Jeff Satur cried two nights before this interview took place. The 28-year-old Thai singer and actor, whose real name is Worakamol Satur, was overcome with emotion on stage during his first solo show in Singapore. “I was looking at the crowd, listening to them sing along with me, and I just started tearing up. It was an incredible feeling to just stand there and hear them sing my songs back to me in Thai,” he recalls.
Despite the language barrier (most of his songs are in Thai), his concert Live On Saturn, held in February at the Gateway Theatre, was sold out. For the uninitiated, Saturn is a play on his last name. “It’s amazing to see how music can bring people together, even if we do not speak the same language,” he says with childlike enthusiasm.
While this was not his first time performing in Singapore, the feeling was somewhat different, he confides. Previously, Satur came here for the world tour of the hit Thai boys’ love series KinnPorsche: The Series, where he was part of the ensemble cast. This time, though, he was the main star on stage. “Honestly, I was surprised because I never knew that I had so many fans in Singapore. The show was sold out in less than an hour,” he marvels.
With approximately three million followers on Instagram, his popularity is at an all-time high. But the flip side of Insta-fame is having to deal with criticism and nasty comments. The self-professed sensitive soul says he chooses to focus on positive and constructive feedback rather than dwelling on negative ones. He refuses to give haters the satisfaction of his acknowledgement because he doesn’t want to give them power over him. “Just don’t pay attention to them. They are already below you and that’s why they try to bring you down to their level,” he says. For him, staying true to himself and focusing on growth is key to overcoming brickbats about his shortcomings.
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Satur’s perspective is refreshingly mature for someone who is relatively new to fame. Born and raised in Bangkok, the second of seven children started his career as a model, appearing in fashion shows and advertising campaigns. His mother has always been his biggest supporter, encouraging him to pursue his passions. “She never gave up on me, even when things got tough,” he says.
While he started singing in 2013 and has released covers and self-penned songs as an independent artist, his acting debut was in the 2019 Thai horror drama He She It. But it was his role as Kim, the youngest son of a mafia boss in KinnPorsche, that brought him international recognition. Satur even got to flex his musical talent by writing and singing “Why Don’t You Stay” which is featured on the drama’s soundtrack. It is currently one of the most played songs in Thailand, and the music video has been viewed more than 38 million times on YouTube since it premiered in May 2022.
In person, Satur is charming and down-to-earth, with a disarming smile and an easygoing manner. As soon as we started discussing his music, his eyes sparkled with enthusiasm. His love for music started at an early age, he says, when he picked up his first instrument, an acoustic guitar, at the age of nine. He explains, “I wanted to learn an instrument that could play any song on earth, and I was inspired by seeing rock bands perform, and I thought it would be cool if I could play that kind of music too.” He later went on to learn other instruments such as the drums, electric guitar and piano, before finally taking formal singing lessons.
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A huge fan of AC/DC growing up, Satur was also drawn to legendary Japanese rock band, X Japan. “Their music led me to want to do music,” he says. He was – and still is – a big fan of X Japan’s co-founder, Yoshiki Hayashi, the frontman of the band who is also the drummer, pianist as well as the main songwriter. “Their music was so emotional and powerful, and Yoshiki’s piano playing is just out of this world,” he says. “I love the energy and intensity of rock music, which I try to bring to my own music. The thing is, I love the way X Japan’s music makes me feel, so I want to create music that makes people feel something similar.”
While his own songs do not have that hard rock vibe, Satur’s soulful voice and emotive songs are easy on the ears. His lyrics explore themes of love, heartbreak, and self-discovery, which many can relate to. “I want to use my music to connect with people and make them feel something,” he adds.
When asked to describe what sets him apart from other music artists, he pauses to consider the question. “I’ve tried but it’s hard for me to categorise my music. I think just being myself is what makes my music different. Everything that made me into what I am, is unique to me. And when I produce a song, it’s 100 percent me.”
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Recently, he collaborated with Korean singer-songwriter Shaun on a single called “Steal The Show” which was released in February. When he first received the demo through his record label, he was unsure if he wanted to be a part of it since it was an electronic dance music track, which is a departure from his usual style of music. “Then Shaun sent in another demo which was a mix of EDM and rock, which got me very excited. It was pretty weird that they went together,” he adds. The duo recorded the song and music video in Thailand, which has received positive reviews from fans and critics.
Satur is currently working on his first album, which he hopes to release later this year. His working process is a solitary one – he usually locks himself in the studio until the songs are done. “I cannot work with anyone being there. People know that if I’m in the studio, I am to be left alone,” he says, adding that he has four songs left to record.
His attention is now on the album, after he wrapped up his recent projects, an upcoming Thai-Korean drama, and a series of solo concerts in Jakarta, Singapore and Bangkok. While performing gives him a chance to indulge his passion for travel, the latter has recently become synonymous with work. When he gets a chance to take a real vacation, it will preferably be somewhere in the countryside or a beachfront location, he reveals. His must-have travel essential is a hoodie. “It just feels correct to wear a hoodie on the plane because it makes me feel so secure and comfortable. If I don’t have one with me, I will go and buy one before boarding,” he says.
Any romantic relationships are on hold for the moment, while his star is still shining. “I don’t even have time to watch TV,” he says, breaking into a laugh. “I’ve been wanting to watch Stranger Things for a very long time, as well as the new season of You on Netflix but I cannot seem to find time. For me, music is my life, and my work is my life. But it does not really feel like work, you know, because I really enjoy what I do.”
Photographed by Zhang Minhua and Jeremy Kieran / Telescope Studios
Creative direction by Windy Aulia
Styled by Gracia Phang
Grooming: Rasika Thammasin using Clé de Peau Beauté
Hair: Chattramongkol Klamsuk using Balmain Hair Couture
Producer: Navin Pillay
Digital imaging: Sebestian Tan and JJ Low
Photographers’ assistant: Alicia Chong
Stylist’s assistant: Isabella Low
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