Matthew Quek: Life is not defined by handicaps and limitations

Matthew Quek shares with Imagine TV Network about his latest album and how the songs are actually snapshots of his life experiences.

Words by Imagine TV Network

A full-time school teacher, Matthew Quek is a Singaporean composer and songwriter. His fifth album, My Romance, was produced by acclaimed jazz musician Jeremy Monteiro and in 2012, he represented Singapore at the prestigious World Championship of Performing Arts and was placed second in the Senior category.

His eighth and first-ever Mandarin album, Embrace, which was launched last Friday, is a continuation of what he is striving to accomplish since his seventh album -- to share his life experiences and hopefully be a beacon of encouragement.

Image credit: Matthew Quek

The album is a mix of pop, rock and jazz and was "a great leap forward" for him as a composer and musician. The songs were inspired by his past experiences and the "well of inspiration," he says, never runs dry.

The songs "Letting Go" and "Embrace," the title track, are somewhat interlinked. "Letting Go" talks about not holding on to past hurts and "Embrace" is about being able to live beyond limitations -- whether self-imposed or placed upon you by others. Only after letting go will a person be able to embrace himself and others.

Letting go of what hurts him was something he had to learn to do through his growing years. "The scars may still be there after many years but letting go... is going beyond the bitterness and anger," he says.

The history teacher of 10 years says he struggled with dyspraxia and dyscalculia while growing up and shares that it was challenging for him to excel in his studies. His inconspicuous conditions, he remarks, led many to think he was a troublemaker.

"Dyscalculia has to do with the inability to count and to do calculations so of course I was very bad in math and science," he explains. Dyspraxia, however, is developmental co-ordination disorder and he adds that it took him days to learn everyday tasks like tying shoe laces.

Playing the piano requires coordination but he stresses that he was able to persevere because of his parents' love and support. Music, he believes, can be used as a way to develop character and a medium for encouraging others.

He now holds Grade 8 qualifications in voice and piano performance from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in London and also received an Associate Diploma in Voice from England's Trinity College.

As a certified International Voice Teachers of Mix (IVTOM) vocal instructor, he is also the organization's main representative in Singapore and Asia.

He emphasizes that music is a way to communicate that message of perseverance, resilience, and cultivating empathy. "Life is not just... defined by your handicaps and limitations. You can go beyond that," he adds.



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