Mediacorp actress Ke Le, 25, became a getai singer at 13 & has no intention of leaving the industry

She’s fluent in Hokkien too.

Lee Wei Lin | August 25, 2022, 11:34 AM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates:

Among the younger faces you'll see performing at getais during the seventh month is Yang Guang Ke Le -- a stage name that literally translates to "Sunshine Coke".

Like her moniker, the 25-year-old is as bubbly as one can imagine.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by 阳光可乐 (Kele 💖) (@yangguangkele3883)

Despite having a packed schedule, she's as enthusiastic and friendly as she appears online.

"That's just the way I am," she quips. "I can't imagine myself any other way."

Not only is Ke Le juggling getai gigs, but she's also filming Mediacorp reality programme "Streamers Go Live", along with other projects she says she can't tell us more about.

At her age, she has 12 years of experience singing at -- and more recently, hosting -- getais, as she got an early start in the industry by a stroke of serendipity.

Started performing at a young age

Even before getting into the getai scene, Ke Le -- who was then known by her birth name, Lau Jia Yi -- regularly participated in children's singing contests back home in Malaysia.

Photo courtesy of Yang Guang Ke Le

Photo courtesy of Yang Guang Ke Le

When she turned 13, she faced a crossroads as she was above the age limit for such competitions.

She could either continue to sing the dialect songs and older tunes which she grew up belting out, or changing the way she sang entirely in order to sing pop songs, which were more commonly performed by those in her age range.

Ke Le explains:

"Those around me told me that as a 13-year-old, it would be very challenging for me to out-sing those older than me when it came to pop songs. I chose to stick with what I loved and knew best.

By chance, someone I knew fell sick and asked me to replace her for a getai performance. After taking the stage, I felt like I found my calling."

Ke Le during her early days in getai. Photo courtesy of Yang Guang Ke Le

She soon became a hit with getai organisers and would shuttle between Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia for performances.

Her schedule during the Hungry Ghost Festival would be especially tight -- in pre-pandemic years, she would usually be booked for performances on "25 to 28 out of 30 days".

There were even days where she had multiple shows to rush to one after another.

Mama's girl

Ke Le attributes much of her success to her mother, who used to ferry her to and fro their Johor Bahru (JB) home for performances.

"She's here today as well!" she laughs while gesturing to her mama, who was sitting nearby as we speak to the singer.

"She used to be with me all the time because we lived together in JB, so it made sense for her to drive me to and fro whenever I came to Singapore."

Photo courtesy of Yang Guang Ke Le

During the pandemic, borders were closed and the pair was separated for a good two years.

Since then, Ke Le has started living with a relative and her mum no longer has to make frequent trips across the causeway and only pops by Singapore when she is able to.

Life beyond getai

Having spent most of her life performing, it's no wonder than Ke Le cannot do without being on stage.

She muses about how virtual getais that took place during the pandemic felt "completely different", and how the resumption of physical performances this year has reminded her of what it was like when she first started out in the industry over a decade ago.

Ke Le has called the experience "very humbling", and has been reminded of how much she cherishes the getai community as a whole.

She has also sparked a change in the getai scene as she explains:

"In a way, I'm introducing new faces to getai. I have younger fans who follow me on social media or discovered me through my recent role (in "Ah Girls Go Army"), and some of them attend my getai shows too.

I tell my younger fans to give getai a chance – if they watch it and decide that it’s not for them, that’s okay. But if they enjoy the show, they can attend with their parents or grandparents, and they can bond over a shared interest."

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by 阳光可乐 (Kele 💖) (@yangguangkele3883)

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by 阳光可乐 (Kele 💖) (@yangguangkele3883)

Despite having more than just singing to her name -- the Mediacorp artiste has hosted variety shows and more recently, started acting -- she intends to remain in the getai circuit for as long as she can.

To Ke Le, it's about staying grounded.

"I might have never been a part of showbiz had I not had my start in getai, so I’ll always remember my roots," she says. "That's why I’ll continue performing getai until the industry no longer needs me here."

Congratulations! You have made it to the end of the article (whether by speed-scrolling or otherwise). This alone qualifies you to apply for the role of a Lifestyle & Entertainment writer at Mothership. Click here to find out more.

Top photos from Yang Guang Ke Le