Malaysian-born artist HeyMun wins in major US-based music competition


HeyMun_TanHeyMun, whose hometown is Petaling Jaya, has come out tops in the folk/singer-songwriter category of the US-based 2013 Unsigned Only Music Competition with this song:

The Sydney-based HeyMun says, “I love my hometown (PJ). One U was my second home … makan, movie, shopping, semua ada. The best-lah. I wont be able to comment on the topic of success lol, alot more work and a long way more to go for me.”

This is the press release from the organisers:

Nashville, TN, USA…September 6, 2013 – The winners of the 2013 Unsigned Only Music Competition have been announced. The US-based competition awards over $50,000 in cash and prizes, including a $10,000 cash prize to the overall Grand Prize winner. Produced by the same team that puts together the prestigious International Songwriting Competition (ISC), Unsigned Only honors artists who are unsigned to a major record label and acts as a benchmark for excellence in the arena of contemporary music.

Winning First Place in the Folk/Singer-Songwriter category with her song “By Sea” is the Malaysia-born artist HeyMun. Now living in Sydney, Australia, HeyMun began songwriting after treating herself to a $99 Yamaha guitar. Several songs later (and a sprained pinky finger from over stressing the High E string), she recorded an EP with producer Steeve Body. On the last day of mixing the EP, she was tempted to head downstairs for a burrito (or three) but instead sat herself down at the studio piano, and a new track was born. When her producer called the mixing a wrap, she sang out “We got one more!” Today that track “By Sea” is the winning song and is played on Malaysian Airlines, Garuda Indonesia Airlines Inflight radio, and Australia’s Triple J’s Unearthed digital radio. HeyMun says she’s glad she skipped that burrito.

Founders Candace Avery and Jim Morgan said, “With more than 9,000 entries from all over the world, Unsigned Only was very competitive, and the judges were really impressed with the immense talent displayed, especially the up-and-coming artist Heymun. She was a unanimous winner with the judges, and we are very excited to see where she goes with her music.”

The judging panel consists of iconic recording artists Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders); Iggy Pop; Neon Trees; Cyndi Lauper; Dustin Lynch; Carly Simon; Brandi Carlile; John Oates (Hall & Oates); Hunter Hayes; 3 Doors Down; Of Monsters And Men; David Crowder; Darryl McDaniels (Run D.M.C.); G. Love; Craig Morgan; Jason Gray; Ryan Bingham; Aaron Shust; and The Mountain Goats. Judges also include a group of influential music journalists and editors from Rolling Stone, Paste Magazine, The Washington Post, and Spin.

Unsigned Only is a fresh and novel approach to other music competitions, offering the Grand Prize winner the opportunity to be mentored by the top echelon of record company professionals. Mentors include presidents and top-level executives from Universal Republic, Capitol, Vagrant, RCA, Bad Boy Entertainment, Disney Music Group, Atlantic, Sony, Big Machine, Word, and G-Unit.

In addition to HeyMun, 21 other winners were selected, representing 10 different genres of music. The overall Grand Prize winner was awarded to rising Canadian country artist Wes Mack. Influenced by artists as diverse as Hank Williams and The Beatles, Mack is also an actor and is currently in the CBC Western drama, Heartland, playing an up-and-coming country musician. His winning song and first single “Duet,” featuring Carly McKillip of One More Girl, is currently charting on Canadian country radio.

The compete list of winners:

Grand Prize
Wes Mack (Calgary, AB, Canada) – “Duet”

Adult Album Alternative (AAA)
First Place: Streets of Laredo (Auckland, New Zealand) – “Girlfriend”
Second Place: Skipping Girl Vinegar (Melbourne, Vic, Australia) – “Chase The Sun”

Adult Contemporary (AC)
First Place: Jerzy Jung (Haddon Township, NJ) – “I Hope”
Second Place: Mikey Wax (Syosset, NY, USA) – “Counting On You”

First Place: Paul Stephens (Los Angeles, CA, USA) – “Wonder
Second Place: Skyhawk Drive (Greencastle, PA, USA) – “Whisper”

