“It’s great to have big dreams but you gotta work on it day by day by simply just doing the best you can. Believe that you can create something great, believe you can face anything that comes your way, believe you’re gonna get that dream job one way or another.” – Andrea
Andrea Rachel Stevenson who’s currently 25 as of 2021 grew up in Kuantan, Pahang and comes from a family of singers. Up til she was 6 years old, her family moved over to Subang Jaya and lived there until she was 17. After SPM, her family moved to Penang and has been working since then in the tourism, education, F&B and healthcare industry.
And how did singing come into her life? Andrea shared, “Through good days and bad, singing kept me sane. The music scene is where I’ve met so many talented people that eventually inspired me to share my own songs.”
“I’ve always been writing originals since I was 13 but never really share it with anyone but my family. I find writing my own songs as an outlet to express myself freely as I’m usually bad at talking about things. To me it’s truly a life saver and I’m grateful for this ability to sing and write!”
Andrea finds painting therapeutic while also enjoys making crochets, where she got influenced by her mother who’s a Filipino. “Back then, filipino women had to learn how to make certain crafts for a living and crochet is one of ’em. My grandmother and my mum used to make so many beautiful clothing, pillowcase, bags- all by a needle and a string! It’s always really exciting to see how things would turn out, it teaches one to have patience.”
Aside from that, you probably wouldn’t imagine her to be interested in the military, but she signed up for the Royal Malaysian Army (Reservist) after getting inspired by her dad!
“At the age of 18 I signed myself up in the Royal Malaysian Army (Reservist) and went through the courses and graduated as a Private. My dad was so proud, I gotta do what he couldn’t and that gave me that sense of fulfilment. Something for me to look back to and say I’ve lived a life of adventure!”
Ever since she was a little girl, at the age of 5, she started creating her own renditions of Mother Goose’s nursery rhymes. She also had her first solo performance for her kindergarten’s school concert at the young age of 6 years old! Her mother is one of the main reasons why she started singing while also stood by her side as a vocal coach ever since she was young.
Going by the stage name ‘HARA’, Andrea shared how this name came about. “I had to sing at really dodgy bars for a start, being at random places around the island and I didn’t like the idea of strangers knowing my real name.”
The interesting fact about the word HARA is that it represents ‘strength’ in many languages. For Andrea, that meant that she will always be strong no matter what life throws at her, and to always never give up on her dreams.
The main challenge she faced throughout her singing career would be to stay inspired all the time without getting burnt out. Though having some sort of structure or repetition in your life is good, it does kill your creativity. “Usually the ones that happen effortlessly are the ones that come out the nicest! Haha! That’s exactly what happened with ‘Dreamland Bay’- that one song I was really happy about.”
She didn’t have to think so much – it was more of pouring feelings out on a paper.
“It took me years to realize that this song I write is my story and whether or not any one relates to it, it’s me being true to myself.”
Of course, in life there will always be haters and negative comments floating around. If you’re not sure how to handle it, here’s Andrea’s take on it!
“Take a moment to breathe before reacting because it will get to you if you’re not fully in control of yourself. Be Present, Be firm and keep a clear mind. Take what’s useful and discard what isn’t. Reflect and move forward!
Once you get past this whole stage, you find yourself leveling up every time. My goal is to become a better version of myself than I was yesterday. Even more so when facing challenging days or people. Taking one day at a time.”
Having high self-esteem or confidence isn’t something that most people naturally have.
If you’re struggling with these issues, you could consider Andrea’s advice on this:
“Try something out of your comfort zone. Try taking that first step! Do it in private or with a close friend! Make small goals. Reach those goals. Eventually, you will gain the confidence to take on bigger challenges and eventually, the world, your world!”
“Expect to fall over and over, expect self doubts, expect to find yourself comparing with others and when you do face those kinda days, think about the very 1st day you started this whole journey, how you felt and then get back up again.”
If you’ve been wanting to be a singer or work towards your dreams, Andrea shares that it’s so important to take it one day at a time, just like how her dad always reminds her to.
“You stay strong and focused in the present, so you’d gain strength for the future! You’ll find yourself going places! Visualize your success, feel it and live it! Most importantly, be kind to yourself during the process, give yourself love – that time to breathe and watch yourself grow!”
We hope Andrea’s story has inspired you the way it inspires us, to get out of your comfort zone and take on new challenges in life. Always take one day at a time and never give up on your dreams!
Do you have your own story to tell? Drop us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea’s Instagram: @haratunes
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