The Undiscovered Side of Me – Doctor Gabriel Chen shares how he balances his job and band Xingfoo&Roy
Doctor Gabriel Chen didn’t let his day job deter him from pursuing music. (Photo: Daniel Chan)

The Undiscovered Side of Me – Doctor Gabriel Chen shares how he balances his job and band Xingfoo&Roy

Is it possible to pursue a career alongside a creative passion?

If you’ve pondered this, then you’ve got an ally in us.

As ardent supporters of our homegrown arts and culture scene, we at The A List believe that there is no deadline to discovering the creative side of you. We manifest this belief in our recent campaign: The Undiscovered Side of Me.

Because there are always many sides to us, waiting to be explored. Just like how there are many sides to arts and culture. We recently sat down with selected individuals who pursue their creative passions outside of work, and one of them is Gabriel Chen.

Gabriel is a doctor in Singapore who is also a bassist in local emo band Xingfoo&Roy. The A List asks Gabriel how he balances his passion with his day job, what keeps him going and his advice for those looking to pursue their passion in the arts.

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Gabriel performing with his band XingFoo&Roy. (Photo: Chris Sim)

How did XingFoo&Roy get started? 

Daniel (guitars) and I started the band back in Secondary School. Prior to which Daniel and I had been friends since Primary 3, and we were obsessed with music both local and foreign.  

We then met Jerome (drums) along the way, and this obsession somehow manifested itself into writing our own sad songs and singing them in our respective bedrooms.

Eventually, we recorded the tracks, released them, and somehow convinced people to let us perform in front of actual living human beings (most of whom were not coerced, I’d like to believe). And I suppose we just haven’t found a reason to stop since.

Gabriel’s band recently released a DIY music video So, What Now? featuring three of their latest songs.

How do you balance both your day job and your creative passion?

I think surrounding yourself with the right people plays a massive part. I owe a lot to my amazing and skilled bandmates (and best friends) who make the creative process a joy and a reality.

At the same time, I’m grateful to the people I’ve had in my life, particularly a talented friend of mine who was a constant throughout my medical school years. Even though she didn’t study medicine, she too balanced her own art outside of her major and nurtured it into a career. She consistently reminded me that both my passions were not mutually exclusive despite my endless worrying at times. I continue to draw inspiration from her.

And fast-forward to today, three years since graduation, I’m blessed to find myself surrounded by brilliant and supportive people who continue to play such an important role in helping me keep this balance.

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Xingfoo&Roy performed in Japan in 2019

How has pursuing your creative passion helped you discover different aspects of yourself? How has it benefitted you?

I think it has helped me discover a weird pocket of confidence in myself that I never thought I had. As a quiet kid, I never thought a day would come where I would’ve been comfortable sharing my personal musings translated into lyrics, much less having to sing in front of strangers (yikes).

The band and our music have also given us the opportunity to meet countless incredible like-minded people who share the same experience, some of whom are now our closest and dearest friends. It has also created so many precious shared memories I wouldn’t trade for the world.

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Gabriel living out his creative passion. (Photo: Chris Sim)

What would you say to encourage others who may be looking to pursue their passion in the arts?

I would say it’s important to find the right inspiration and that includes finding the right people to be around too. I’m grateful for my bandmates, friends and family who have been that inspiration for me. And of course, PLEASE PURSUE IT (and tag me so I can enjoy it too).

Replies were edited and condensed for clarity.

Feeling inspired to discover the creative side of you? Start by exploring our Instagram filter where you can discover the type of arts lover you might be. Follow our Instagram to be in the loop on the latest arts and culture updates.

We can’t wait to share more awesome content with you. This is going to be so much fun.

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