For Natalie Ong, writing a song for the first time isn't just about creating a hit. It was about sharing her personal story with the world.
The Singaporean singer-songwriter only took a week to write the first draft of the lyrics for her debut single, 'Get Gold', which she started working on in April this year.
In an exclusive interview with Youth.SG after her performance at the Uncharted concert last Sunday evening, the bubbly 16-year-old was in high spirits, despite having performed several songs during the gig.
What's the story behind 'Get Gold'?
"There was a lot of back and forth when I did the songwriting. I wrote it while I was travelling between Singapore and Australia. We even shot the music video in Melbourne," said Natalie, who will be performing 'Get Gold' for the first time next Saturday at SHINE Festival, a three-day youth festival.
Natalie's hobbies include shopping, spending time with her cousins, and playing with makeup.
PHOTO CREDIT: MUHAMMAD ASYRAF
"The song is about me chasing my dreams. For example, the lyrics 'I'll climb the highest of mountains, risking it all for the perfect view' is exactly what I'm doing to reach my goals, and I hope the song will encourage others to do the same as well," said Natalie, who shot to fame when she competed in The X Factor Australia last year.
In fact, Natalie will be chasing one of her dreams at SHINE Festival. The Singaporean singer will be performing with former Girls' Generation member, Jessica Jung, on Jul 1.
How does she feel about performing with one of the biggest names in K-pop?
Natalie answered: "I am so overwhelmed and grateful for this opportunity. There is so much I can learn from her."
"K-pop is something I didn't have the opportunity to do. Now that I have the chance to sing with Jessica, it's going to be such an exciting learning experience. Our music styles are slightly different, so our duet together will be interesting and fresh," added Natalie, whose inspirations include local music acts such as JJ Lin.
Natalie also had the opportunity to collaborate with big names while working on 'Get Gold'.
One of the writers on this track included Singaporean music producer and songwriter, Tat Tong, who also wrote Troye Sivan's 'Happy Little Pill'.
Natalie also worked very closely with local musician Josh Wei, who has worked with prominent local acts like Gentle Bones and Sam Rui, to produce her R&B single.
'Get Gold' was shot in Melbourne, Australia, over two days.
"He was very patient since it was my first time writing [a song]. I wanted to do something different. I wanted something more upbeat with R&B, so that it would appeal to the youths.
"He was really nice, and he listened to what I wanted this track to be and guided me along the way," said Natalie, with a smile on her face.
Despite her young age, Natalie is no stranger to the spotlight.
In 2016, she made waves in the music industry when she competed in The X Factor Australia in the Under-22 category. Unfortunately, Natalie, then 15, was eliminated after the first live show of the reality singing competition in October.
Yet, that was just the beginning for the budding singer.
Natalie had the opportunity to be mentored by singer, Adam Lambert,
when she was a contestant on The X Factor Australia.
PHOTO CREDIT: NATALIE ONG
"The X Factor Australia was a great opportunity for me to grow. At first, I was disappointed when I was eliminated, but it motivated me to work on my career even more," said Natalie, the oldest of two siblings.
Since her early exit from The X Factor Australia, Natalie received numerous offers to perform in Singapore.
"I've always wanted to start my career back in Singapore because I've always felt a connection to this place. I was hoping that The X Factor Australia would work as a platform for me to get noticed in Singapore.
"And that's exactly what happened," shared Natalie, who grew up in Melbourne.
"I came back to Singapore soon after X Factor to work on my career and I plan to stay here until further notice," added the talented youth, who hopes to kick-start her career in Singapore.
The young musician has already performed at several local events this year, including the HSBC Women's Championship in February and the Home Team Show & Festival in May.
So, what's next for this young rising star?
The makeup junkie shared that she hopes to have an album of her own in the future.
"I definitely want to work on my music and gain experience. Hopefully, I can put out an album sometime in the future," explained Natalie, with a giggle.
Acting is on the cards for the bubbly youth as well.
This August, Natalie will be making her acting debut in the well-known theatre production, Army Daze 2.
"Acting is something I've always been interested in and I wanted to try out. Maybe I'll move in that direction too," shared Natalie.
BANNER PHOTO CREDIT: VADBIBES
Natalie Ong will be performing at SHINE Festival on Jul 1 at 8pm. Catch her exclusive collaboration set with Jessica Jung on the same day at 10.30pm!