THE MAKING OF LEGENDARY; HENAA LEVELS UP
Cellcard fosters ambition and excellence in Cambodian youth. Leakhena, aka Henaa Gaming, is the first young Cambodian woman streamer in e-sport signed to the Cellcard Influencer program. At age 25, Henaa has a vast gaming audience; it turns out she is also a talented singer and aspiring songwriter. The Sound Initiative (TSI) had the opportunity to work with Henaa supported by Cellcard. Together we worked on her first original songwriting journey. Here's an interview on her experience in the making of Legendary. Hi, How are you feeling today? Henaa: I’m very well and very excited because I have so much I want to share and to show today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? My name is Henaa - with the official page name Henaa’s Gaming. I’m a gamer, Streamer, and influencer, but my main talent is streamer. Most people might know me as a streamer or gamer; however, I want to have another side career along with gaming. I’d like to explore my music talent a bit more. I’ve done some cover songs, so I already have some fans based on that. What words of wisdom do you have, especially young people? Henaa: First of all, I’d like to thank the Cellcard family and TSI for your help with making this song happen for me. So for my fans and those who might just know me by the song, and those who lost hope in themselves, I want to tell you - please don’t give up. All you need to do is: know yourself, learn to manage your time if you like games, at the same time you still have to study. Remembering games is just a part of a hobby but if you know you can be creative with it well, then it can be a profession. Don’t do it just because others do it, do it because you love it. At the same time you have to prioritize education. In order to succeed in this career you will need a lot of knowledge and skills like English language, IT skills, creativities, and your brain a lot. Those help with your gaming content as well as promoting this e-sport for the future. For me, this will be my career for a long time.. and I want to work on promoting the e-sport industry. In the future, I want to be part of e-sport development. I want to organize more events or tournaments to encourage the new generation to participate more - because there’s nothing wrong with this sport if you understand how to set up your goal and priority. Because I myself learn so much from it - and I know I can use it for the better of our society.
How did you start in your gaming career? What were the challenges?
There were so many challenges when I first started as a gamer. Not many people know what e-sport and its value is. They would say “you’re a woman, why do you play games? There’re many other jobs for women, or maybe you can learn something a bit more useful…” Almost no one in my surroundings supports my decision - not even my father, relatives, or friends. Only those who are in gaming understand the value of this sport.
This, however, won’t stop me. I think any work/career has its own value. You just have to be really good at it, and believe in yourself. And do it until you succeed. I keep working and working hard on it until I get recognized. That's when my surroundings start seeing my value. That gives me more motivation. Sometimes during streaming, my views are not necessarily high all the time. However, I always look for new things to show them. Other things I’m capable of.
I love challenging myself; however, I don’t like to challenge/compete with other people. I like to reflect day to day, comparing myself from then and now.
Can you tell us how your journey started in making your own original?
The reason I want to make my own original song is because my fans are waiting to hear it, not just a cover I chose to write about games. I’m not concerned if it'll be a successful one. I just see this journey as my first step to know more about myself. I want people to see that besides being a gamer, there's so much more I can do, especially singing!
I think life is too short. I want to do things I believe I can do - and I’m gonna show people that.
We understand Legendary is your first song, can you tell us about your inspiration? How did it come about?
Legendary is done with the help of the TSI team. I was not a professional writer or anything like that before. So we kind of start with ideas sharing together. I wanted to write about the gamer life, covering different perspectives to show a sort of different feeling/emotion. It is also to compare between actual life and Gaming life.
In this song I chose an R & B beat because it’s chilled. Though it’s not a fast beat song that hypes your mood, it's to inspire others. To encourage people, gamers or generally, to encourage them when they fail they have to get back up and keep moving step by step.
There are always steps to take just like a game. For the game you’ll also have to start with zero. I’d like everyone to listen to the meaning of the song, you’ll understand what I mean.
It feels different when working with TSI on this song project. I give them my concept - we help develop it throughout the process together until this song is done.
What part of the song do you think is most important/sharp for you?
let me sing you a lyric that we wrote and i love most:
LOSE OR WIN IS NORMAL, CONTROL YOUR ANGER, BREATHE, AND DON’T BLAME OTHERS
BECAUSE IT’S USELESS, START HELPING EACH OTHER TAKE BACK THE POWER.
In this verse, for me personally, I had a bad temper. That was my weakness. day to day - I tried to not have a bad temper. Since I’ve worked in a team, I can’t just put the blame on my team. We learned to control our temper. We got to learn to sit together and find a solution to win. Just like a game - but there’s more in the song like to encourage to not lose hope and continue.
This Bridge (verse) means so much to me. Until this day, it’s not an easy journey. gamer as a woman, there’re many hates, and judgement to what I do. It takes me a long time to finally be accepted.
What has this experience changed for you?
When I was here for the first time, I was aware I’m not a professional songwriter. I only sang other people's covers - it was quite easy. However, living up to this environment, I needed to stay focused and to gather all the detailed ideas that I wanted in order to communicate with the team. The hardest part is that writing about gaming is quite challenging because it’s not about general love songs. It’s about life’s struggles in relation to gaming. There’re many gaming technical words which are not easy to coordinate with normal words.
Well- it was hard but I still kept trying. After finishing the writing, I got help from the TSI team to develop. After listening to it, I’m like ‘it sounds good, and it’s what I want”. I’m feeling very proud about this achievement.
Which part of the process do you find most challenging?
Oh, for me my biggest challenge was singing high notes. Since I’m not a professional singer, there’re a few notes I can’t reach. But with the help from Euan Gray, Shela, and especially Xang Heang, who works very close with me with composing lyric. She helps me so much. The experience was unforgettable to have them helping with my first time and it gives me encouragement that this is possible. I always thought that I couldn’t do it. I might never ever release my own song. It’s possible when you do it.
I'm a very determined person; so If I see that it’s hard, I will push it until I make it. I’m so proud of the result, I work very hard on it.
How long does it take to finish this song?
For recording it took only 1 week, but to write and practice it took almost 1 month until MV. Yeah take some time because we want high quality.
What is your plan with this song?
With this song, I will use it to promote the gaming sector. As I am one of the gamer family in Cellcard, I want to use this to promote our PlayGame platform. It’s my first song, and I’m not worried if it will be a hit or anything. I just want to do it from my heart.
What’s next in your music journey?
I see myself going forward, I won’t stop until no more fans (laugh). But if fans like it and show support - there’s no reason for me to quit. The goal is not to this or that level, but doing it with love I won't get tired of it - just like gaming.
Everyone starts from zero. Just have a clear plan and work on it. Even if you can’t do it 100%, at least try 50%.
Again thank you to the TSI team and Cellcard to make it happen for me. I really hope that we can work together again on our next song soon. My dream came true at the first step now, but I want to do more and more. Thank you to the fans for your love and support. I wish you all the best! Remember you can do whatever you want, just do your best to achieve it.