After 14 months of being away from the limelight, Malaysia-born and Australia-raised violinist Josh Kua is back. The 33-year-old musician — a lawyer and sought-after product endorser and runway model — is pushing away boundaries sonically this time with his latest single, “All A Game.”
The single, a collaboration with award-winning producer Daniel Veerapen, highlights Kua's artistic agility in music and creative experimentation.
“This song is about breaking free of [all] your fears and inhibitions. I'm often paralyzed by choice, fear of failure and perfectionism. [But] 'All A Game' serves as a genuine reminder to myself that this career I have, and indeed several aspects of life, really are all games, as many of the things we worry about don't matter in the grand scheme of things,” he said.
But he wouldn't like to call his 14-month absence in the music scene a hiatus per se. “I have been performing throughout this period. It's just that I hadn't released a 'new original' since early 2022. The gap in [my] releases would come down to focusing on getting my work back on track after all the pandemic lockdowns, which made most of my work impossible.”
Kua described his new single as a cyberpunk-inspired tune—an invigorating fusion of hard-hitting beats, synth basslines, and thrilling bursts of violin melodies. It also features minimal lyrics and his vocals for the very first time.
“My sound has evolved overall—from more acoustic and lyrical to more electronic, and perhaps a little more theatrical—I like to experiment with different moods and don't like the idea of being constrained to what people think violin should sound like. I don't see myself as different from any other vocal artist, and thus [I] am not limited to any specific genres or soundscapes,” he said.
Though Kua took formal lessons and enjoyed some aspects of classical music — he passed a Grade 8 exam for classical violin and piano players at the Australian Music Examinations Board while still in high school — he always preferred experimenting and playing along with music that spoke to him more.
“I chose not to pursue further studies in music [in university], as I felt it would take away the fun and passion since I'd been doing this as a hobby.”
His musical influences include Lady Gaga, whom he described as not just a vocalist “but a real musician who writes her music and assumes a key role in determining her creative output,” and a Singaporean-born British violinist named Vanessa Mae who gained popularity during the '90s.
“I knew her for cross-over music style, blending pop with classical [music]. She eventually became a blueprint of sorts for what I do today.”
He also opened up about his dream collaboration with a Filipino artist: “'Mulan' is my favorite Disney movie and character, so collaborating with Lea Salonga would be a total dream!”
If Kua's name rings a bell to Filipino violin music aficionados, that's because he already visited the country a decade ago.
“Early on in my career, I had the opportunity to perform at SM Malls in Dasmarinas, Cavite; Lanang Premier, Davao; and Sta. Rosa City, Laguna. My tour in the Philippines gave me a level of confidence knowing that I could be flown out to perform overseas—not something I had ever imagined.”
Being immersed in music, playing, and creating music are what inspire him to play the violin.
“I play because I can and because I feel so free [when I do it]. As an instrumentalist and a quiet person, I've always felt that playing the violin is like my voice—my most expressive and unabashed form of expression.
Despite the challenges of being an artist, I'm inspired to endure because I'm exercising my unique expression of the universe. It's just a matter of channeling and refining your 'voice,'” Kua said.
He maintains his integrity as a musician and is commercially successful by being a completely self-funded, independent artist.
“It's [most] difficult when it comes to navigating my career as a contemporary solo violinist as there are no clear routes to take, and it's often hard to know if you'll survive, let alone thrive. It's sometimes tricky to know how to position oneself and find niches that appreciate the art you're putting out there. [So] I try my best to stay positive and motivated despite the challenges of commerciality.”
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