Interview 1 – ‘Star Light’

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Vithma Kumarage is a young Sri Lankan student who is currently an A-level candidate, and also a talented singer, who has been appearing in singing contests on television over the last few weeks. Because she is about to light up our skies by winning a major talent show, I asked her some questions about her views on Life, the Universe & so on:
  Q1: What do you think the biggest pressures are, on young people today?
VK: Fitting into society. No matter how much someone says that s/he is comfortable with who they are or how they behave, there will always be a certain amount of insecurity in young people today.
However, most of us learn how to overcome this feeling by associating with people who we know accept us for who we are and not for what the world wants us to be.

Q2: Do you think that competition & rivalry are too intense in your age group? For academic success? Popularity? Fame? Peer approval?

VK: Rivalry and competition play a HUGE role today:
A problem that may seem of no importance or urgency to an adult may be ‘a matter of life and death’ for someone of my age.
Everyone tries to achieve the best in life. Some because they are forced to, or because of parental pressure. However, most because they want to gain a better life than certain other people of the same age.
It’s advantageous but also disadvantageous at times.
Rivalry among groups of friends is mainly because of acceptance or simply loyalty.
In order to stay in one particular group, kids of my age may lie, cheat or even go to the extent of harming someone they barely know.

Q3: What have you learned, from some of your life experiences so far?

VK: I have learned the hard way: that keeping a small circle of friends creates a safe haven for the mind, body and soul, and also keeps a lot of the teenage drama away. I’ve learnt that I should never stray from my goals because of something that happened yesterday, or even today –  but that I should keep in mind that I will always have to look forward to tomorrow.

I have also learned that you should never regret anything.
Q4: What motivates you? Please use as many words as you like!
VK: For me, motivation comes from many people and things:
You simply can never have one particular person or thing to motivate yourself with.
The minute you increase the amount of things that can give you motivation, then you will see a huge difference.
My parents, friends, role models, such as Christina Aguilera, and even simple quotes online can give me motivation. Self-motivation sounds simple: I can go ahead and tell anyone that I motivate myself but that wouldn’t be entirely true. Everybody needs help in life and sometimes a little motivation from someone or something generous enough to give it will go a long way.
Q5: There is a lot of fakeness around, these days, isn’t there? Not just false eyelashes, acrylic nails and hair extensions! But people pretending to be what they are not?


VK: “Fake people”: I honestly do know a lot of people like this. I would however say they are ‘simple frenemies’: backstabbing friends! … as time goes by you learn, or at least I have learnt, to accept them for who they are. It is simply a part of their personality and no-one should play the role of God and try and change something about someone  – good or bad – unless they want to change for themselves. Helping someone and changing someone are two  very different things.
However ‘fake’ people may seem, you have to know that there may be a reason for their actions.


Q6: Your favourite songs?

VK: My favourite songs to sing?…

I love songs sung from the heart.

A song that has a meaning or a story is always one I would love to sing.

The meaning or story of the song  doesn’t however have to always intentionally be depressing or sad. Even songs that are advising or inspiring us are quite interesting.

The song ‘The Voice Within’ by Christina Aguilera is one of my favourites just now.

Like many others, I love soulful songs that can help relate to another’s past or present situation.

Acknowledging people who are suffering or hurt – so that they know they aren’t the only ones.

I believe certain songs can be a message to people.

So far, songs sung by Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé, and Rihanna are the songs I’ve done.

However I’m very interested in trying out new genres of music. You can never satisfy yourself with any one particular song type, because every day creative people will introduce new and enticing songs.

Yes, I love the song ‘Beautiful’ by Christina Aguilera. It’s interesting how she tells a story in her song that can keep the audience guessing about different scenarios. She has captured the hearts of as many women, I strongly believe, as men of this world, by not only her physical appearance but also her emotional yet strong personality that radiates throughout her songs and herself, similar to many other performers that our generation has grown up with.



Q7: When you are on stage, you said you feel as though you are `not on earth, but in heaven’. May we know what you mean by this statement?

I believe everyone has a certain amount of drama that they want to escape from. No matter how small or big the problem may seem, a problem will be a problem! For me, singing on stage brings out the best of me, because I know that people listen to everything I say.

I wouldn’t say that it’s a way of seeking attention – it’s more of a way of seeking peace. I sing – and people just listen.

I know people may assume and believe that I’m too young to know what the world can be like and how cruel it can get. It’s rare to enter a crowd and expect them to simply listen to you for a long time, but when someone sings everyone stops and listens.

Ishan de Lanerolle is my singing teacher, who helps me improve my singing capabilities.

And I believe it’s easier to learn from someone you look up to.

Singing on stage is my heaven. The only `place I’d rather be’ on earth – other than home with my family – is on a stage singing and pouring my heart out to the people who are willing to listen and understand. Listening to someone singing can mean a lot to them, and maybe they will pick up the hidden story beneath all the colorful words sung.

Yes some may say that what I’m saying is ‘mainstream’ and that it’s a ‘typical thing’ to say.

But I guess it depends on each and every individual, because you may know my name but you have to hear my story in order for you to understand why I am the way I am.

At the beginning of Christina Aguilera’s song ‘Beautiful’, she says: ‘Don’t look at me’. My friends & I discussed why she would say that. Maybe it’s because there are so many things that catch our eye in this world. So much to look at. So I think of that, when I am about to sing. I want to say:

‘So why don’t you just listen, instead’ ?