For a long time, Josh Kua didn’t think he would one day play the violin for a living.
The Malaysia-born Australian picked up the violin when he fell in love with the instrument after watching a violinist perform on TV when he was four. But the pursuit of his music dreams would come only later.
“I always enjoyed music and performing. In terms of a job, it only became a reality when I was in university, that’s when I thought this could be a career path. Prior to that, I thought I’d end up in the professional line, like in the corporate world like most of my friends,” the 27-year-old tells Star2, sporting an apparent Australian accent.
After completing high school, Kua spent a year studying industrial design before switching to pursue a degree in law and commerce.
“During a foreign exchange programme here in Malaysia, a friend invited me to perform for the launch of a fashion line. And from there I thought I could go commercial. After that, I created my Facebook page and started to get more requests,” he explains.
And the jobs have been rolling in ever since. Since his graduation, Kua has performed in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.
“After I graduated, I started modelling full-time. At the time I didn’t have enough traction to make music my full-time job so modelling was a way for me to go to Singapore or Thailand and try to pick up gigs there and find management,” shares the 1.8m-tall Kua, whose chiselled jawline can be seen on ads for Nivea, Coca-Cola and Honda.
After working as a model and performing at various corporate events besides posting up his violin covers of contemporary hits on YouTube, Kua – now managed by HENC Entertainment – finds his music career about to move into high gear. He is releasing his debut EP in late March, following that with a concert on April 16 and 17 at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre.
Kua shares how he went from performing covers to making his own music and branching out into acting.
1. What can we expect from your upcoming concert?
I’ll be performing around 18 songs in total. Throughout the show, I’ll be collaborating with a singer, a beatboxer and dancers or a combination of them. I’m also getting my EP ready by late March, so I might be playing a few original songs in the concert.
The show will be divided into three acts, so it’s almost like I’m telling a story. The story is a bit about my personal journey. It covers themes like self-identity, overcoming obstacles and finding purpose in life. I hope the show will inspire people to learn music. More than that, to pursue their passions.
2. Describe your music.
The music I want to release now is quite different from my covers, which has more of an acoustic feel. I’m classically trained and I have a background in orchestra. I’m influenced recently by a lot of the music in film, orchestra scores and also deephouse (a subgenre of house music). I come from a very pop, alternative rock, acoustic background too.
I’m hoping to combine all these elements. So in the two originals on my EP, there’ll be a classical touch but also something modern.
3. Are you concerned that your original compositions may not be as well-received as your covers?
The commercial concerns are always there, that I need to sell records. But I’m just excited that the people who have been waiting for this since I started posting covers on YouTube and performing everywhere are finally going to get something.
4. You’re thinking of dabbling in acting too?
I’ve been getting requests and opportunities to be in films. There have been offers in Malaysia and China. At the moment, it’s all still in talks. We’re waiting for the concert to see how that goes.
I’ve never really done acting before. But it’s something I want to try because it’s something new. These are great opportunities and not everyone gets them.
I’ve always liked the idea of being the antagonist or the villain or someone really mysterious, so I think that’ll be something I would enjoy portraying.
5. The violin is a very romantic instrument. Have you used it to serenade your dates?
In terms of dates, the last two years on Valentine’s Day, I’ve always been performing, so I like serenade everyone. I take a lot of joy when I can move people with my music, that applies to everyone – friends, family or anyone who might be interested in me (laughs).
Tickets to Josh Kua’s Relentless concert, priced from RM108, are available at ticketpro.com.my.