Until this day, America undeniably remains at the forefront of championing revolutionary and ground-breaking music, drawing both seasoned and aspiring artists from near and far away. It is to no surprise then when a young Gerald Sellan from Malaysia dreams of a day when he and his band Beat The System can thrust themselves into an ever-evolving and notoriously fickle American music scene.
“Dreams are often more profound when they seem the most crazy”, a Sigmund Freud quote that adequately summarises the journey of the band. Comprised of Malaysian brothers Gerald and Stewart Sellan, songwriter Adrian Puan, and Ohioan born May Leigh as the lead vocalist, the story of how pop rock band Beat The System came to be is a rather fascinating one. “It has been a crazy, crazy ride getting to where we are. As much as I’d like to say that we had the support of all of our friends, family and peers back home, many chose to instead question our endeavours, calling our efforts futile and that there is no way we’ll ever be accepted in the US”, recounts Gerald.
With sheer will and determination and an answered prayer, Beat The System was eventually discovered by former world no.1 music A&R Diana Meltzer who then signed them to her label. She subsequently facilitated their big move to New York City. Since then, with multi-talent collaborations with the likes of Daxsen Media Group, Ray Lee and creative extraordinaire Shinyee Seet and Ryan Liu, the band achieved significant milestones that include a feature piece on Huffington Post, EARMILK, Unclear Magazine and many more. On top of that, the band has also recently graced Times Square’s glitzy Jumbotron.
Having immersed in two polarising cultures helped Beat The System cultivate a perspective of how pop music is created. “Though we identify ourselves as a pop rock band, we would never limit ourselves to a certain sound when creating music,” says Stewart. “As artists, I believe it is incredibly important for us to constantly test and push boundaries.” This can be clearly witnessed in their latest release of Be Your Own featuring Billboard Top 10 DJs, Riddler. “Society often dictates how we should behave, think, and feel,” explains May Leigh. “Be Your Own was written to remind us that it is okay to be who we’re made to be. We tend to get so caught up with life and its demands so much so that we forget to live.”
Finally to the unbelievers, here’s what Beat The System has got to say about them. “In many ways, we are truly living up to our band’s name. Against the advice of many, we dared to dream big and set enormous goals for ourselves. We stumbled, grieved, and experienced significant losses while journeying to the States, and yet, here we are. Many back home thought that we would never survive more than a year in New York City, and yet, here we are. A few record executives we came to know claimed that if we’re not controversial or provocative or dressed in a certain way, we’d never take off, and yet, the numbers proved them wrong. We admit, we dream big dreams and we set huge goals because we don’t believe in the impossible. As long we can dream it, we can will it to fruition.”
Keep an ear out for Beat The System’s Be Your Own feat Riddler on your local radio station. Fans can also expect an intimate tour this Spring and hopefully, more music.