First Place: Fairchild Brothers (Toronto, ON, Canada) – “I Have Your Touch”
Second Place: Rachel Honza (Nederland, TX, USA) – “Anonymous”

First Place: Heymun (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – “By Sea”
Second Place: Ben Glover (Glenarn, Northern Ireland) – “Melodies of Midnight”

Pop/Top 40
First Place: Ginger And The Ghost (Sydney, NSW, Australia) – “Where Wolf”
Second Place: Miracle Bell (Dublin, Ireland) – Love Sounds

First Place: Teri ‘Lyric’ Green (Crown Point, IN, USA) – Death Of A Poet
Second Place: Tia P. (Inglewood, CA, USA) – I’m Already Tomorrow”

First Place: The Deans (Galway, Ireland) – “Lonely Like Me”
Second Place: Stefan Weiner (Northampton, MA, USA) – “Say I’m Strong”

First Place: Darla Beaux (Las Vegas, NV, USA) – “Rebel Soul”
Second Place: Lena Fayre (Los Angeles, CA, USA) – “Silver”

Vocal Performance
First Place: Nehemie (Miami, FL, USA) – “Tainted Love”
Second Place: Nikisha Reyes (London, England) – “So Cold”

For more information and to view the list of winners and Honorable Mentions, go to

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16 Sep 2013 8.36pm

Check out James Wan Malaysia born aussie director who is going to direct coming.Fast and the Furious 7 movie.

14 Sep 2013 9.50pm

Congrats to her. Wish her greater success. Do wish that more Malaysians can come together and help each other towards greater success within the country despite the circumstances.

14 Sep 2013 4.26pm

… So, for Best of Malaysian Malaysia… would be excellent Vision and Mission of our future… that all our talents abroad will be proud to rush home and build a colorless, fair and just Nation where Equality, Fairness and Democarcy being upheld in TrutHonestSinceritological Style. Syabas Malaysian Day…16.09.2013
From saqamaweb…Best of MaNeiSia.

Apam Balik
Apam Balik
10 Sep 2013 5.29am

How would you be creative in Malaysia? Everything was copied. … Only way is to get out of the system and explore your world overseas.

10 Sep 2013 9.44am
Reply to  Apam Balik

You are right, brother. Just take a look at our Kancil Awards TVCs or print ads.
Not as ‘adventurously creative’ as the Thais or even Indons. The CDs have their own agendas of self-shiok egos. I still can remembered one blurr-blurr Aussie CD in WingsBBDO in 1990. Politics is as real & ugly as in ad agencies as in BolehLand.

Don Anamalai
Don Anamalai
10 Sep 2013 12.09pm
Reply to  Apam Balik

True. Many artists explore opportunities overseas.
When you can no longer ‘shake’ overseas market, you can use your ‘reputation’ to come home as a celebrity for TV specials or concert to milk the local market. You should know that celebrity who came back for Hari Raya special recently and to promote his son along the way.

15 Sep 2013 11.55am
Reply to  Don Anamalai

Datuk Shake who returned from France?

9 Sep 2013 1.37pm

Promote local artise ! Heymun : I was at the final mixing stages of wrapping up my EP. With some time to burn,I was tempted to head downstairs for a Burrito (or three), but the stars were aligned that night for some songwriting and instead I plastered myself on the studio’s piano and worked on a little riff that was floating in my head. Hours of pressing various keys and singing alone to lit candles later,this track “By Sea” was born.And by the time my producer called the mixing a Wrap! I told him, actually,I think we got one… Read more »

najib manaukau
9 Sep 2013 1.14pm

She is, for sure, not a Malaysian she may have lived in Malaysia but only got the inspiration after leaving Malaysia, why ?

Don Anamalai
Don Anamalai
9 Sep 2013 2.40pm
Reply to  najib manaukau

Same thing happened to Zee Avi from Sarawak. She got recognised only after she released her English album in US. Unless you are singing those politically-correct ‘patriotic songs’, you should venture abroad or you will never get the airtime (TV or radio) as a new artist.

