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Androgynous singer with 1,000 faces

When the elevator door outside Music Union’s office opened, I found the tall figure of Sunanta “Nann” Yoonniyom – from Thai reality show Academy Fantasia Season 10 fame – sitting on the floor, surrounded by fans. The boyish-looking singer was clad in faded denim and wearing a long-sleeve shirt and looked comfortable. 

By Bangkok Post

Saturday 27 September 2014, 01:00PM

It has been a year since Nann left the TV show and although the 23-year-old singer didn’t win the competition, she has become one of the most successful contestants from that series and has a new single coming out at the end of the month. The song is produced by Music Union, a label helmed by big names in the Thai music industry including Asanee Chotikul, Nitipong Honark and Chatree Kongsuwan, among others.

“Coming into Music Union felt like arriving home,” said Nann as we settled down in the cozy meeting room of the label’s office. “This place doesn’t feel like an office. Things are really breezy and uncomplicated. They said, ‘Whatever you want to do, just tell us’. I get to put a lot of input in every piece that I do. We ask and exchange opinions with each other all the time. It feels very welcoming.”

At this point, Nann took out her phone to give me an exclusive preview of her latest single, Rue Wa Thur (Are You Mine?) – a song she said was finally done in the style she liked.

The semi-upbeat love song was very easy listening, with a hint of wind instruments in the background.

“Listen to each and every melody,” said Nann, “You don’t have to think about who I am, just take the song as it comes.

“Also, please download the song legally once it’s out,” added the singer in a half-serious and half-joking tone.

In Rue Wa Thur, Nann sings about the search of love and speaks on the belief that there is someone out there for everyone. The style of the song is well suited to Nann and is much lighter than her first single with True Fantasia.

Her sweet singing voice, although in contrast with her boyish looks, goes hand-in-hand with the lively pop sound.

As we talked, Nann reminisced on her days in the Academy Fantasia house where countless cameras kept track of its occupants for 12 weeks straight. Although this continual surveillance may have been an intense period for every contestant as they had to prepare for their weekly concert, things were arguably tougher for Nann.

“Some of the costumes I had to wear on stage were just excruciating. I had to put on girly dresses and national costumes, sing sentimental songs with guys and dress in revealing clothes. I think I got a bit used to it [girly outfits] though. After that, I didn’t really know how to go about being manly anymore,” joked Nann.

Central Phuket

No matter how much her assigned costumes went against her personality, Nann said that she never felt she should refuse to wear them. That was the most important lesson she’d learned from her time in the AF House.

“Good or bad, the show really must go on,” said Nann. “The audience wouldn’t want to be miserable with my show, they want to be happy.

“I sing from my feelings and I hope it reaches the audience as though we are connected via Bluetooth. If I force it, it’d be unnatural. People won’t be able to see who I really am. They may love me but they’d be loving someone who I was pretending to be and not who I really am.

“If that’s how it is then I don’t want it. I’d really hope for them to take me the way I am.”

It is this confidence and headstrong mindset that contributes to Nann’s convincing performances whenever she takes to the stage.

No one can deny that Nann doesn’t look beautiful when she puts on a dress and wears make-up, or that she doesn’t look cute in her boyish look.

The singer possesses qualities of attractiveness and charm that surpass standard gender barriers. Due to her versatility – both in looks and performances — Nitipong Honark, executive director of Music Union and renowned songwriter, praised Nann as being “a thousand-face” singer.

The nickname came about after Nann’s successful performance of the well-known Thai country dance song Ja Khor Kor Reeb Khor during the Academy Fantasia Week 9 performance.

“I have to give credit to the teachers [in AF House] who picked the songs. They either loved me or hated me very much for some of the songs they chose,” said Nann with a grin that is almost contagious. Bangkok Post



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