Singapore's weather makes Jai Waetford want to go around naked
When he was 14, he wowed Ronan Keating and swept Australia off its feet on the fifth season of The X Factor Australia.
With Keating as his mentor, he emerged second runner-up in the 2013 rendition of the reality music competition, and signed a recording contract with Sony Music Australia that same year.
Three years later, Jai Waetford is still only 17, and more than ready to step out of his X Factor shadow.
His latest EP, Heart Miles, was released on June 3.
He was in Singapore to promote his music a few days after his EP was released.
While he was here, he collaborated with local YouTube channel cheokboardstudios in a skit.
He also conducted a Facebook Live and shot another video, with local band The Sam Willows.
He spoke to The New Paper about his touring experience, the inspiration behind his music and performed two songs off his EP.
We also taught him some Singlish phrases (Oxford Dictionary approved ones, of course) along the way.
Your EP just came out. How do you feel now that it's out?
I am super excited for people to start finding out about it. It's quite a personal project to me. I've been working on it for the last 12 months, and really finessing it and making sure that it's right.
What inspired you to write the songs in Heart Miles?
Most of them are about my girlfriend, but when I'm writing in general, usually it's about things that are going on around me, and things that are happening in my life at that present time.
Do you ever get writer's block?
Not really. (My current) lifestyle is very busy and very full-on, so I'm constantly inspired by people and things around me. I find you only get writer's block when you're really specific about what you want to write and what you want to say. But if you're free-flowing and don't really have a topic or a subject, or you're feeling a certain way, it's easier because it's a lot broader, the things you can write and put down.
Did you ever think you'd be doing what you are now?
Growing up, I wanted to work with animals. I wanted to be a zookeeper. My grades wouldn't have been good enough, but I had that dream. Then X Factor came up, and I thought I'd give it a go, and it just went from there.
Out of all the places you've visited, which one's your favourite?
Amsterdam. Europe was amazing. But I love Singapore. If it was 10 degrees cooler… It's crazy. And you guys still wear pants and jackets? I'd walk around naked.
What's it like, travelling to places like Europe and Asia to promote your music?
It's quite tiring, but I'm super energetic. Today, I'm pretty tired, but we still do it. As long as you have cool people around you and you enjoy it and have fun, it's all good.
Did you get any advice on how to handle it?
Just to get as much sleep as you can, because it's pretty gruelling, but we sleep when we can.
Besides Ronan Keating in your first EP, you haven't collaborated with anyone else. If you had the choice to collaborate with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be?
Just to be in the same room as Prince would be pretty cool. Or Bruno Mars would be awesome.