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  • Writer's pictureThe Original Folks

EP 17&18: how to create a unique brand and make it stick

Hosts: Jade and Deniece

Guests: Shili and Adi



In this episode, Jade and Deniece sit with musical celebrity duo, "Shili and Adi", as they share insights from their musical careers, with experiences from both their individual lives, and as a team working together for over 12 years.



Episode Timeline:

[02:00] Deniece has been friends with Shili and Adi for years now. Deniece discloses that she is leaving the dance academy, selling all her shares, and starting her own thing.

[03:38] Today's discussion will be about business, and how Shili and Adi got together.

[05:50] Meet today's guests, ShiLi Yap and Adi Rakhmadian, a power duo popularly known as "Shili & Adi" musical group in Singapore who have been existing for over 12 years now. Adi had been backing up for Shili in 2008 after there was a vacancy for an acoustic duo for which they auditioned and got the slot. Although they had known each other much before this.

[09:57] Both Shili and Adi had stumbled upon music while trying to get a job following an economic crisis, after leaving university.

[12:07] Working together, they have had to balance each other out to be a successful duo. Adi is more involved in the musical aspect while Shili contributes more on the business side. Shili also explains that a system had to be created to help them focus more on the art rather than having to spend most of the time dealing with clients. It was also necessary to find a way to understand and combine their personalities successfully. "People keep creating social media accounts with a new band or new partnerships but then there are those that actually stay" Another part of their motivation was the opportunity to create a unique brand as a male and female musical duo which was nonexistent at the time. The difference in their backgrounds in music and language also helped build diversity in their performances; this opened the opportunity to perform at Formula One consecutively for the past 4 years and has been a major aspect of their unique selling point.

[24:06] How do you position yourself in the market, and how long did it take to establish your brand? A lot of their branding at the beginning was the recommendations of people who had seen them perform because they had no marketing at all. Adi shares he feels the brand was established at a point where a client changed an event date because they were unavailable and fixed the event on a day when they were available.

[27:12] Adi and Shili talk about the obstacles they encountered on their journey. Even after getting a singing job at a bar, Shili was not sure she would go into music until 3 years after graduation when she finally left the corporate world to do music full time. The pandemic was also a trying time which put a lot of other people in the industry out of business, and they had to decide how to move forward. They benefited highly from the immense support of loved ones and friends to keep going.

[32:44] Adi and Shili have had quite a number of disagreements but always find a way to pull through and sit through the difficult conversations. Maturity has had a major role to play and the intentional effort to keep the focus on the goal as both parties ensure that no matter the fight, they always show up for their event. "No matter your differences, you have to put it aside and respect the stage" Despite its downsides, the pandemic has brought people closer together, and helped them to see how they rely on each other. In any partnership, friendship has to be the foundation.

[39:51] Shili talks about how she had a tough time discussing with her parents her decision to leave the corporate world to go into music full time, sharing all her long and short-term goals became pivotal in showing how serious she was. Adi is also planning to go full time into music full time and will have the same conversation. The team reacted very fast to the pandemic and started live-streaming early, and this reduced the impact of the unpredictability in this period. "I think everyone can afford to be kinder to each other during this time"

[46:34] Deniece explains that as a mother, she has become less hot-headed, less demanding, and has learned to be more open-minded. "Why stress about something that you have no control over? Just let go" She also built her motivation by surrounding herself with people who support her creativity. She has also learned patience from taking care of her baby. Shili shares that she is due for delivery in July 2021.

[50:50] Final business tips from our guest: Adi advises listeners to work within their boundaries; "focus on what you can do within your means and keep your goals realistic; If it is really out of your control and don't try to fight it" In Shili's view, if you are a budding entrepreneur don't let anything break the momentum of your creativity. You have to dedicate time, set priorities and decide what you want or do not want, and build your business schedule around it.

[55:33] Discussing how they keep their creativity, our guests share that their inspiration comes from travel, breaking out the normal routine, and creating new experiences. There is no endless creativity.

[58:50] Shili and Adi play a fun game with questions. Shili shares that she hopes to get back on stage once covid is over, and to get back the opportunity to enjoy a good show.

[01:18:02] How to contact Shili and Adi on Facebook and Instagram.

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