A finalist on the popular reality singing show, The Final 1, and Class 95’s Radio Star, music has always been an important part of Shanice Hedger’s life. No stranger to the spotlight, she was also a finalist in Miss Singapore Universe 2016. We sit down with this multi-faceted artist to find out what makes her tick.
Hi Shanice, thank you for taking the time to have a chat with us. You’ve been a freelance performer for over 5 years and have participated in numerous music competitions. How did your journey as a singer-artiste start?
Wow, I guess if we’re talking about beginnings…. I’ve always enjoyed music when I was a child - singing along to Barney, memorising the hi-5 lyrics and dances. When I was 7 years old, I joined my school’s choir and also sang in church. When I was selected for a solo part in a song, it hit me that I could be a little bit more than okay at this singing stuff.
If anything, it was this small opportunity that opened my eyes and gave me the confidence to pay more attention to my singing - after all, I was already in love with it. What can I say haha, from then on it was saving up to buy albums, writing out lyrics on paper (before I learned to use the printer at home), joining performing troupes, and when I got a bit older, eventually recording myself, posting online, joining competitions and performing live.
You have a beautiful and pure vocal that is no less strong and sure. In your own words, how would you describe your music?
Whenever I watch live performances with my mum on tv or online, she’s always drawn to the emotion the singer has - she’s always mentioning it! So I guess this is a quality that I tend to search for when I watch people perform over the years.
I always look to singers who have the ability to convey more than just the meaning of the lyrics but the emotions that come through with the music. I hope that whatever song that I perform, I am able to emulate this quality and bring the audience along on that emotional ride.
What motivated you to join The Final One?
So I’ve been a long-time viewer of American Idol and Australian Idol hahaha. My 2 favourite tv programs when I was growing up! I always wondered what it’d be like to join a singing competition. So when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped at it - to know what the journey would entail but also, to test myself in a way; see how far I could stretch myself, and see how much I could grow.
I was only 17 then, having just started my first year of Junior College. Thinking back, man…. It was one of the most challenging times of my life albeit fully self-inflicted but I have zero regrets. I struggled in both JC and the competition but it made the entire experience all that more priceless.
Other than singing, what else interests you?
Other than singing, I love to exercise. Running really helps me de-stress - something that I relied on while in school and during competitions. I love to travel when I can and edit vlogs of trips, putting them up on my YouTube channel, too. I’m also really into makeup and skincare! It’s another outlet for expression and also kind of therapeutic, too!
Besides singing, you were also a finalist in Miss Singapore Universe in 2016! Why did you decide to join Miss Universe and what was the journey like to get there?
It was all thanks to an Instagram ad I saw. And my driving instructor, in a way! I had seen the Instagram ad for the casting a few weeks before the deadline and just a few days before the deadline, I went for a driving lesson at the driving school. I didn’t have a regular instructor so I was meeting this particular instructor for the first time.
During the session, he spoke about an ongoing modelling competition happening at the time. He then asked if I would ever compete, to which I replied, “I don’t know” haha. He told me that I could do well and I had a good laugh. I thought this was a sign from the universe (LOL) and I submitted my application on the night of the deadline.
To my surprise, I got a callback. I didn’t even own anything higher than 3-inch heels, so I had to go out and buy one. At the callback, we had a scaled-down simulation of a pageant with a few rounds - q&a, swim suit, etc. At the end of the callback, they announced the names of the girls who would proceed in the competition. Next thing I knew, I was standing next to girls - all of whom were taller than me - posing for a photo for the newspaper. Madness!
What are some misconceptions people have about the Miss Universe competition?
I think the biggest and most common misconception is that anyone who participates in a pageant is less than smart and only about external beauty. I was competing against girls who were all kinds of professionals, lawyers, and other students like myself. Each girl brought something new. Girls in these pageants don’t just live, breathe, and eat for the pageants. They have lives beyond it and it’s so nice to learn about each other’s backgrounds.
Can you share some of the challenges you face as an artiste? Tell us about a moment where you felt like giving up, and what kept you going afterward?
The most painful hump for me so far was being eliminated from The Final One season 2. I had made it further than in season 1 so naturally, I wanted to go as far as the end. It honestly took me a few weeks to stop thinking of my elimination daily but eventually, I started to see that the journey doesn’t end there. It ends only when you allow it to. And also, all about perspective. I took all that I’ve learned and gained, and channelled that into the next thing I wanted to accomplish.
And what has been your favourite moment of the journey so far?
I think it would have to be meeting people who share the same interests as you. There’s so much to learn from one another and also, to take inspiration from! It’s kind of magical.
When you are chasing after something in life - and this could be anything - do you sprint all the way, or tip-toe it at your own pace?
I definitely tip-toe at my own pace. I don’t think either way is right or wrong. I just feel most comfortable when I take the time to make sure what I do is thought through and perfected/planned out. I tend to see the bigger picture when I don’t rush.
Who was your inspiration growing up and why?
My parents have definitely been my constant inspiration. From as young as I can remember they’ve always been my number 1 supporters, pushing me, encouraging me, creating an environment for me to discover my passions. I wouldn’t have accomplished anything without the way they’ve nurtured me. Their love has inspired me all the way and continues to inspire me to achieve more in the future.
One final question. Everyone has their own definition of beauty. At ABX, we believe that beauty is about living and projecting our lives with confidence in who we are. What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty to me is accepting and loving yourself. I think it’s definitely an infectious quality that anyone can notice. It’s so easy to focus on what we feel is lacking in ourselves and I don’t think it’s always an easy quality to possess but it’s something I aspire to have. Being kind to others is so important but being kind to yourself is equally as important.
About the writer
The beautiful half of the successful travel influencer @TodayWeExplore, Cheryl also heads the marketing at Asian Beauty X. When she isn’t trolling the internet for beauty trends, or dreaming up travel vacays, you can find Cheryl sipping ’Gram-worthy cocktails at some trendy bar.