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Meet Gabriel de Leon | Composer, Multi-Instrumentalist & Performer

Shoutout LA

May 15, 2023

We had the good fortune of connecting with Gabriel de Leon and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Gabriel, how do you think about risk?

Risk is an almost immeasurable factor. There are so many aspects of risk to consider and it is so unique to every individual, and I’ve had to learn that through failures of taking risk. I believe that the kinds of risk that I have taken throughout my life and toughen me up, to understand my limits and boundaries, as well as gauge my expectations. My belief is that nobody can tell you what risks you are supposed to take – nobody knows anybody else’s circumstances and though it may seem simple to take a leap of faith for some, certain conditions might make it unmanageable for others.

As vague as all of that may have sounded, I have had people tell me to take risks in the strangest scenarios. I was once told to leave my job and “take a leap of faith”, assuming that I would be able to survive several months of work with non-guaranteed paid. That was absolutely ridiculous, and sometimes it’s moments like that where not taking risks has actually played a more significant role in my life, where it taught me to manage my expectations better based on my reality.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

I think I’ve been very opportunistic throughout my life. Though I’ve never really been goal-oriented for one single thing, I’ve always been open to trying new things and getting better at them. Every two years of my life, I find myself getting my feet wet in something different within the bounds of the music industry. My latest portion of my journey has even taken me to dialogue editing for a very fun and exciting project that will take me through the end of the summer. Within the last 5 years, I have attempted to write symphonies, produce trap music, make cinematic trailer music in a 4-hour turnaround for clients and many more fun things.

I feel like I will have to settle for something in order to truly establish myself, but where’s the fun in cooking the same dish every day?

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

First of all, my best friend’s parents live up in the Bay, so I’d probably go bore her up by taking her to her parents. However, California is such a fun place I can’t even think of where to go. I’ve barely been here a month and I’m overwhelmed by the options. If I had to pick somewhere, I’d definitely pick San Diego as I really want to explore the city more, especially with its cultural significance being a border town. The USA is a country built on diversity and there is so much to learn of its history in that city alone. Plus, I might even drive over the border to experience Tijuana a little.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?

I always want to go back to my roots, and first of all, I will name all the people from my native Malaysia who has helped me throughout my musical journey:

My parents, my absolute rock & soul, the ones who supported me all the way. My father is a musician who saw the potential in me and sought to cultivate it, and my mother was the one who helped in every other aspect that my father couldn’t already cover given his incredibly filled-up daily schedule. My violin teacher, Lo Mei Yoke who laid the discipline and the foundations of my musical experience, as well as my drum teacher, Jasmi bin Budin who embedded so much musicality and heart in my creativity. Many years of education in composition, history, and performance through my music teachers in high school, Ben Lim and Victor Kam who supported me every step of the me in my endeavours as a composer.

There are so many souls out there who have been my number one supporters throughout the entire process. My grandparents who were there for 99% of my public performances, my friends who came to watch me perform, those who performed with me and for my compositions, the people I met along the way and collaborated with and the ones who trusted in me with their projects – there’s just too many of you that I can’t thank enough

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