Hotel Insider caught up with Huya to find out more about her career and her thoughts on working within the tourism sector of the Maldives.
Huyam Mohamed, popularly known as Huya, has been performing at various resorts in the Maldives for the past 5 to 6 years. Currently she plays at Soneva Fushi every Sunday, as part of the duo Huya & Shan.
Hotel Insider: What drew you to music?
Huya: Music has been a hobby of mine since a long time back. I had a guitar and back in those days I’ll be trying to learn parts of popular songs such as Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters and Blackbird from The Beatles. Even back then whenever I listened to music, I found myself drawn to those kinds of guitar parts. Another thing that I was drawn to was harmonies. It’s a component of music that I find really beautiful. So even back then I was learning to sing them. Additionally, I was studying in India from grades four to seven and I used to be in the school choir, and that was something I enjoyed very much as well.
Hotel Insider: So how did you get into playing music as a profession?
Huya: A friend of mine told me that a resort was looking for a female performer. The resort was Soneva Fushi and it was a gig that was to take place on New Year’s Eve. I performed with a friend of mine, and we practiced a lot in preparation. After our performance, the resort got in touch saying they would be contacting us if they wanted us to perform there regularly. I’ve been performing there ever since. My career progressed from that moment onwards, and I’d say it took a bit of hard work and luck.
Hotel Insider: And how would you describe your career over the years?
Huya: At the time when I played my first ever gig at Soneva Fushi, I was also working as a freelance photographer. But as I got more and more involved in music I found that I enjoyed it much more. I really love learning about music and because all of a sudden I had these gigs to play, I was forced to learn and come up with a repertoire, and I really loved it.
I always loved the idea of a duo because I love singing harmonies. So all the gigs that I’ve ever played, I’ve done them as part of a duo. And now it’s been a long time that I’ve been playing with Shan.
As for the places I’ve played regularly over the years, in addition to Soneva Fushi, I’ve played at Anantara for a while as well as at Cheval Blanc Randheli for three years. I am quite attached to Soneva Fushi because it all started there, I feel like it’s my home in a sense.
Hotel Insider: Could you share with us some of the highlights from your career?
Huya: Apart from getting to meet a lot of different people including high profile ones, I’ve had the opportunity to perform in places such as the Seychelles, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore. So these are definitely experiences that I appreciate very much. I’ve also had the opportunity to play on board a cruise ship called The World, and that too was a great experience.
Hotel Insider: So what are your thoughts on working within the tourism sector of the Maldives?
Huya: I’d say this is really a great thing to do as a profession. Tourism is what we have in the Maldives. So I think we must make good use of it. But it does take discipline and there are certain standards to maintain. It also requires a lot of hard work. For example Shan and myself, we practice a lot, and for us it’s really important that we are punctual. It’s also one of those things that you do because you enjoy and love doing it.
Hotel Insider: Women make up such a small percentage of the workforce within the Maldivian tourism industry, do you have any thoughts on the participation of women in the fields of tourism and music?
Huya: I notice that for some reason, there is an actual demand for female musicians. Resorts often look for female artists to perform at their properties. On the other hand, although there are now so many female musicians around, thereare just so few performing at these places. And of course there are various reasons for this including social and logistical ones. As for the number of women working at tourist resorts, during the past years at Soneva Fushi, I’ve seen the number of women in the workforce gradually increase, including many local women, so that could be viewed as a positive thing.
Hotel Insider: So, what’s the best part of what you do, and are there any challenges related to your work?
Huya: The best part of it is that I get to make a living by doing what I love. I’ve mostly been treated really well by the resorts I’ve performed at, so all of what I have to say is quite positive. And by following this line of work I am learning a lot, so that is great as well. As for the challenging aspects of my work, I’d say travelling and having to wake up at odd hours. But even with these I’m mostly quite all right when I arrive at the destinations. I am just really happy with where I am right now.