Friday, February 7, 2014

Savy - Revealed

Savy released her first single, 'About A Boy,' on iTunes and other major digital retailers on 1 February, as well as her video on YouTube. The Cambodian-born singer will perform at the first annual Cambodian Music Festival in Hollywood on 3 August. I thought it was time to find out more about the artist who is causing quite a stir both in the States and in her homeland.

Your name, family, singing - tell us more...
It's Savy Som but I just go by Savy. My first name seems to be challenging enough without complicating the matter of throwing in my last name. I've asked my parents what my name means in Khmer and so far, they don't have any good answers for me. It's such an awesome coincidence that I was born in the same place (Battambang) as the Queen of Khmer Rock n Roll, Ros Sereysothea! I'll leave that as the only parallel drawn between us though because she is a legend. Sacred. I am just a mere mortal. My parents love Cambodian music, and my brother plays guitar. He actually helped me write my second single. My sister is a brilliant fine artist. The Khmer artistry runs deep through my family, but I'm the only one who could never shut up when the radio is on.

Singing is something I've been doing since I was four. It was never encouraged though. My mom literally told me to stop singing and that I didn't have a good voice. They are the sweetest people apart from that opinion, the thing is that Asian parents are very practical and can be critical. But they're on board now. It only took 28 years. My first audition was for a school play when I was eight. Every season I try out for all the reality singing shows, American Idol, The Voice, America's Got Talent. I've been a feature singer in cover bands but I've never had the opportunity to be a full-time musician due to having to work a day job since I was a teenager to pay those pesky bills.

I'd like to earn a comfortable living as a full-time musician. It's what I love doing the most and I'd do it for free, so being paid for it would be a fantastic bonus. I've been working in hospitals in the clinical lab as a phlebotomist (collecting blood samples) since I was eighteen. I love helping people and being there during someone's time of need and duress. I was laid-off from that job in July and I moved in with my brother in order to reduce expenses, so I could focus resources on getting my music out there. I've spent every last dime on it, so it's all I really have at this point.
Your song, About A Boy...
I write all the lyrics, harmonies and the majority of the melodies. 'About A Boy' was co-written and produced by an amazing team in Los Angeles with which I've had the good fortune of working, Liz Hill and Wesley Avery. I wrote 'About A Boy' when I had just started seeing someone that I was feeling delighted by and hopeful about. It didn't work out but I'll always have that song as a snapshot to that time and emotion. It reminds me that great things can only come to those with an open heart. Never stop believing in love. It's the only thing that lasts. Knowledge and love. I live for those things. I will readily admit that I have an unyielding passion for pop music! I used to hide it as a guilty pleasure, but I realized that pop music is one of the few styles that fires up the love I have for performing and honing my craft. While pop is comprised mainly of corn and cheese, it can serve as a reminder to never take things too seriously in life. Life is inherently difficult and you have to find outlets to lighten up the doorstep. Music isn't designed to crack the mathematical equation for cold fusion, it's designed for fun!

I plan to promote the song where ever the music takes me. It's all about connecting with people and I want to be in places to promote what is fun and positive. My tracks are concert quality, so I perform solo for the ease. A band would be ideal though because I learned to sing and perform with live musicians. My second single is an up tempo space travel analogy. I'm in pre production for the music video right now and I'm super excited to start filming! I love Star Trek (The Next Generation) and other space travel anthologies. I enjoy nearly anything written by really smart intellectuals that have a lot of wit and heart. I'm a huge nerd.

What about your Cambodian roots...
I felt very Cambodian growing up, my parents raised me with a lot of the old world values, have respect for elders, to work really hard, be thoughtful, and observant. For me, that's what it means to be Khmer, that when you walk by a seated elder, you stoop to show deference for their life experience. Being Khmer is a warmth of spirit and inviting people to share your meal. I love our food, it's the best in the world! My mom can cook like nobody's business. I'm getting hungry just writing about it. My parents are both alive and live in California, as well as the rest of my family. My family is small, like most Cambodians, we lost a lot of people during the war.

There hasn't been a day of my life that Cambodia does not occupy my mind. I have always wanted to go back but haven't returned mostly because I've had to work and pay every last bill on my own. There's also an emotional component to my return that is tinged with sadness from what my family went through. But I'm ready to go back now, especially if I have something like music to share! Hopefully that will expedite my inevitable return and make it sooner than later.
You can watch Savy's YouTube video of About A Boy @ A big thanks to Savy for taking the time to answer my questions and for allowing me to use her photographs. Nrg FM89.0 have been playing Savy's single exclusively in Cambodia. Listen @

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