In 2008, Aimee Song made a decision with herself to broadcast her life over the Internet through a blog titled Song Of Style. Since then, the LA-based blogger/interior designer has passionately stood by her decision and has risen to become one of today’s mega-influencers—just on Instagram alone, @songofstyle has fetched over 3.2 million followers.
Sitting down with Song for an interview in the Grand Hyatt Singapore the day after being a keynote speaker at the inaugural Galboss Asia Symposium, it is clear that she is madly passionate about self-identity and self-expression on digital platforms, so much so that she has written a book about it titled, ‘Capture Your Style‘. Still, the digital world can be dismantling to one’s voice and Song understands that well. But what warrants her trailblazing tenacity and career longevity is her ability to tune out the haters by listening to what matters most—the songs of her own passion.
Could you share about your experience speaking at the Galboss Asia Symposium?
It was great. Not only did I get to share my experience on creating a brand and a unique point of view, I got to learn a lot from different industry leaders. Overall, I thought it was a great learning experience.
Congrats on being an author now! How long did the process take?
It took over 2 years: From conceptualising what it was going to be like, gathering all the materials to write it, actually writing it and then the editing. It was a long process!
What inspired you to do it?
One of the questions that I get asked the most is about my career and mainly also about Instagram. Everyone is obsessed with Instagram, and I felt that I had the authority to teach somebody about the platform and also how to go about taking a photo. In the book I also touch base on the basics of how to take a great photo—taking the picture, finding a background, editing and composing a photo. Not just that, I also wanted to talk about how to create a point of view; a personal voice; a brand and how to make money out of it. And if you are a brand, how to translate your followers into your customers.
How long did it take you to discover your own voice?
It took about eight years, and I’m still trying to find my voice! It changes as you grow and you’re never the same person as you were the year before—you always improve and I feel that my voice is improving as well.
Writing a book can be very therapeutic, what did you learn from yours?
I was definitely learning more about myself as I was writing. I thought I knew everything about social media, Instagram, how to create a brand and creating your own voice, but in fact, when it came to putting what was in my head down into words and images, that was hard. I really learned how to write out the things in my head and also how to articulate my thoughts and ideas better.
When it comes to putting out content, how do you toe the line between what remains private and what goes out into the public?
Immediately when I started blogging, I didn’t really realise what I was going into or getting myself into. But early on when I was blogging and doing this business, I made the decision that the way I want to share my life is through creative outlets so in some sense, what I share is sort of personal but it is actually not as personal at the same time.
Have you ever been a victim of cyber bullying? How do you deal with it?
I think everyone has in this industry, especially when you put yourself out there and you have a comment section where everyone can come in and criticise. But because I was bullied while growing up, I grew a thick skin, which did help with cyberbullying. Also, I’m really comfortable with myself and where I am at in life that I don’t let the negative comments affect me—unless its constructive criticism. I always ask my manager how I can improve, because I think that’s a good thing to have: being able to allow and accept (constructive) criticism so you can be a better version of yourself.
Having the success you have now, what scares you?
I think it is more about what the future holds and the unknown. The future is scary but I think that it is more exciting than scary for me.
Describe what “success” looks like for you.
Waking up every morning and being happy with what I have and excited about the things that I am doing.
So how do you maintain longevity in your career?
Just by staying true to yourself and just doing the things that makes you happy. Try to focus on yourself and not on what other people are doing. If you really look inside and focus on yourself, your inner strengths and the joy that comes out from what you do, that is what will give you longevity in what you do, because you remain positive doing the things that you love.
How important is having a good community around you?
I think it’s probably the most important thing! If you think about inmates, the worst penalty you can give them is isolation. We [as humans] are not made to be alone, we have to live among each other and it is so important to have a great support system. For me, I think that is also another reason why I started my blog. In school, I was working full time so I did not have time to make friends at school. So through blogging, I found like-minded people and I formed a community for myself. And it is like that with my Snapchat and my Instagram—I have this community of girls and boys that I talk to. Maybe we don’t meet everyday but I’m reading every single one of their comments. I tweet at them, they tweet me back. That is a bond that is very important for me.
In 2008, you wrote: “I promise to take better pictures next time.” in an entry titled “My First”. How do you feel about your journey since then?
I think that might have been my first outfit photo! I have definitely gotten better as a person, I am so much more comfortable in my own skin than I was eight years ago—I was so uncomfortable then. Now, I am so comfortable with the woman that I have become: a really improved version of myself.
By James Lennon Chuang
Photographed by Donovan Quek
Makeup by Justina Sim using Laura Mercier
Special thanks to Grand Hyatt Singapore