Photo : Sean | Flickr
By JUDE JON LIMUS
I have always been interested in music. Since I was young, I started playing the keyboard and took various classes to improve myself. I also picked up the drums and electric guitar along the way.
After SPM, I took a three-month hiatus before working part-time in a music production shop for another three months. I cleaned toilets, helped in recording, and became a receptionist for the shop. In a nutshell, I became a slave simply to expose myself to the world of music production.
In July 2006, I began college at Asian Tourism Institute, majoring in a two and half year Tourism and Business course. During this time, my passion for music never changed. I continued taking classes and playing; time, effort, and money was invested to buy and maintain my musical instruments. Towards the end of college, I felt that tourism was not exactly my thing.
This conviction became stronger during my internship, which was my last assignment after my final exams. It was then that I decided tourism would not be my focus in life. I did not like it very much, and I chose to study it without any clear reason in the first place.
My turning point came in August 2007, when a band called 1 a.m. from Eaglepoint, Kuala Lumpur, came to my hometown to hold a concert. I had kept in touch with them since I attended their music workshop in Kota Kinabalu in 2001. This time, they asked me to consider joining their band as a full-time musician since their electric guitarist was leaving for Australia to continue his studies in Medicine.
I prayed and fasted, thinking long and hard about this. See, playing the electric guitar was not one of my strengths; I was a drummer and keyboardist by trade. But in November 2007, I accepted their offer and my journey with 1 a.m. began.
I practised as hard as my hands and brain could handle in order to reach a respectable level of musicianship on the electric guitar. We played at concerts in Malaysia and outside Malaysia, such as the Philippines; 1 a.m. was bringing their music internationally to Dubai and New Zealand even before I came on board.
However, being a musician is not about playing music the entire day. I teach the keyboard, drums, and guitar as well. As the Academy Manager for One Accord Sdn. Bhd., I am responsible for monitoring our music students’ progress, keeping the accounts, and making sure everything is running smoothly. I am also in charge of the in-house sales of 1 a.m. in Eaglepoint, my church. Besides that, I also oversee the Chinese worship band.
Currently, we are preparing for our biggest-ever tour yet: a nationwide tour called Change Your World, which is expected to impact 10,000 young people. Change Your World is a journey that will go from city to city to rally and encourage those aged 15 to 25 to own and love their cities and nation. The main issues we want to highlight are human trafficking, modern slavery, and illegal treatment of refugees.
We are also launching our album called Change in August 2009, and the music video for our single, ‘Crooked’, will be available soon. Recording this album was tough – I remember one particular week where all our ideas ran dry despite experimenting with different sounds and ideas into the wee hours of the morning. We were fatigued, frustrated with our faulty equipment, and fumbled as we faced a dearth of inspiration. Thankfully, we pulled through by God’s grace, and got it done with amazing results. There is so much to look forward to, and we are very excited for more things to come!
I am living my dream working as a full-time musician, for my career is my passion, and my passion is my career. Considerable pressure comes with the joy of performing, but everything is worth it when you are on stage ripping up a solo, hearing your band play their instruments in perfect symphony, headbanging to a fantastic tune, and watching the crowd do the same.
More than doing something I like, I am able to be passionate about it and give my best. The music I play has a message, a purpose, and a recipient, all for the glory of my God whom I serve. He is the reason I play music in the first place. I was given an opportunity to pursue what my heart was passionate about because I was diligent in taking time and effort to hone my God-given talent.
So if you have a dream, make sure you are at your best to give your best, and improve to be better than the rest. That way, not only will opportunities always knock on your door – you will always be ready to answer their call.
Jude Jon Limus is Kadazan-Chinese. Born and bred in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, he despises music that is dishonest, aesthetically apathetic, and music that purposefully sends ignominious, corrupt, and debasing messages. Jude just wrote and performed his first Mandarin song.
Note: The above entry was written in 2010 for What’s After SPM?, published in 2011. This non-for-profit book project is a collaboration between Leaderonomics and a team of young Malaysians. Click here for details on the project and authors.
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