Medical student Lau Yen June has another passion she believes can truly help people.
LAU YEN JUNE fell under the spell of music when she was 5.
“My mother and I love music and musicals. As a kid, she told me her duty as a doctor was to heal the sick and prevent disease, and this inspired me to want to join her in saving lives,” says Lau, 24.
“At the same time, she discovered my interest in music, and enrolled me in piano classes when I was 8. I spent 10 years learning it, and it was my window to musicals because I played their songs.”
Born in Ampang, Selangor, Lau studies medicine at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. During her final year of a seven-year degree programme, she was active in choral singing, musicals and theatre.
“I was exposed to musicals in my teens, quickly appreciating them since they were colourful with catchy songs that captured audiences. I occasionally followed my mother to visit relatives in London and there, attended major West End musicals like Mamma Mia!”
Lau started singing early. “During my schooldays at Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Cina) Chung Hwa, Jalan Damai, Kuala Lumpur, I was part of the school choir. Then, at 13, while studying in Wesley Methodist School, Sentul, I won my school’s annual singing contest,” she says.
Lau followed Malaysian Idol in 2004 and 2005, and was a staunch supporter of the first season’s winner Jaclyn Victor.
“Jaclyn’s winning number Gemilang is my all-time favourite Malaysian song. I loved it so much I sang it while auditioning for M Voice, a singing contest involving Malaysian students at my university in 2014.
“I didn’t win, though, but the judges commended my act. I was one of the final five!” says Lau.
She then joined the all-girl a capella group The Accidentals at university, and was the only Malaysian among the 10-member choir.
“The Accidentals have been performing around the UK — we joined the English
A Cappella Champions held in Birmingham and London and won in 2013 and 2015,” she says.
Lau will perform at the popular Edinburgh Fringe Festival later this month, and her group will be part of the musical Godspell. Besides joining The Accidentals, Lau is also involved with the Manchester Student Council Big Band, which comprises 30 students from the university.
With the Big Band, she has performed at two British music festivals: The Pangaea Music Festival in 2015 and the Great North Big Band Festival last year. She is equally active in plays and has appeared in four musicals at her university.
Lau started her own YouTube channel, titled MissJuneLau, in 2011. To date, she has uploaded 13 videos of her performing cover versions of popular songs.
“Music and medicine go well together. Both heal people.