Name: Fatima Dechawaleekul
Trinity qualification: Grade 8 Classical Guitar and Rock & Pop Vocals. Grade 6 Violin.
Fatima Dechawaleekul, also known as Earn, is an 18-year-old multi-instrumentalist from Thailand, who has already reached Grade 8 in Classical guitar and Rock & Pop Vocals, as well as Grade 6 in Violin.
Earn talked to us about her experiences with Trinity College London and impressive musical achievements, including reaching the Top 4 in the very popular 'The Star: Idol' talent show. We asked about her early memories of music.
“My first musical experience came from my mum, I think. When I was around 3 years old, my mum used to sing with my grandmom at home, and I just somehow sang along with them and started dancing - that's when like I started to like music!”
Just a few years later Earn picked up her first instrument.
“I actually started with violin classes at about five or six years old because my sister used to do violin, my brother was on the piano, and another was on the cello - you have to form an orchestra!”
Before long, Earn was thinking about taking her first Trinity graded exam. We asked her what difference the exam preparation made to her playing.
“We practiced a lot before the exam. We had to use a lot of techniques in the books, and sometimes the teacher teaches us techniques that we didn't know before. Yeah. So of course after you've passed any grades, you will be improved.”
We asked her what she can remember about the her first graded exam with Trinity.
“I was scared and nervous, but also very excited to go to the room. The examiner was very kind to me – I was not able to speak English at all and they were just explaining everything slowly and they kept asking if I understood them or not.”
As Earn developed her skills on the violin, she felt ready for a new challenge.
"It was really funny because at around eight years old, I heard this person playing this instrument. I was like what sound is this? It's wonderful!"
"I just walked past the room, and I saw it was the teacher playing. He was like do you want to come play with this?”
Fatima quickly discovered that the guitar came very naturally to .
“On the day my teacher handed me the classical guitar, I could kind of already play! He just started to teach me some chords and notes and I somehow could do everything that he told me to do - like I remembered the notes or I knew how to play it.”
The next year Earn decided to turn her attention to developing her skills and technique as a vocalist.
“I started singing seriously when I was nine years old because I had a big dream and wanted to be a superstar singer.’
“I said to myself - if you take exams, you will improve a lot because you have to practice a lot of techniques. I want it to be my job, so I need to achieve that goal in my life."
All Earn’s hard work really started paying off when she found herself competing in a TV talent show as a teenager.
“I was really scared of going out on stage on that show. It was like another level of going into like an examination room, but with a big audience who will know everything about your mistakes. “
We asked Earn how she thinks she has managed to achieve so much at such a young age.
“My exams techniques helped me a lot in that time. My teacher also told me to practice like you are performing and perform like you're practicing – I keep this slogan with me every time I have to walk up the stage. “
“It's just about learning. I practice a lot. I've practiced like 8 hours a day. I just sit with my guitar, and I don't think of anything else. That's the happiest for me for - I love it to be honest.”
Earn had this advice for anyone starting out on their musical journey.
“I would say don't judge yourself - you have to give it a go and try it first. Yeah, just don't judge yourself at all.”