I learned from.

I grew up in a strict Asian household where both my parents were very tough on me. But despite being rather strict, they allowed me to make my own decision when it came to school activities and I decided to join the school’s concert band as my co-curricular activity (CCA). Throughout my years in the band, my parents remained supportive of my goals in music from the very beginning.

Through my CCA, I was introduced to my band conductor, Mr. Jason de Hamel. During the 11 years that I was under his tutelage, he never once gave up on me, always encouraging me to go to camps, clinics, and workshops. Mr. De would even go so far as to establish contact with my parents to update them about my musical progress. This was not something he was obligated to do, but he often went out of his way for his student simply because he cared.

Later on, in my music career, between 2016-2020, I went on to learn from as many drummers and percussionists in Singapore as I possibly could. Each one of those teachers imparted knowledge to me that I still apply today during my time at Berklee.

If it weren’t for all these people and their influences, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today if it hadn’t been for their influence. It really takes a village to raise a drummer. 🙂

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/desireeorientay/

Image Credits
Instagram: @Xenergill , @LasalleSingapore, @sugarcat__, @Savannahlaurenphoto , @Sweeleemusic , @tcheng98 , @huangoumi

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