One reason is the local radio stations tend to play predictable songs (paid by the record companies?). Also there are many ‘tak boleh’ restrictions (Lamb of God case) here that curtail lyrical creativity. Needless to say, when creative licence is granted, it is abused for political reason.

9 Sep 2013 11.07am

Youthful HeyMun should be appointed as 1M4U youth ambassador for better ROI than auntie Michelle Yeoh who the local youth cannot identify with. The endorsement can help HeyMun to create true awareness about multi-racial Malaysia.

9 Sep 2013 7.22am

One more creative Malaysian ‘recognised’ overseas:
Tsai Ming-Liang wins the Grand Jury Prize at Venice Film Festival

Filmmaker Tsai Ming-Liang, 55, received the new Grand Jury Prize in the 70th Venice International Film Festival yesterday for his film Jiaoyou (Stray Dogs).

“I can’t make movies for consumers and for a system that is too fast and only thinks about money,” he was quoted as saying. “It just stifles my creativity.” Tsai Ming-Liang.
That was daring of him, my kudos to a persona of change for the betterment of society.


Wee Chin
Wee Chin
9 Sep 2013 11.20am
Reply to  tunglang

There are many talented film-makers that Finas could have used to make Malaysian movies to unite Malaysians. Festival Filem Malaysia somehow only recognised those Jaguh Kampung producers/directors producing predictable B-grade (maybe C-grade) movies that could not have break-even production cost (despite low budget) if not of the wajib tayang opportunity. If you consider that recent politically-tainted movie, the situation here is much worse.

9 Sep 2013 12.25pm
Reply to  Wee Chin

This is an interesting review of Tanda Putera (Malaysian Digest, 9 Sept 2013): Despite the cost amounting up to RM5 million, Tanda Putera appeared poorly written and disorganized. It somehow lacked flow and connection in its storyline, lack of background research, wrong casting and in short, a complete shipwreck. On top of that, the movie has a biased and unbalanced view of history, whereby the Malays were put under good light and glorified while the Chinese was portrayed as inciting racial hatred against the Malays and had been infiltrated by the Communist. In the first half hour of the… Read more »

8 Sep 2013 10.38pm

She is obviously talented. But its not my cup of tea. I am more of a rock and pop fan. 🙂
I like Crowded House, Cold Chisel, The Police and Tracy Chapman,
But I wish her all the best.
PS. Did you guys know we have a famous film director – James Wan? Unfortunately I don’t like horror, violent movies.

8 Sep 2013 11.57pm
Reply to  Tigerz67

James Wan, Malaysia’s M. Night Shyamalan – director of the Sixth Sense. And HeyMun sings like Faye Wong, melancholic songs full of mood & depth.
All these suit me fine in virgin Belum Rainforest, full of mysteries, nature’s beauty & meditative serenity for the breathless soul.

8 Sep 2013 6.48pm

I doubt she will get a chance to perform in Istana Budaya like Yuna for the obvious reason.

Khoo Soo Hay
Khoo Soo Hay
8 Sep 2013 5.57pm

It will be better if we can have the lyrics printed out at the bottom of the video. Cannot hear clearly her words, although the music is lyrical and folksy sad.

8 Sep 2013 5.11pm

Makes one wonder why Malaysians shine only when they live elsewhere. Must be something in the air here that damps creativity.

8 Sep 2013 6.09pm
Reply to  lbj

Genius thrives + excels in an environment of meritocracy, free access to opportunities, courage to break the rules of established status quo, and most importantly without the distortions of recognition based on skin colours or quotas. We who are the old dogs faced these repugnant hurdles in the 70s, 80s & 90s before the advent of the www & digital access. But, all talents of different genre should strive to fulfill their own personal dreams, brand themselves + go for another shots at whatever they dream of. Cheers Kopi-O kau kau to another Malaysian talent ‘grossly overlooked’ but ‘recognised to… Read more »