The digital evolution has made fame a standard aspiration for teenagers and, when they find it, getting out there even more seems – more often than not – the next step (see again Greta Thunberg). That however doesn’t seem to be the case for Shye-Anne Brown, the 17-year-old bedroom pop sensation better known as Shye who made her fashion magazine debut (as well as first mini music video) with Female (yup, us) five months ago.
So she has in that time performed at the critically acclaimed indie music festivals Baybeats and Kuala Lumpur’s Urbanscapes; was the special guest at Telok Ayer Arts Club’s first non-alcoholic party Sober Curious last month; and steadily amassed even more fans, going by her photos with them – hugs, peace signs and all – that she posts on Instagram. But ask the up-and-comer what a regular day is like for her and her reply is unassuming to the point of prosaic: “School, home, sleep. My classmates (at Lasalle College of the Arts) have somehow found out about my music, but I usually keep what I do low-key because I get awkward when asked about it.” Record labels could easily make bank with her youth; cherubic, doe-eyed beauty; and cheeky yet dulcet, self-taught and produced brand of dream pop, but she’s happy staying independent. (“I’ll change my mind maybe only if I feel like I’ll be able to grow and still have creative freedom,” she says.)
Her musical indulgences have recently expanded to include The Beach Boys and she’ll release her second EP – one she hopes will show development from 2018’s Augus7ine (“I definitely know a little more now than back then when I first started”) – by mid-year. Unlike many newly famous teenagers though, she’s in no rush to grow up. Just listen to her words of wisdom: “I’m really serious about what I’m doing, but I hope people will have age-appropriate expectations of me too.”
This article first appeared in the February 2020 print issue of FEMALE.
Photography Phyllicia Wang Styling Imran Jalal
Hair and Makeup Manisa Tang, using Hera & Keune