Singer/songwriter Jeab Wattana Weerayawattana talks about quitting high school to pursue her love of music and how her passion for travel has led to new inspiration and a new show, Footsteps, Dreams, People, Music on TPBS.

I was just a country girl in Khon Kaen, but I knew from an early age that I wanted to work in the music industry.

At 15, I decided not to waste my time studying in high school anymore. I wanted to go to a music academy instead. I studied at Siam Kolakarn. They were recruiting music students to become future music teachers so I got a job straight after finishing the course.

There was gossip that I was pregnant because I didn’t finish high school.

I was the youngest in my music classes. The other stude­nts were professional musicians who played music for a living at night. It was the most difficult moment in my life. Lots of pressure.
While other music students got to hang out, I was alone practicing the piano.

Once I started teaching, my life was so happy. I would go to stay at the beach in the week and work at weekends.

I don’t feel I missed out on anything by skipping normal teenage experiences to become a working person. I was proud that I could live on my own while my old friends were still studying in high school or at university.

I taught piano classes for nine years then I felt I wanted to be a song writer. I wrote a song called “Ter Hen Thong Fa Nun Mai” which was later sung by T-Bone and was massive. Then I had my own album Turquoise in 1997.

After the music industry flopped, I wanted to do things that I had never done before, like travel.

My journeys gave me inspiration to collect things, not just for songs and albums. It also comes out as books and videos. Now I even get to host a TV program on TPBS called Footsteps, Dreams, People, Music.

My husband and I love to travel to less developed regions and countries like India or Nepal. Places like these are often expensive compared to more tourist friendly countries.

Places like Hong Kong or Singapore don’t attract me. I felt like there is nothing to see.

I regret I didn’t start to travel earlier. If I could have travelled at a young age I would have even more inspiration to do things.

I totally support backpackers. It’s better than drinking in pubs after work. People should broaden their viewpoint through travel.

Group tour isn’t real travel. It’s just a large group of people who eat and spend time together. They don’t really touch life out there on the street. Well, it’s still better than those who don’t travel at all.

If you travel a lot you learn to see the value of your homeland. Everything here is better than in other countries. If we had better governments, we would be so prosperous.

Why are we always fighting? We have diamonds in our hands but we ruin it all by ourselves.

We should clear out all the old politicians to make the country better. They’re so greedy. What’s wrong with these people! Don’t your children live here?

People keep forgetting that we have only one earth. Why aren’t we kind to each other? I want to see my children grow old when I am dead and I am looking back down on them from heaven.

Everybody deserves to die old. We shouldn’t die because of conflicts.

My song writing inspiration is still love, but my perspective on love has changed as I’ve got older.

I think people growing old is good, as long as we experience a lot and teach or give back to the next generation. I just had a charity concert called “Tam Boon Wang Pol” to help build an art room for hill tribe children. The concert cost nothing because everyone did it for free, so every baht raised will go to children.

It’s like God created my family for me. My husband, producer Nimit “Kob” Jittranont, and I have similar ideas on everything. For example, choosing a school for our kids. We focus on learning a lesson rather than educating. If they don’t know who they are, they won’t survive.

Being a simple person and being happy is difficult. My principle is just trying to love yourself every time you look in the mirror.


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