The latest winner of the reality show Academy Fantasia, Thanasit Jaturaputch, 21, aka Ton AF8, opens up about his success after two consecutive failures, his passion for soul music and the fact that he’s never been in love.

BK: What was your childhood like?
I used to be very bold and outgoing when I was in elementary school, but that all changed when I went to junior high. The turning point was when I applied for the AFS student exchange program in Ohio in the United States. I decided to apply because I was really bored with student life in Thailand. There are way too many rules—you can’t even have long hair. At some point, it just doesn’t seem like you’re really living.

BK: Was life in the US as you had expected?
Yes, but I did have to get rid of some of my Thai politeness. You have to be very direct and honest about what you think, otherwise Americans won’t listen to you. American teenagers also love to do fun, crazy things. Like on Halloween, we were driving around in my friend’s car playing a strip game. My female friend flashed her boobs to other drivers. That’s crazy!

BK: When did you start liking music?
I’ve loved music since I was young. My dad used to be a folk singer in university. But my skills improved a lot when I took a class on harmonizing in the US. It made me realize that singing is my destiny. I wanted to be a singer. I also fell in love with soul music there. It’s really powerful both emotionally and vocally. There are not many techniques or instruments, but it has its own groove. It’s like it comes from your flesh and bone. Sometimes I feel my blood pulsing as I sing it.

BK: Why did you come back for an AF audition again after failing twice before?
I guess it’s down to my determination. This opportunity is open for everyone, so I figured why not try it until I reach my goal. I planned to keep auditioning until I passed their maximum age regulation. Since I failed for two years and went on to win a season, I’ve realized that there’s no such thing as easy success. You’re allowed to be sad about failure, but just don’t waste too much time moping. You’ve got to move on.

BK: How do you think Thai singing competitions compare to their US equvialents?
There are good and bad differences. Our shows are better at training the competitors, while in the US they don’t do this. It’s because all the contestants are talented and they can design their own show, while we have to be challenged week by week with different kinds of songs. The American standard for singers is so high and there are lots of opportunities, while Thailand isn’t like that, even though we do have many talented singers.

BK: How is your love life?
Honestly, I’ve never been in love. I’ve had crushes on people before, but I’ve never asked anyone out.

BK: What do you plan to do next?
I already dropped my studies at Thammasat University’s Communication Arts Faculty to join this competition. I am a third-year student there. I’m not planning on rushing back to school, because I want to do my best and be open to whatever opportunities may come next.


Leave a Comment