Performances just aren’t the same without good sound and glitzy lights. We speak to one soundwoman who has chosen the challenging path of delighting audiences in Singapore.
Yati Gerri Slijderink, 37, has been managing sound needs for events over the past two decades, but new acquaintances – especially men – are surprised by what she does as not many females are in her line of work.
She has set up, coordinated and supervised audio systems for countless events, ranging from hungry ghost festival functions to international concerts. Audio needs differ from event to event.
Currently a technical manager at KPO Café Bar, Yati tunes and maintains the sound quality for the performances of musicians and deejays.
“Transiting from studio to a lifestyle environment was challenging for me because in the studio, it’s a perfect world – no feedback, humming, background noise, and everything is ready. When you are ‘live’, not only will you have all of that but when something goes wrong, you only have two seconds to fix it,” said Yati, who used to freelance in the industry.
She developed a passion for the trade and gain more referrals for work. Building up credibility among event organisers was key to her career success.
“I worked at a global conference in 2003. To outsiders, it is just about switching microphones on and off, but when you have 30 people speaking at the same time and one of them is a president of a country, you can’t afford any mistakes. We had to set up the clipped-on lapel microphones, transmitters and receivers very carefully,” she recalled.
Since April 2016, she has settled into her full-time role at KPO Café Bar. With stable income, short working hours and a colourful nightlife to boot, one would think Yati has it easy now, but this is far from the truth.
She is the main caregiver of her 70-year-old half-brother who is recovering from colon cancer – one of the reasons she took to full-time work. For the past two years, she has been paying for his medical expenses and visiting him at the hospital after work.
Contrary to the nature of her job, Yati does not own a single speaker at home. Instead, she prefers to use her free time to do “quiet” hobbies such as fishing and baking.