Hello Asia’s Lyra Jazmin catches up with Thai-German artist Jannine Weigel in Los Angeles. Jannine Weigel is one of the rising talents in Thailand and around Asia. Starting at age eleven at a national singing contest in Thailand, she was spotted by GMM Grammy, one of Thailand’s biggest entertainment agencies. Signed to label in 2012, Weigel has released Thai language tracks to great success. In 2013 she started her own YouTube channel to showcase her covers and in 2015 her cover of Charlie Puth‘s “See You Again” gained the attention of Hollywood actors Aston Kutcher, Bella Thorne and rapper Lil Wayne. In May 2016 Weigel released her first English language track “Finish Line”. Lyra chats to her about “Finish Line” and her plans to crack the US market.
Hi Jannine! Tell me who is Jannine Weigel as an artist?
I started out with YouTube when I was 12 and I just got here! (laughs)
Can you talk about the Hollywood stars who has shared the work you have done on YouTube?
Yes Ashton Kutcher, Bella Thorne and Lil Wayne shared my cover of “See You Again”. It was pretty surprising!
How did you find out these stars shared your video?
The first time I found out about it was when Ashton Kutcher commented on my video. I was like what? OK I’ll just check it out. I then saw him posting my video and I was “aahhh! He posted my cover!”.
How did you start in the Thai music industry?
It started when I was 11 and I entered a singing competition. Grammy (Thai entertainment agency) saw me and wanted me to audition at their company. They liked me so I was accepted firstly as a trainee and I got to record my first single. I’ve released two Thai language singles already.
When you say trainee is it similar to the trainee programs we hear about in Korea?
In Thailand they on’t train as hard as Korea. From my own experience I received singing lessons and dancing lessons. And that’s about it.
How did the single “Finish Line” come about?
I did “Finish Line” with my team in LA. We sat down and decided to do something. So we started out with a sample and we just built it up from the beat to the melody. Then we sat down and asked ourselves “What should the song be about?” At that moment I was thinking about how everyone was running for something and for a prize. How everyone was trying to win something – trying to achieve something. So I was thinking about a finish line. So that’s how the title and theme of the song came about. Let’s do a song about a “Finish Line”!
Was this your first time writing a track?
I didn’t write the whole song but I came up with the concept, the idea and the song name for “Finish Line”.
How many times have you been to LA?
This is my second time here.
How do you like LA?
I love it here! I love the weather. I love the food! (laughs)
Has it been a goal of yours to release an English language track and release it in the US?
Yes it has. I actually wanted to start doing more English songs. I want more people to hear my songs.
What is Jannine Weigel like away from the spotlight? Would you consider yourself a normal person? Because back home in Thailand you are pretty big.
Yes I do! (laughs) Well, I still feel like a normal person. I actually don’t talk much. I like listening to people more. I can be a bit shy sometimes. When I’m on the stage I do my performance thing. But in everyday life I’m a bit shy. When I’m with friends or when I go shopping I’m pretty shy.
Have you tried to make any German music or break out in Germany?
I’ve never really focused on making any German music or the German market. I want to focus on my English songs because chances are I would break into the German market anyway. For me personally I find Germans don’t just listen to German music, they listen to English music as well. So right now I want to focus on the US market and my English songs.
How do you want to see yourself five years from now?
Well I don’t want to draw any expectations. I just try to do my best everyday. Let’s see where it gets me.
How do you want people to listen to your music?
I really want to do music that inspires people and lifts them up. So every time they listen to my music just feel good.
Do you have a message for your fans?
I want to thank my fans for always supporting me. I’m really grateful for having you guys and really happy you like my songs and music. Thank you very much for supporting me.