THE TWENTY-SIXTH INSTALLATION OF THE BELLEBOSS SERIES
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I hoped that with this series, I would find a way to appreciate the incredible South Asian women of our generation, who are breaking boundaries and paving new paths for themselves. Moreover, I would like you to take a little bit of your time to realize how incredible the women around you are. Especially if you are a woman! I know that at least one woman’s story in my #BelleBoss series will inspire you to follow your dreams, your vision and most importantly your heart. Even if that means breaking a few rules and many societal prejudices along the way
Could you give a little introduction to yourself?
My name is Stephanie Sansoni and I am 23 years old. I was born on the 19th of June 1995 in Kandy. I am a Burgher with Dutch and British genes and that’s where I get the funny surname from. My school was Good Shepherd Convent Kandy, and then I moved to Colombo in 2015 for my higher studies. I have a diploma in multi-faceted journalism and currently, I am a student at the University of Colombo. I am in my 3rd year and my major is International Relations.
Growing up I was always a very aesthetic person. I used to act in school plays, sing in the choir, draw and paint, write stories etc. I did not do any sports. I hated Math. I loved English Literature.
When did you start singing and what made you want to start posting videos on youtube?
I wasn’t always a singer. But, when I started playing the guitar in 2009, I eventually realized that I have a good voice and that I should practice more. With that realization, I started singing and playing the guitar more and more. I won so many school singing competitions and even an all island competition.
I am also a self-taught musician. Of course, Music does run in my family. I never went for any voice training or guitar classes. I learnt everything on my own. I used to watch others sing and play and pick up techniques. Even now, I watch YouTube tutorials whenever I want to learn something new related to music. It took me a few years to build up my own style of singing and playing.
I believe I still have a lot more to learn.
The thought of uploading videos to YouTube came in 2014, soon after I finished school. Before that, I used to upload videos on Facebook just for my friends to watch. These videos were mainly ones of me singing at school events. Given that I was studying at a convent, I was afraid to make them public thinking the nuns will pull a scene. So I had to wait until I finished school.
Then in 2014, I uploaded my first video which is a cover of Thinking out loud by Ed Sheeran. It’s a really bad quality video and it’s still up on my channel.
Then I did not post again until 2016. In the meantime, I noticed that my first video had quite a lot of views than I expected and people had started responding despite its low quality.
When I started uploading again, I had no intention of getting bigger or better. I just did it to please myself. I never in my wildest dreams thought of becoming a committed YouTuber. It somehow happened.
I recall one incident that exposed my channel to a wider community. My cover of ‘Daffodil Male’ was re-uploaded on a popular Sri Lankan Facebook page (like a gossip/shaming page) with a nasty caption.
It went viral overnight and so many people had tagged me in the comments.
I felt so embarrassed to have been featured on a shaming page and I remember crying and trying to delete my YouTube channel.
But, when I woke up the next morning, I had 5000 subscribers on YouTube. That’s how it all started.
Who inspires you as a person? Or as a singer?
Honestly, I get inspiration from so many international artists who have amazing success stories like Ed Sheeran… But, mostly it’s the people who give me feedback that inspire me to keep doing what I’m doing and get better. I feel so inspired when people comment on my videos and show appreciation towards what I do, there’s nothing more I could ask for.
What do you feel has been your proudest moment since starting your u tube channel?
Proudest moment was when my cover of “Shape of you” went internationally viral. It has over 550k views now… That proved to me that I have the potential to be an internationally recognized cover artist.
What do you love about Sri Lanka and what might you change about Sri Lanka if you could?
I love everything about Sri Lanka.
The people, the food, the climate, the beach… What I love most about this country are its people. Sri Lankans are very friendly, hospitable and helpful.
More than that, they are generous. and I don’t think you can find people like that anywhere in this world. for that reason, I have never wanted to leave my country and settle down elsewhere.
I want to live here forever and help my country grow.
But, on the other hand, if I had the chance I would change the attitude of our people towards religious and ethnic differences. I hate to see people of different ethnicities fighting for trivial reasons.
We fought a 30-year ethnic war and we don’t need ethnic violence again on our beautiful island. Our differences don’t matter to me. We are all flesh, bone and blood. We are all human.
How did you family and friends react to your Youtube channel?
My family and friends have been incredibly supportive of my youtube channel. They’ll go out of their way to help me with my music career and for that, I am truly blessed and thankful.
I can tell that they are proud of what I have achieved so far and they will always support me no matter what.
What would you like to do after your international relations degree and what are your dreams for your u tube channel?
After my degree, I would love to pursue a career in Diplomacy, Conflict Resolution or Foreign Policy.
My dream has always been to represent my country in an international organization. However, this does not mean that I will be giving up on my music career. I am very determined to do both.
But, lately I have been getting so many opportunities to perform at events, work with different brands and companies, so sometimes I feel like I want to be a full-time musician. I really don’t know what my future is going to be like. Education and music are both very important to me.
I guess I will have to go with the flow and time will tell what I am destined to do.
What would be the tips you would give other you tubers who sing in order to grow their fan base?
Something a Youtube artist should keep in mind is that growing your channel and widening your audience takes a lot of patience and commitment. Some of your videos will have good views and some won’t. And not all YouTubers can come under the spotlight or be successful.
The trick is commitment and consistency, meaning that your videos don’t always have to be perfect.
But, if you stick to a routine and upload quality content consistently, you can start to see a big difference.
Also, it’s important to understand what the audience is like and that way you deliver content that people actually want to watch.
Besides singing what are your other hobbies and interests?
Besides singing, I absolutely love to read. I do read fiction but, I always prefer books that give me knowledge about different topics. I used to be an avid reader but, ever since I started YouTube and music became my passion, I have lost interest in reading. But, I always have a book in my bag. I try to read whenever I can. I also love to watch crime and thriller movies and TV series. I love to travel but, I don’t get the opportunity to travel around much. I even wrote a song about it.
But yeah, singing is pretty much my main hobby.
OKay, that is all for this interview. To read other amazing interviews of other South Asian girls chasing their dreams and their lifestyles and dreams please scroll below, subscribe and read more interviews! Until next Sunday